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Shade Plants in Texas

The are two levels of shade when it comes to gardens. In partial shade, a plant gets from three to six hours of sunshine a day; in full shade, a plant gets less than three hours of sun. Paying attention to the level of shade or sun a plant needs is important. Planting in the wrong conditions can stunt growth, reduce the number of flowers, and reduce the intensity of color in flowers and/ foliage. Texas, with its warm climate, has a variety of plants that need a shady spot to reach their full potential.

Downy Phlox

Downy phlox (Phlox pilosa L.) is also known as prairie phlox and fragrant phlox. It is a perennial and grows from 1 to 2 feet tall. Downy phlox produces fragrant white, pink or lavender flowers that grow in large clusters, and has stems and thin leaves that are covered in tiny, soft hairs. The plant blooms in March, April and May and is dormant in the summer. It can grow in sun or part shade--between three and six hours of sunshine a day--and prefers sandy or rocky soil that is dry and well drained. Downy phlox attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Cedar Sage

Cedar sage (Salvia roemeriana 'Scheele') is a perennial that grows from 1 to 2 feet tall. The plant produces leaves that are 1 to 2 inches wide and small crimson-colored flowers that grow on 2- to 3-inch spikes. Cedar sage blooms from March through August, needs partial shade and dry soil. It will become stressed if it gets too much sun. The plant was developed for the specific purpose of planting under Ashe Junipers (Juniperus ashei) and that is where they are found. They do not do well under deciduous trees, however, because the large leaves block too much sunshine. It does well in open shady areas and attracts hummingbirds and bees.

Inland Sea Oats

Inland sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) is also known as Indian wood oats, wild oats, river oats, flathead oats, upland oats and upland sea oats. It is a clump-forming ornamental grass that grows from 2 to 4 feet tall and produces large flower spikes that droop from thin, arching branches and blue-green leaves that turn a bright yellow-gold in the fall. The plant blooms in June, July, August and September and need part to full shade and moist sandy, loam or clay soil. Full sun will cause the leaves to turn yellow. Small animals and bird like to make a meal out of the seeds and the stems and leaves are used by birds to build their nests. It will attract butterflies, but deer will stay away.

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