coral bells1
coral bells1
(Image credit: TonyBaggett, inomasa, Rabbitti)

They say not to plant them in shady areas. Although they'll survive partially shaded spaces, both daylilies and irises bloom better in full sun. But mine do just fine in either with little help from me.

Putting Sun Plants in Shade

Let's face it, acquiring plants for the garden can get pretty expensive unless you propagate your own. I'm a plant addict and tend to do a little of everything - buying plants, rooting plants, sowing seeds of plants, and dividing plants I already have. This especially comes in handy whenever I'm adding a new bed and need something to fill the space rather quickly. Hence, my daylilies and irises.

When you want a plant that's tolerant of different conditions, I've found you can't go wrong with daylilies. You can pretty much stick these plants anywhere and they'll grow. Poor soil, fertile soil, sun, shade, it makes no difference. And they don't require much maintenance either. Iris plants can be just as accommodating, at least in my experience. For me, they're reliable bloomers wherever I plant them, even in the shade garden.

Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of sun-filled garden beds that include both daylily and iris plants. They enjoy the spaces so well that I find myself dividing them often. I pass along some of these to friends and neighbors. Others I keep for filling in empty spots in new garden areas. I have them growing throughout the backyard wildlife garden, much of which remains in shade. They say you won't get decent blooms here, but I do. I have them growing beneath the tree canopies in the front yard, where shade resides most of the day. The flowers are lovely. There are daylily and iris plants growing along the upper side of our property too, in a new bed where it's partially shady. I've already gotten blooms this season.

Daylilies and irises. They say not to plant them in shady areas, but I do. I plant them anywhere and everywhere I want or need reliable, low maintenance flowers. In my garden, there's always a place in the shade for these plants. Maybe I'm just lucky, or maybe they're just good plants for sun and shade.

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.