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Container Plants That Withstand Shade and Heat

Garden expert Howard Garrett answers a reader’s question about container plants for hot and shady porches.

| Fall 2017

  • A beautiful hanging lantana with pink flowers blooms in a container.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/Sonthaya

  • Photo by Adobe Stock/Supaleka

Question: When the sun hits my porch during the middle of the day it becomes an oven! Which container plants can withstand the heat? – Lindsay M.

Answer by gardening expert Howard Garrett: Plants that can do well in both sun and shade are few and far between. An even smaller group of plants can thrive with a blast of full sun in the middle of the day. When shopping for plants that can handle this condition, forget those that are already growing in shade at the garden center; they’ll definitely burn when exposed to full sun. The plants to consider are those that are already in full sun at the nursery. Those that can stand the shade in the morning and afternoon and some full sun include Pentas spp., Lantana spp., Mexican petunia, Turk’s cap, purple oxalis, needle palm, and ginkgo. That’s a wide range of plant types, sizes, and styles to fit what you have in mind.

Whichever plants you choose, it would be a big mistake to change conditions too quickly, especially if the plants have been living in shade up to this point. It’s also important to remember that your plants should be able to tolerate harsher conditions if you’re using all organic growing techniques. The synthetic, high-nitrogen, salt fertilizers are the most important to avoid.

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