The Q&A Archives: Shade Gardening

Question: I am wanting to start a shade garden from seeds but looking at the zone maps I can't tell which zone I am in. In the winter it rarely snows but can drop to 24 degrees and in the summer it can reach 112 degrees. What do I choose for planting?

Answer: You're in USDA Zone 9, with minimum temperatures of 20 to 30?F. You're in the same zone as central Florida, the Gulf coast of Louisiana and Texas, much of California, and the southern Oregon coast. This mild-winter region is characterized by a long growing season and almost no winter freeze. Summers are either hot and dry or hot and humid. Although it might seem that just about any plant could do well in such a mild area, Zone 9 (and warmer) is not good for plants that require a winter chill. Those that flourish include Asparagus setaceus (Asparagus fern), Eucalyptus globulus (Tasmanian blue gum), Syzygium paniculatum (Australian bush cherry), Fuchsia hybrids (Fuchsia), and Schinus molle (California pepper tree). If you're gardening in the shade, grow hosta, lobelia, ferns, viola, Asiatic lilies, senecio, dicentra, bergenia, begonia, columbine and caladium.

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