Choosing landscape plants for a mix of sun and shade can be confusing. Most plants require either a full-sun situation or partial shade. Finding a plant that fits into both categories takes a little investigating, but is entirely possible. Here are a few select choices.
Itea virginica is a little-known shrub gaining popularity for its ability to adapt to many light situations and grows in partial shade or full sun. The flowers are pure white and hang from the plant in masses of blooms in late spring. Make sure to prune this shrub after flowering to protect the flower buds that develop on old wood. Fall color begins as yellow, changing to orange, reddish purple to crimson scarlet. It will grow to 3 to 5 feet tall and wide, suckering into a larger colony. Try the culitvar Henry's Garnet for superior fall color or Sprich for a smaller, compact plant growing to 3 feet.
Diervilla is a group of plants that grows in a many difficult situations---and performs well in full sun to shade and in many soil types. Most honeysuckles flower in late spring to early summer, displaying vibrant yellow to golden blooms. Several great species of honeysuckle exist, and most grow to a height of 5 feet. Compact cultivars are also available. Try Diervilla rivularis Morton, which is a dwarf form with a mature height of 3 feet, with unique, yellow trumpet-shaped flowers in June. Diervilla lonicera Copper unfurls copper-colored new leaves in the spring. Plants are hardy from zones 3 to 7.
Hydrangea is a favorite old-fashioned shrub which grows in sun or part shade. It is valued for its beautiful mop-headed flowers that range in pastel colors of white, pink or blue. Typically, hydrangea grows to a height of 10 to 20 feet, but many dwarf species are available. Plant hydrangea in well-drained, moist soil for best performance. Hydrangea paniculata, or panicle hydrangea, is a reliable species and easy to grow with many cultivars available in a wide range of sizes and colors. Hydrangea macrophylla, or bigleaf hydrangea is common in plant nurseries, with Forever Pink being quite popular because of its compact size. Hydrangea is hardy from zones 4 to 7, with some species preferring zones 6 to 9, so check the species before planting to make sure it will be hardy in your climate.