3 Combinations for Sun, 3 Combinations for Shade - Plus A Bonus!
Ever walk into a Garden Center and find yourself overwhelmed with choices? You're not alone! Pairing plants with one another isn't always the easiest task, so we hope the following combinations for sun and shade offer inspiration for your next planting project! The Nursery Professionals at our Garden Center are pleased to assist you with choosing alternates for any of these suggestions or dreaming up entirely new possibilities to suit your specific landscape needs.
Experience the Seasons - For a landscape that retains its beauty and sparks wonder every season of the year, consider seasonal color and bloom time when pairing plants together. Also, combine evergreen shrubs and grasses with those that go dormant in the Winter.
Combination Plantings for Sun
Combination Plantings for Shade
BONUS - Container Combinations!
Don't have a place to plant in the ground? No problem - We have ideas for containers as well!
You may have heard the phrase "Thriller, Filler, and Spiller" used when describing the necessary ingredients for stunning mixed container plantings... It really works, and the possibilities are endless! Check out the following combinations created by our Assistant Garden Center Manager:
Whether you're refreshing plantings in existing containers or want to start fresh with a new pot from our extensive collection of outdoor pottery, our talented Nursery Professionals are eager assist you with creating unique combinations for any season! Visit our Garden Center for inspiration!
Why Choose Native Plants?
Whether you are adding to, renovating, or starting fresh with your home's landscape, including plants that are native to our growing region is well worth considering for a variety of reasons.
Benefits of native plant varieties include, but are not limited to:
Among the many native plants we grow and stock throughout the year at the Nursery, the following are some of our guests' favorites.
15 Native Plants for Lowcountry Gardens
Sweetgrass - A Lowcountry favorite that stands up to heat and drought once established. Best suited to well-draining sunny locations, this perennial grass remains an attractive shade of green throughout Spring and Summer, then offers showy, cotton-candy-pink plumes in Fall.
Black-Eyed Susan - The cheery Black-Eyed Susan flower is a pollinator garden mainstay that stands proudly at a mature height of 2 to 3 feet tall. This tough perennial is tolerant of less than ideal soils, including clay, and prefers full sun. Rudbeckia varieties come in varying shades and combinations of yellow, red, and orange as well as different flower forms and mature heights.
Purple Coneflower - Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds appreciate the presence of Purple Coneflowers in the landscape. Purple Coneflowers are sun lovers that are tolerant of a variety of soil conditions as well as heat and drought once established. Coneflower varieties are available in many colors, including pure white, and different flower forms and mature heights.
Carolina Jessamine - South Carolina's state flower! This vigorous, semi-evergreen vine produces bright yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers as the first hint of Spring's warmth moves across the state. Adaptable to a variety of growing conditions, Carolina Jessamine provides quick vertical coverage and can also be used as a groundcover to prevent erosion. All parts of this plant are poisonous.
Shrubs/Small Trees (Less than 30 feet in height)
Dwarf Yaupon Holly - This sturdy evergreen native is a tidy, mounded shrub that can be used as a low maintenance foundation planting, low hedge, or border. Once established, its tolerance of adverse conditions such as drought or occasional flooding proves to be an asset in Lowcountry landscapes. Dwarf Yaupon Holly shrubs can be purchased at our Nursery in shades of solid green or green with burgundy new growth.
Wax Myrtle - Regarded for their adaptation to coastal salt spray, sandy soils, heat, and drought, Wax Myrtles are useful as privacy screens, informal hedges, or small trees. Wax Myrtles grow quickly to size, providing shelter and food for birds (female Wax Myrtle shrubs produce berries).
American Fringe Tree - Our native Fringe Tree is a small, but showy flowering tree with blooms that resemble puffs of white appearing in late Spring. As a bonus, Fringe trees offer a splash of bright yellow to the landscape when their leaves change in Fall. Fringe Tree prefers full to part sun and matures to 15-20 feet tall and wide.
Sweetspire - Perhaps one of the most versatile and showy native shrubs for the Lowcountry, Sweetspire offers multiple seasons of interest with sweetly scented, bottlebrush-shaped white blooms late Spring through early Summer and brilliant Fall color in shades that range from burgundy to orange. Adaptable to sun or shade and wet or dry conditions. Sweetspire varieties come in a range of mature sizes, bloom colors, and Fall foliage colors.
Anise - Both yellow (parviflorum) and red (floridanum) flowering species of Anise shrubs are native to the Southeastern Coastal Plain. These hardy evergreens make excellent privacy screens for shady locations. They also tolerate damp soils and deer tend to avoid their fragrant foliage.
Dwarf Sabal Palmetto - A small, shrub-like palm that offers year-round interest to such difficult-to-fill locations as damp shade, the Dwarf Sabal Palmetto proves to be quite versatile in the landscape. The Dwarf Palmetto is salt tolerant and can adapt to drier soils once established. Blooms are attractive to pollinators and the berries that follow feed birds and mammals. Deer tend not to prefer the foliage. Matures to 4 to 6 feet tall.
Eastern Redbud - The striking pinky-purple blooms of the Eastern Redbud are such a joyful sight to see as one of the first signs of Spring in South Carolina! This tree is relatively small in stature, maturing to 15 to 30 feet tall, lending it very well to it's preferred location as an understory tree that will receive part shade to shade. In the Lowcountry, these trees particularly appreciate afternoon shade.
