Ask a Question forum: Plant that can thrive in hot sun in the morning and shade the rest of the day

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Boise, Idaho
Feb 22, 2018 12:41 PM CST
I have a spot in my front yard where I had a hydrangea. It got early morning sun through noon, sometimes very hot in the summer. But then the sun went behind our house and it was in the shade the rest of the day. The hydrangea survived there okay. It bloomed very little, however, and wilted almost every day in the heat of the summer in spite of frequent watering. It would recover once it was in the shade. I learned after the first year to not prune it as the blooms the following year are in the tips of the previous years growth. Is that correct? I moved it to a shadier spot last fall and am now looking for a plant that can grow in that spot. Most of the plants I would like to put there are ones that need lots of sun like lavender or potentilla. I fear that spot will not give them enough sunlight to bloom properly.

Do you have any suggestions for me? There is another smaller planter in a similar area where I plant impatiens, begonia and coleus each year and they do fine with the limited sun. But I would like a larger flowering perennial in the spot I described above.
Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
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Feb 22, 2018 3:06 PM CST
Hi Marsha and welcome to NGA!

Here are a few perennials that would fit your requirements for your zone 6

Lobelia speciosa
Hardy Hibiscus (hibiscus moscheutos)
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
Feb 22, 2018 6:57 PM CST
Martha : There are two kinds of hydrangeas !
Read up, of them, both ! 👍.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas
Feb 23, 2018 11:41 AM CST
You can try any of several types of Barberry Bushes if the thorns are not a problem. They tend to have nice Fall foliage.

There are some hydrangeas that enjoy the type of conditions you described. Although I am not quite sure exactly what was the issue with the one you had to moved. In the northern part of the country, the sun would not be much of an issue. They as usual have frequent moisture needs. In my very hot location, I give them sun until 11am and I water (at least 1 gallon per watering) a lot: once a week in Spring, 2-3 times a week when the daily 100s arrive in Summer. Some wind protection may be useful in windy locations where the water can evaporate easily. However, I would expect them to have an easier time where you are than where I am since we are dried and tend to have around two month long spells of 100 degree weather in a regular Summer. The oakleaf hydrangeas tend to need less water and provide an awesome fall foliage show. Hydrangea paniculatas tend to be more sun tolerant; some can be grown in full sun in the northeast and are hardy to Zone 3. There are short/dwarf versions of the oakleaf hydrangeas for small spaces now a days. Hardly if any, pruning needed with those two varieties' short ones. Oakleaf hydrangeas develop invisible flower buds at the ends of the stems around August for you (July for me) & the buds open in Spring... while paniculatas develop flower buds in late Spring to early Summer (flower buds then open by mid to late Summer).

I only prune mopheads when they have dead/dried out stems in Spring that do not leaf out by the end of May. Otherwise, mopheads never get pruned. I like some of the rebloomers mopheads like Pistachio. Non-rebloomers should rarely be pruned as mophead develop invisible flower buds at the ends of the stems around August (approx time for you in Idaho). If you have to prune mopheads do it after they bloom but before August.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Feb 23, 2018 12:23 PM CST
I would lean toward shade plants, which can often tolerate a fair amount of sun, particularly in the morning. Some that come to mind, either shrubs or larger perennials: pieris, azalea, nandina, bugbane, lady's mantle, goat's beard, astilbe, brunnera, dogwoods (so many to choose from), darmera (very dramatic), bleeding heart, hardy fuchsia, hellebore, ligularia, rodgersia, figwort (tall with variegated foliage, teeny flowers that hummingbirds love).
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Boise, Idaho
Feb 23, 2018 1:30 PM CST
Thank you, everyone. This has given me some ideas. I think I'll move away from the hydrangea. The one I moved was the hardy variety to survive our sub-freezing winters. That didn't seem to be the problem. I think it was stressed so much by the heat that buds couldn't form.

I think I'm going try coreopsis. I want something that will bloom all summer. After the dud of the hydrangea for about 5 years, it will be nice to have some color in that spot.

luis_pr - it's very dry and hot in Boise all summer long. We can start having 100 degree temps as early as June and into September with at least a dozen or more days over 100. We are a desert climate in a valley. I moved the hydrangea because it didn't bloom (actually I got 1 bloom last summer after several years of no blooms) and because I felt like it was struggling in the HOT morning sun - wilting every day no matter how much water it got. I'm anxious to see how it does in it's new, shadier location this year. I will check into the oakleaf hydrangea - it sounds interesting.

Thank you everyone for your help. I've made some notes and if the coreopsis doesn't thrive there, I have some other plants I can try. I love nandina, but I'll try a flowering plant first.
Hurst, TX (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas
Feb 23, 2018 6:25 PM CST

The first one in the picture grows on its own in my area (I am guessing it is the birds, who eat the berries).

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