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I didn’t mean what I said, Nebraska

May 24, 2018 GMT

I recently had to remove my large sugar maple tree. It’s hard enough to part with a tree that’s been part of your landscape for a long time, but what do you do about all your other plants that were growing happy and healthy in its shade?

Transitioning from shade to partial shade takes planning and a little research. First, you need to address your existing shade plants. I had a wide variety of hostas to figure out. Believe it or not, some hostas can tolerate sun.

Varieties that are yellow and fragrant are good candidates to stay put. Ones with thicker leaves are also more sun tolerant. Blue, green, and white varieties will need to be transplanted to another shady area. If you don’t have enough shade to relocate them all, consider donating them to another gardening friend.

THE NEXT step was choosing what to plant in their place. This is where the research came in. You need to determine the balance of sun and shade in the area you want to cultivate. Track what times of day the spot has sun and shade. Note how many hours of direct sun the area gets.

There is a slight difference between partial sun and partial shade and that difference can determine how successful your new plants will be. Plants that call for partial sun, require a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight. Plants designated as partial shade, can’t get more than 6 hours of direct sun. So, about 4 to 6 hours of direct sun is your sweet spot - more on the sunny side is good for partial sun plants, more on the shady side is better for partial shade plants.

MY RECOMENDATIONS for partial shade are Siberian Iris, Foxglove, Primrose, and Bleeding Heart. These colorful perennial flowers are fun and easy to care for. In addition, plant Epimedium, also known as Bishop’s Hat or Barrenwort. This ground cover foliage flowers in spring and serves as a leafy foundation for your partial shade landscape.

Your garden is a living thing that needs to change over time to stay healthy. When those changes are significant, it’s important to be prepared and plan ahead.