Made for the Shade

Erin Conant

If you have a tendency to complain about having immense amounts of shade in your yard, you won’t get any sympathy from me – not this native Texan.

Shade is a priceless commodity here in South Texas, but it’s understandable to have a little bit of frustration toward it. Let me walk you through some simple guidelines that just might empower you to better manage your shade.

  • Choose your plants wisely. Many plants simply won’t bloom, grow or thrive at all in shade. Consider some Texas natives like American beautyberry, redbud and columbine, all of which perform beautifully in shade and are drought-tolerant. Search our plant database for shade-loving plants. I also really like this list from the Bexar County Extension office.
  • Have a good mix of textures and colors, as this can help a dimly lit landscape appear alive and exciting. Frothy, light-green ferns and groundcovers against the large, bold leaves of a philodendron tend to draw the eye into what would otherwise be a dull void. Variegated gingers, variegated Dianella and gorgeous shade bloomers like Texas betony and some salvias are like rich bursts of light in a shady spot.
  • Pass on using an automatic sprinkler system in areas of ample shade and stick to occasional hand-watering as needed. Moisture loss is much slower here, especially if you’ve mulched the area well.

If you have buckets of shade, try to look on the bright side (no pun intended). Those spots often make a wonderful setting for some outdoor living and often require less summer maintenance!

Discover more plants on our Pinterest board:

Follow Garden Style San Antonio’s board Made for the Shade on Pinterest.

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david abrego