East-facing gardens present many opportunities to the gardener who is choosing plants. Fill them with plants that prefer shade, or partial shade, or full sun, but only morning sun. Plants that prefer full sun in northern areas are best grown in east-facing gardens in the south. These plants can handle full-day sun in more northern latitudes but wilt if exposed to full-day sun farther south.
Snow on the Mountain
Also called gout weed, snow on the mountain (Aegopodium podagraria) is a low-growing perennial ground cover that grows best in the partial shade of east-facing gardens. It prefers moist, well-drained, moderately fertile soils but will tolerate a wide range of soil types. Snow on the mountain is susceptible to leaf scorch in full-sun situations or during prolonged drought. Its light-green, variegated foliage makes it an excellent plant for the lower light levels of east-facing gardens.
Native to North America, woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) grows in moist, partially shaded woodlands with similar sun exposure to an east-facing garden. Its showy blue to violet-blue flowers bloom in spring in loose clusters on 12- to 15-inch-high plants. Plant woodland phlox at the front of the flower border. It tolerates partial sun but does best in the exposure of an east-facing garden.
Canadian Wild Ginger
Native to woodlands, Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense) grows best in moist, rich soil in a location protected from strong midday sun, which will burn its leaves. It grows 12 to 15 inches high with large, heart-shaped, bright-green leaves. Wild ginger grows best in deep shade but will grow well in moist soil in an east-facing garden. Although not related to the culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale), the roots of Canadian wild ginger are highly aromatic and can be used as a milder-tasting substitute.