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.
Plants That GROW in the Shade
If you're finding it challenging to fill a shady location in your landscape with plants, you are not alone. Luckily, there are many plants that love and can thrive in lower light locations in our climate. We'll highlight some of our favorite shade-loving plants in this article, but first, let's talk about the meaning of "shade" when describing a plant's light requirements.
Shade conditions mean something a little different to everyone, so let's simplify by describing what plant descriptions really mean when they include the light requirements "part shade," "shade," or "part shade to shade."
Generally, a part shade location is one that receives less than 6 hours of sunlight throughout the day. A good example would be an area that receives gentle morning sun and/or late evening sun, but no exposure to direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day (midday through afternoon), especially during the Summer months. Plants that thrive in part shade appreciate less intense direct sunlight when they happen to get it.
A shade location is one that receives less than 4 hours of sunlight throughout the day. For example, an area beneath canopy trees that receives filtered or dappled light throughout the day would be described as shade. Be mindful that areas that receive no sunlight at all, or dense shade locations, are not likely to support healthy plant growth.
Finally, "part shade to shade," simply means that the plant can tolerate either condition - "part shade" or "shade." Oftentimes, plants in this category may grow faster or larger when sited in part shade, but they will tolerate shade just fine.
Favorite Plants for Shade:
The following is a short list of some of our best-selling plants for shade. For a complete selection of shade trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals, we invite you to visit our Garden Center as our inventory changes often! All of these popular plant types can grow in part shade or shade conditions.
*Asterisk denotes plants that are typically deer non-preferred. However, deer will eat many non-preferred plants in heavily grazed areas where food is scarce.
Hostas feature large, textured leaves in cool shades of green, blue-green, cream, or yellow, plus blooms that attract pollinators. These warm-season perennials will die back to the ground in the Winter and produce fresh foliage every Spring.
Evergreen Ferns *
Evergreen ferns such as the Autumn Fern or Holly Fern hold up very well over our mild Winter season and provide a soft, delicate texture to the year-round shade garden.
Fatsia is a mound-shaped evergreen shrub that lends a tropical feel to the shade with large, palmate leaves. Spider's Web offers a unique twist on an old favorite with white speckles on its leaves and a small stature of just 4-5' tall x 3-4' wide!
Flax Lily *
The cream and green variegated foliage of this evergreen perennial brightens shadier spots and provides welcomed contrast to the green tones commonly found in the shade.
Loved for their large ball-shaped blooms ranging in color from pink to purple to blue, bigleaf hydrangeas are shade garden mainstays that pair well with hostas, ferns, and other shady companions.
Philodendron selloum *
A large-growing tropical beauty that loves the shade, Philodendron selloum has huge showy foliage and a lovely mounded habit that can fill up a generously-sized space of approximately 6-8' tall x 6-8' wide!
A privacy shrub with aromatic foliage that deer don't prefer. Space-saving varieties such as Miss Scarlett® bloom brilliant red flowers in Spring and have a mature size of just 4-6' tall x 3-4' wide.
Mahonia is an evergreen shade super star with varieties such as Soft Caress offering feathery foliage and yellow blooms in late winter.
Queens of the Fall and Winter garden, Camellias not only offers year-round glossy foliage, but they bear colorful blooms during Fall (Camellia sasanqua) and Winter (Camellia japonica) while the rest of the garden sleeps.
Dwarf Sabal Palms *
The Sabal minor, or "Dwarf Palmetto," is a versatile evergreen that tolerates a wide variety of conditions including damp soils and sea spray. Reaching 4-6' tall and wide, this is a choice palm for compact spaces.
Japanese Maple Trees
Japanese Maples are one of our most popular ornamental trees, well known for their colorful Spring and Fall foliage interest. Most Japanese Maple trees prefer shadier locations in our climate. There are many varieties to choose from, all of which appreciate well-draining soil.
For a successful shade garden, 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. We offer a Planting Guide with planting instructions at our Garden Center. A Nursery Professional will be happy to give you one on your next visit!
It's time for pre-Emergent!
Brownswood Nursery discusses using Hi-Yield Pre-Emergent Herbicide to reduce WEEDS.
Have you applied pre-emergent this season? Stop weeds BEFORE they start growing in your lawn and flower beds with Hi-Yield Turf & Ornamental Weed & Grass Stopper. Apply now for superior suppression of Crabgrass and other broadleaf weeds. Watch our video for more information!