18 sun and shade plants: names and characteristics

sun and shade plants

One of the most important aspects that you should take into account when choosing plants for your home or garden is to correctly differentiate between sun and shade plants. This type of distinction is related to the amount of light needed by plants, as well as the incidence of light on them. While it is true that all plants need light to live, depending on the plant we speak of, you will need a certain amount or another.

If we talk about sun plants, on the one hand, yes you will need many hours of direct light, while if we talk about shade plants, you will need fewer hours of light and will require, above all, that this arrives indirectly. If you want to know the main aspects of 18 plants of sun and shadow: names and characteristics.

Differences between sun and shade plants

As we have mentioned, all plants need light to live, since it is one of the fundamental elements for plants to carry out photosynthesis. However, there are plants that, in addition to needing light, need it in more abundant quantities than others. These are the plants that, in gardening, are generally known as sun plants.

This type of plants should be placed in a place where they give abundant light directly. In general, it is considered that the solar plants are those that need at least 8 hours of light a day, while the shade plants will be those that can live without problems with a quantity of light lower than this figure.

Likewise, shade plants are those that need to avoid direct sunlight. That is to say, they are plants that develop better in shaded places, such as spaces close to the ground, where the natural light of the sun always comes sifted and thus avoid burning them.

sun and shade plants

18 sun and shade plants

As we have seen, sun plants need direct and abundant exposure to sunlight. Therefore, these are plants that are usually found outdoors, where the light is much more copious and, in addition, the amount of ultraviolet light they receive from the sun is also greater. In this way, they are plants that can be located in gardens or large green areas that have no obstacles produced by buildings or other plants. If you are wondering if you can have sun plants at home , you should know that yes, even if it is not recommended. If you opt for this option, it is essential to have them near a window or terrace and, above all, make sure that the plant receives an abundant amount of direct sunlight.

Another thing to keep in mind when taking care of sun plants is that due to the direct sunlight they receive it is essential to water them at night , since doing it during the day could make it easier for their leaves to burn due to the magnifying effect of the drops of water. Here we present a selection of 9 sun plants with their names and characteristics .

Thought plant

The thought plant is one of the favorites of the lovers of the gardening, since it is characterized for having flowers of beautiful and varied colors that contribute light to any garden. The scientific name of the thought plant is Viola x wittrockiana (or Viola tricolor) and blooms, normally, in autumn and winter, which makes it a great option to fan the landscape of the coldest months of the year.

If you decide to bet on this soft and colorful plant with a firm stem, you must bear in mind that its soil must always be wet (not wet) during planting. However, once you have the plant thought established in your site, you will only have to water it once a day , since it is not a demanding plant.

Plant zinnia

Zinnia, also known as paper flower, is another great option for flower lovers who want to enjoy a durable and easy to care plant . Among the most common types of Zinnia, we will find the Zinnia elegants (pictured in the photo), the Zinnia angustifolia and the Zinnia acerosa .

Zinnias are great lovers of the sun and warm temperatures and, in fact, can not stand frost. To keep them alive and healthy as the first day, you only have to water them every 2 days or so to keep their soil moist and remove dried and withered flowers so the plant stays strong. Whether you want to enjoy them in your garden or plant them in a pot, these are the only cares you should consider.


The Gazania plant, scientifically called Gazania x hybrida or Gazania splendens , is characterized by closing its flowers every night to show them only during the day and thus decorating brightly colored spaces, among which orange and yellow stand out. The gazania is usually about 25 centimeters long and is perfect for decorating boring and dark areas, as it is a cover plant that can cover large areas.

Once again, we find a very elegant plant that does not require great care, so it is ideal if you do not have much time in your hands but do not want to give up a nice and colorful garden. Once you have planted the gazanias, you will only have to water them regularly but always avoiding the flooding of your land, since the excess water could harm them.

Petunia plant

The scientific name of the petunia, one of the most well-known and chosen sun plants, is Petunia hybrida . Due to its large number of flowers and colors, this spring and summer plant is one of the most planted in the world because, in addition, it requires a very simple cultivation and care.

The petunia, as it happens with the plants that we have mentioned previously, requires enough irrigation during its flowering and regular irrigation during the days of spring and summer. During flowering, in addition, it is important that you reinforce your fertilizer so that it can look healthy and strong and pollination occurs, a process in charge of seed reproduction.

There are many flowers that are linked to a special and concrete meaning. If you wonder what is the meaning of the petunia , you should know that it will vary a lot depending on the colors you choose and the person to whom you offer it, but normally the petunia is very linked to mischief and desire due to its bright colors . If you want to enjoy these magnificent plants for a long time, do not miss this article on How to care for petunias with 7 very simple steps.

