Perhaps you are starting to realize it is getting hot out there but still you want to be outside. One way to enjoy the outdoors is to find a shady spot where you can rest, read, dine and play. These spots may be shaded by trees or awnings and now you need to add greenery and color.
Shade lovers are limited, often including shrubs of azaleas, camellias and anise. Then it gets harder to find good plants for the lower light areas. Maybe you need plants with attractive foliage and color to brighten your shady spots. A good half dozen shade lovers may help.
How about a tropical addition that's a bit cold sensitive but survives most winters? A favorite is the spathiphyllum or peace lily. These have been used as ground covers or container plants in Central Florida for years. They like the shade to filtered sun locations and pop up white cupped hand-like flower portions in spring and early summer. Keep them moist and they are going to be happy.
Plants many gardeners overlook are the peacock gingers. These show up at garden centers around June or July when they are full of leaves. Peacock gingers resemble northern hosta as to looks and growth habits. They need the shade, moist soils and a little fertilizer to flourish. Like hosta they grow April through October then decline for winter. The flowers are pink to blue in color and held near the foliage. Another hosta look alike for the shade is the Amazon lily with big green leaves and white flowers that open in December.
Orchids should not be forgotten as shade lovers too. Many residents receive an orchid gift and when it finishes blooming need to find it a home. On a shady patio or under a tree is ideal. Keep the plant moist, feed every other week and your orchid is going to bloom again after a period of growth.
Sure to please color is provided by caladiums. These are marvelous bulb-like plants that offer colorful foliage for the warm months. These bulbs, really tubers, are planted in containers or in the ground and kept moist to grow. Apply a slow release fertilizer every few months to continue the displays. During late summer and fall they decline to reappear the following spring.
Both greenery and color can be provided by bromeliads. There are many types to choose from and all but a few need filter sun to shade. They can be kept in containers or used as a ground cover. The summer rains should provide all the water they need but you can supply a light feeding every month or two during the warm weather.
How about coleus to round out a durable half dozen shade lovers? Coleus come in many leaf colors and are sure to make a shady area attractive. Keep moist and use a slow release fertilizer to maintain growth and attractive foliage. Many gardeners like to remove the flowers that form but others find them attractive.
Your garden center is likely to have many more shade lovers. Many will be foliage plants that grow in the home during the cooler months but would like a low light spot in your landscape for summer.