The Q&A Archives: Wildflowers for Sunny Utah Location

Question: I have been recently preparing two areas next to the east side of the house. This area is partially shaded. Shade covers the area from morning until noon, then the area receives sunlight until evening. Would you please recommend either annual or perennial flowers appropriate for my region which I could plant for late spring through late summer blooms.

Answer: As you probably know, afternoon sun is far more intense than morning sun, so you need to choose plants that will do well in sun. (If you had the opposite conditions of morning sun and afternoon shade, you'd want plants that thrive in partial shade conditions.) I suggest trying wildflowers and small perennials native to your area. Natives are pre-programmed to thrive and often require less maintenance and have fewer insect problems. I'd suggest some of the columbines that can take sun (e.g., Rocky Mountain columbine/Aquilegia caerulea), penstemons (e.g., Rocky Mountain penstemon or P. strictus, but there are dozens to choose from), monarda (bee balms), and ratibida (Mexican Hats, coneflower). Most of these plants are attractive to hummingbirds. Are you familiar with the Sunset Western Garden Book? Many nurseries have it on hand as reference for their employees, or local libraries carry it. It lists hundreds of plants. Find your zone at the front of the book and check out the Guide to Plant Selection. (It looks like you're in zone 1. Sunset has its own zone system, which allows more detail than the USDA zone system, because of the West's many weather/elevation variations.) Good luck!

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