Elf flower

Also called Lantana, the Goblin Flower is perfect for people who want to show off a garden with multi-colored flowers. Of the family of the Verbenaceae , the Lantana camara is native to tropical America, which is why it is a great ally of warm climates.

The goblin flower can reach 150cm in height and is also characterized by having properties used in various home and natural health remedies . As it happens with the previous plants, it is best to plant it in full sun, to avoid that it touches the cold and to water it regularly, always watching that it does not drown. If you are considering using the Goblin Flower for home remedies, you should bear in mind that it is not good to consume it often and that you should always do it with the supervision of a specialist, since these flowers may contain toxic substances.

Photinia plant

The photinia, also called Photinia is a perennial and very resistant shrub from warm areas of Asia that is ideal to decorate wide and empty spaces.

This plant is characterized for having strong and bright leaves of green and red colors as well as flowers whose color changes depending on the season of the year in which it is. Something to keep in mind of this plant, is that it does not tolerate the wind well, so consider this problem well before choosing a site to flower.

If you want this plant and its flowers to look healthy and colorful throughout the year, make sure that the land where the plant is fertile, water it three or four times a week and prune the shrub from time to time so that the plant stay strong.

Glycine plant

Perhaps you may be surprised that a plant as beautiful as glycine, scientifically called Wisteria sinensis , is one of the most toxic plants that exist. However, that’s right, since the plant contains wisterina, a very toxic glycoside that can cause nausea, vomiting and gastroenteritis.

However, this climbing plant native to China and Japan is one of the most chosen by gardening enthusiasts , as its purple and violet colors fill any space with color and elegance. Glycine is characterized, apart from its colors, for being very long-lived, for holding even the coldest temperatures and for giving off a sweet and pleasant aroma that emanate its flowers and fruits.

On the contrary that happens with the plants that we have named previously, the glycine requires a more regular and frequent watering, because especially during its first years of life it needs water and forces to develop its resistant buds.

Chinese carnation

Although popularly known as Chinese carnation, the scientific name of this plant is Tagetes. Once again, we are in front of a perfect plant for flower lovers who do not have too much practice as gardeners, since the care required is very limited. The Chinese carnation is a small but very curious and colorful flower plant that requires a lot of sun to open fully and show its striking colors.

If you want to plant Chinese carnations, keep in mind that the soil you choose can never be very humid, since these delicate plants require light, dry and natural fertilizers. Once you have planted your seeds, you will only have to water them daily and prune them after flowering. Of course, you must take care and protect well the Chinese carnation of possible pests , since there are insects that feed on their stems.


The Geranium plant , better known as geranium, is often present in all types of gardens due to its bright colors and soft flowers.

Although their care is still quite simple, it is essential that your geraniums can enjoy at least six hours of direct sunlight . However, make sure you also receive a little shade, otherwise the flowers could burn and spoil. As with other plants, it is sufficient to water the geraniums once or twice a week depending on the weather, but remember that your watering must be more abundant during the flowering months.

Finally, we tell you that if you want to plant geraniums directly in your garden, enrich the soil with manure or fertilizer can be very beneficial for the growth and strengthening of plants.

Characteristics and names of shade plants

shade plants

On the contrary, shade plants are those that must be placed in places where they do not have direct incidence of the sun’s rays. For this reason, they are plants that you will find more commonly in the interior of buildings , where they do not receive direct sunlight.

The shade plants, although you may not believe it, can also be planted outdoors, so if you want to decorate your garden or your porch with one of these plants, you can do it. The only thing you have to keep in mind is that these plants should be protected from the direct sun by architectural elements such as cantilevers or stairs or by other plants of greater height.

In addition, one of the aspects that characterizes shade plants is that, not needing ultraviolet light to survive, they adapt much better to the light of the interiors; that is to say, that the own light of the lamps will be sufficient so that they realize the photosynthesis. Here we present some of the most common shade plants .


If we talk about plants to decorate the interior of a home or office, the ferns are one of the first options, since in addition to being very beautiful and elegant they bring brightness to any room. However, and contrary to what happens with many sun plants mentioned above, the fern needs a lot of care.

The first thing you should know, is that ferns need both shade and light but indirectly, since their ideal temperature is 20ºC. These plants need enough moisture to grow strong and vigorous, so you must choose a suitable room so they can survive without problems.

Precisely due to this need for moisture, you should water the plant every day but always avoiding the puddling of the soil, since an excess of water could drown it. Make use, for example, of a spray to keep the leaves of the plant moist and healthy.


