Light needs for a semi shade garden in the fall


This has been my first six months of gardening. My rental has a backyard with a square plot that is covered halfway by a pine tree. We get direct sunlight for around 3-4 hours in the summer and the rest is diffused light.

A couple of days back I got a lot of native plants (advertised as a semi shade garden), half of which needed shade, and the rest that could survive in part sun or full sun. I am wondering if I made a big mistake since I just realized that no direct sunlight falls in our garden in the fall.

So far in the area that got direct sun in the summer I've managed to grow butterflyweed saplings to a foot (haven't flowered yet - just planted them three months back) and a blue mophead hydrangea has been flowering for a few years.

I am sure I'll come to know by next spring if none of my plants grow but I was hoping someone could assuage my fears on this forum.

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wisconsitom(Zone 4/5)

Noel, at this point, if I were you, I'd simply plant those species you have, perhaps making an attempt to place the less shade-tolerant species in the most well-lit part of your site.

Horticulturally speaking, "full sun" means a minimum of 6 hrs. of direct sunlight in a 24 hr. period. But shade is less well-defined. Diffuse light is actually very good for a wide array of native species, especially those labelled as woodland species.

Regardless, I understand you're new to this and therefore filled with trepidation. But if nothing else, plants will surprise you with their toughness and ability to acclimate to whatever circumstances they face. You might not get 100% survival of 100% of the species you've obtained-few do-but something in that mix should take hold. Then, you will have the foundation for further exploration/learning later.


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Just wanted to report that all plants came up and are doing well.Very pleased.

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