The Q&A Archives: Choosing foundation plants with southern exposure and some shade.

Question: Can you recommend some good shrubs, bushes that would be foundation plants with southern exposure but also with part shade? We need to landscape the side of our home and want a couple plants that would grow to about 8 to 10 feet high and then some others that would not grow more than about 3 to 5 feet high.

Answer: Unfortunately the information in your question is not really quite enough to make specific plant suggestions. Your choice will be determined by the amount of sun the spot recieves and if it is partial sun, what time of day/how long it is shady. (Most locations with sun for at least six hours a day including the hour of noon for instance would be considered full sun. A site with four hours of hot direct afternoon sun would also be considered full sun and your plants would need to be able to handle heat as well as sun. A spot with four hours of direct morning sun on the other hand could be considered to be part shade.)

In addition, you need to take into account the amount of wind (especially in winter) and how normally wet or dry the soil is. You would also need to decide if you want flowering shrubs and/or evergreens, how much maintenance you are able to provide, and establish a time frame for the plants to reach their mature size and also a budget for the planting.

I would suggest you work with your local county extension and/or local, professionally trained nursery staff to analyze the growing conditions on that side of your house and determine which plants would grow well there, then select the ones that meet your design goals from among those. I'm sorry I can't be more specific long distance. Enjoy your planting!

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