Another great option to decorate a space is to bet on a potos or potus, scientifically called Epipremnum Pinnatum . The potos is a resistant and perfect plant to be inside the houses, since it is considered a shade plant. However, the absence of absolute light can be very detrimental to its optimal growth .

If you have space near a window, do not hesitate to place your potos there, since this way you will receive light indirectly and you will be able to grow healthier and stronger. Also, as with the ferns, the potos needs humid temperatures, so aside from regular watering, take your time to spray their leaves.


It may surprise you, but bamboo is a plant that can also grow perfectly inside houses inside a pot. This is the case of the bamboo Fargesia, a type of non-invasive bamboo that you can have both in the dining room of your home and in certain areas of your garden, because while they remain in the shade and in humid areas, they can grow without problems .

Again, aside from watering it sparingly so that the soil stays moist, you can place a humidifier nearby, as this will help it grow strong. It is also very beneficial for the bamboo to prune it from time to time to prevent it from overgrowing and to remove the withered stems.


Another plant that will bring light and life to your garden or home is the hydrangea, an option that many people choose because of their beautiful colors.

The truth is that the hydrangea is a plant of shade but also of sun, because although direct sunlight could kill it, it is also not recommended that it be totally away from the sun’s rays, since very cold and dark temperatures could also wither it . In order to keep your hydrangea healthy, make sure that your soil is always moist (not waterlogged) and that your soil stays well nourished at all times.


Once again, we find a medium shadow plant: the camellia, a native shrub from the east that has some of the most beautiful flowers of the vegetable kingdom.

Camellias, in Latin called Camellia japonica , can also boast of having a meaning that has attracted many plant lovers, as they are a symbol of beauty, happiness and fortune . So that this wonderful plant grows in all its splendor, keep it in fresh and humid spaces of your home or take it out to the garden to touch the air. If you wonder when you should water your camellias , keep in mind that in summer you will need a lot more water than in winter, but in any case, make sure that the water is as natural as possible and free of lime.

Christmas cactus

Surely you are surprised to read that the cactus is a shade plant, however, this is the case if we talk about the Schlumbergera plant , also called Christmas cactus, Santa Teresita, Easter cactus or Santa Teresa feathers.

During the winter season, as its name indicates, it is very common to find this cactus in the house of plant lovers, since it is at this time when they bloom. Although it is a cactus that needs constant watering to survive, it does not take much to make it happy; because a wet and cool area will be enough for you to enjoy it during the colder months .

The Christmas cactus is also a great option to add color to different corners of your home, because of these plants come elegant white, pink or violet flowers. If you want to discover the definitive care guide for this plant, do not miss this article about Care for a Christmas cactus .

Plant of money

Reading the name of this plant, it is easy to find out why it is the favorite of many gardening enthusiasts. And, it is said, giving this plant to someone you love can bring a lot of luck and good luck to your home. Once again, we find a medium shade plant , because although it is harmful to expose it to the sun directly, it is also not good that it lacks natural light completely.

Its ideal temperature is around 20ºC, so even if it is capable of withstanding very high temperatures, it is best to place it inside a home where the sun comes through some windows. The good thing about this plant is that it is also ideal for beginners, since watering once a week will be enough to grow strong and healthy.


If you are looking for a colorful plant with striking leaves that you can decorate the interior of your home, Diefembaquia, also called Dieffenbachia , is the plant you are looking for.

However, it is worth mentioning that it is a somewhat difficult plant to care for, since you must be very clear about the amount of water you need. An excess of water could rot your stem and end up killing it, but leaving your land dry for a long time could wither and ruin its leaves, so you must find the balance to grow in optimal conditions. As with other plants, you should pay more attention in summer, since it is when you need more constant waterings and when you should avoid exposing it to direct sunlight. In winter, keep it in bright spaces and avoid being exposed to the cold for long periods of time, since it is not made to withstand very low temperatures.


To finish the list with a little color, we do not want to mention the begonias, pretty and normally pink flowering plants that bloom perfectly in the shade .

Begonias are very moderate plants that do not require direct sunlight to grow strong, which is why many people decide to put them near windows, balconies and / or patios. While it is true that there are many types of begonias, they all require very similar care: humid environments to enjoy good health, abundant waterings in summer so they do not dry (make sure you do not wet the leaves!) And place them in bright places where the sun does not touch directly. If you follow these steps, you can boast one of the most beautiful plants on the list for a long time.

If you want to read more articles similar to 18 plants of sun and shade: names and characteristics, we recommend you to enter our category of Gardening and plants .

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