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Woman planting in her garden

Not every garden is created equal.

If you have trees shading your garden, you want to select plants that don’t need a lot of sunlight. On the flip side, you don’t want to put a shade-preferring plant in direct sunlight.

Want to know the right plants for your garden? Here are a few of our favorite plants that grow best in the sun and some that grow best in the shade.

Sun-Loving Plants

Pheasant’s Tail Grass

Pheasant's tail grass

Image: RHS Plants

Pheasant Tail Grass, as well as most other types of grass, love the sun. This quality makes it perfect for a sunny garden. They don’t require much care and are drought tolerant. Their low-maintenance nature makes them an attractive garden feature year-round.



Not only is lavender beautiful and smells great, it also blooms best with lots of sunlight. One thing to keep in mind is that lavender is not a year-round flower. It blooms in late spring/early summer, and you typically don’t see another bloom after that.

Make sure that your soil drains well. Lavender doesn’t need a lot of water, so a well-drained soil helps keep the roots healthy.



Hibiscus is a tropical flower that, not surprisingly, loves the sunshine. Unlike some of the other sun-loving plants mentioned here, this flower needs lots of water. You want to keep the soil moist to keep these flowers looking lively. If you live in a drier climate, hibiscus might not be the best option for you.

Additionally, hibiscus is affected by the changing climate, so if your region’s temperature fluctuates, you might want to opt for another type of bloom in your garden.

Russian Sage

Russian Sage

Image: Gardenia

If you want your garden to be the hot spot for butterflies and hummingbirds, you should look into Russian sage. It is not temperamental, grows well in direct sunlight and it brings all the butterflies to the yard.

Be mindful prepping your sage for the changing seasons. From late winter to early spring, you’ll want to keep Russian sage cut closer to the ground. When you start to notice new growth, stop cutting and let it grow.

Shade-Loving Plants

Japanese Forest Grass

Japanese Forest Grass

Image: Heronswood

These grassy beauties grow best in complete shade. If you have them in the sunlight, it can fade their color and make them look white. Too much sun can even cause them to brown.

If you have a shady area in your yard, these can spruce it up and they’ll thrive living there. Keep the soil around it moist and they’ll be just fine.



Looking for plants that come with ease and peace of mind? Perennials will be your best friend because they’ll return to your garden every year. You know these plants will come back year after year, and if you have a shady garden, look no further than the hosta.

The leaves on hostas prefer shade, but they can handle some sunlight. They will flower in the spring and summer months, so keeping them somewhere that only sees the sun for part of the day works well if you want to see the blooms. If you like their show-stopping foliage, then keep them in the shade for optimal growth.

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts

As you probably guessed, this flowering plant gets its name from the heart-shaped blooms that drip off of the stems. Their unique shape adds some visual interest to a shady garden. Unlike some other shade-loving plants, bleeding hearts like a lot of water. Make sure you keep the soil around the plant moist at all times.



Image: Gardenista

Helleborus, otherwise known as Lenten roses, have hearty leaves but the blooms are delicate and colorful. These distinct perennials come in a variety of colors from bright white to a deep purple. They grow best in groups, in the shade.

Whether your garden is shaded or in the sunlight, you can enjoy beautiful flowers and plants. Don’t have a garden or an area to landscape? Try out some indoor plants to brighten your home.

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