Before buying a plant, consider its light requirements carefully. Plant tags are made for use in all areas where particular plants are sold. It is likely that our area is sunnier than most others.
If a plant tag offers a light (exposure) range, such as ‘full to part sun,’ an East Texan can safely assume that the plant would prefer dappled light during part of the day. A break from the afternoon sun should be well-received, especially if the plant does not always have adequate water.
The difference between dappled light and shade is vast. A shade-loving plant placed in dappled light may scorch where stems and leaves are exposed to direct sunlight. Such damage can weaken the entire plant, making it vulnerable to pests and disease. As well, light reflecting from nearby windows, pavement, and such can alter the plant’s environment more than it may seem at a glance.
If a plant seems ideal for a particular space in your landscape, but the light requirements don’t match, keep shopping!
Rhonda M. Rholes, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service