Large Trees (30 feet or more in height)
Dahoon Holly - One of our most popular holly trees, the Dahoon Holly is prized for its tolerance of wet, boggy soils. Maturing to approximately 20 to 30 feet with a spread of 8 to 12 feet, the Dahoon holly lends itself well to places where space is limited. Features of this beautiful tree include vibrant green new growth, flowers for pollinators, and plentiful berries for birds and mammals. For berry production, at least two Dahoon Holly trees should be present in the landscape.
Sweetbay Magnolia - Popular for their sweetly fragrant blooms that begin appearing in mid-Spring and continue over a long period, Sweetbay Magnolia trees are useful in locations that tend to remain damp or even boggy. These valuable trees are semi-evergreen to evergreen in our climate, bear showy red seeds that provide food for birds and mammals, and are host plants for a variety of butterflies and moths. Sweetbay Magnolia trees grow slowly to a height of up to 35 feet, or more with age in ideal conditions.
Southern Magnolia - The Southern Magnolia (grandiflora) is highly regarded as a representative tree of the Southeast. Depending on variety, these handsome evergreen trees can reach up to 50+ feet tall, requiring ample room to spread out in part to full sun. Southern Magnolia trees offer heavily-scented flowers that attract pollinators and bright, red seeds that provide food for wildlife.
Live Oak - Last but not least, the Southern Live Oak is a grand, semi-evergreen tree that naturally occurs throughout the Southeastern Coastal Plain. Live Oak trees are adaptable to a variety of soil types and are tolerant of sea spray. They provide shelter and food for wildlife and serve as larval host plants for a variety of butterflies. Keep spacing in mind when planting new Live Oak trees as they will mature slowly to 50+ feet tall with a canopy spread of 60+ feet or more with age.
At our Garden Center, we offer a large selection of native plants alongside many other top-performers for our growing region. Not sure which plant you need? One of our Nursery Professionals will be pleased to assist you in choosing the right plant for the right place upon your next visit!
Top Performers for our Hot Summers
As Lowcountry residents, we've grown accustomed to the waves of heat and humidity that occur during our Summer months. Whether you find our Summer season charming or you can't wait 'til Fall, as someone who enjoys gardening and beautiful landscapes, you will certainly agree that plants well-adapted to our climate are highly regarded! The following is just a small sampling of the popular heat tolerant plants we have here at the Nursery for sun and for shade.
Heat Tolerant Plants for Sun:
Coneflowers are heat and drought tolerant champions once established in a sunny location. Requiring minimal maintenance, these colorful perennial flowers return year after year much to the delight of gardeners and pollinators.
This sun-loving perennial blooms prolifically through the warm season, providing bright color and plentiful nectar for pollinators. Available in many colors and mature sizes to suit any sunny, well-drained spot.
Sweetgrass (Muhly Grass)
This native perennial grass is covered in fluffy pinkish-purple or white plumes during the Fall season and appreciates a sunny, well-drained location. Sweetgrass proves to be low maintenance and stands up to heat very well once it's settled into its place in the landscape.
Another pollinator-attracting plant, Bottlebrush is a sturdy, evergreen shrub that gets its name from the many bright red, bottle brush shaped flowers it produces for weeks during the warm season. Bottlebrush comes in a variety of sizes from dwarf (2-3' tall) to standard (8-12' tall), making it a popular selection for any sized garden space.
Ligustrum Jack Frost
Tried-and-true Ligustrum Jack Frost is versatile, performing well in bright sun or part shade throughout the heat of the Summer. Variegated evergreen foliage and creamy white Spring blooms make this selection an easy choice for any location that calls for a sun-tolerant shrub with attractive foliage.
Heat Tolerant Plants for Shade:
A Lowcountry favorite that enjoys our subtropical climate, evergreen Fatsia japonica offers large, palmate leaves and grows well in shaded spaces with rich, well-drained soil. Clusters of white flowers arise in Fall and are followed by berries that attract birds. Give this beauty lots of room as it will mature to a size of 6-10' tall and wide.
Another plant to round out a tropical oasis feel in the landscape is Philodendron selloum. This large-growing plant matures to 8-10' tall and wide and offers beautifully ornate split leaves. Though it looks as though it might not overwinter, this plant goes through our mild winters quite well as an evergreen.
Cast Iron Plant
As its name suggests, Cast Iron plant has a reputation for being virtually indestructible. Evergreen and tolerant of a variety of less-than-ideal growing conditions, including deep shade, the only thing this plant really asks is not to be exposed to direct sunlight. Matures slowly to 2' tall by 2-3' wide.
Anise is a popular evergreen shade shrub for its ability to tolerate heat and humidity and because it is not preferred by deer. Various foliage colors and mature sizes are available, allowing for flexibility when combining with companion plantings in shady garden spaces.
This dwarf Sabal Palm grows well in shade or sun. A great selection for areas that are low lying and tend to hold water, this native Palm will also tolerate drought once established. Small fruits that form after late-Spring flowers attract wildlife.
We highly recommend amending the soil in your planting area with a top-quality planting mix as well as a starter fertilizer such as Espoma Organic Bio-tone® Starter Plus to give your new plants their best start. On your next visit to our Garden Center, see one of our Nursery Professionals for a copy of our Planting Guide. It provides planting instructions and helpful information about watering and getting new plants established.