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Part Sun Part Shade Plants for Australian Gardens

You’ll find that most of our natives will grow quite happily in a spot that receives part sun and part shade.

There are many plants that will grow in part sun and part shade in our Australian climate.

Ideally, most would prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. This is because the afternoon sun can be quite hot and a lot of plants will wilt in the heat.

This is especially the case if you’re growing plants that aren’t native to Australia. However, you’ll find that most of our natives will grow quite happily in a spot that receives part sun and part shade.

If you go for a walk in bushland close to where you live, you’ll find all manner of plants growing happily in among the taller gum trees or wattles.

Here are some suggestions for plants that will grow happily in a garden that is partly shaded but has sun exposure for some time during the day.

Abelia chinensis

Abelia chinensis | Plant varieties

Abelia is one of those plants that will tolerate a wide range of conditions in your garden. It grows as a rounded shrub and can easily be pruned into a hedge. 

In fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing screening plants for any area that has free-draining soil. The plant will be covered with masses of small white flowers from early spring right through into autumn.

Backhousia citriodora (Lemon Scented Myrtle)

Backhousia citriodora Lemon myrtle 1 | Plant varieties

The delightful lemon-scented myrtle is one of our most outstanding native rainforest trees. However, in cultivation, it usually grows as a nice shrub.

It has glossy green leaves and new growth that is red. You’ll also be delighted with the creamy-white flowers that appear in late spring and continue through summer.

The lemon-scented myrtle does best in a spot that gets some morning sun and afternoon shade. 

Banksias

Hairpin Banksia Banksia spinulosa | Plant varieties

I often take my dog for a walk along a path that runs through a natural forested area along the foreshore here in Victoria. In this area, there are some tall gum trees, local tea trees and numerous she-oaks.

Among these grow a range of gorgeous coastal banksias. These large native shrubs to small trees seem to thrive in areas that receive part sun and part shade. 

They also seem to have flowers on them for most of the year and are popular with the local native bird population.

Boronias

Boronia | Plant varieties

There are numerous boronia species that will thrive in spots that get part sun and part shade. These do best when exposed to morning sun and afternoon shade.

Boronias do like their root system to be kept quite cool, so make sure that you mulch well around the base of these beautiful shrubs.

The foliage on boronias is scented and the shrubs will be covered with masses of flowers in spring. Some varieties, like Boronia heterophylla, are grown commercially for the cut flower industry.

Correas

Correa | Plant varieties

Correas are another native Australian species of plants that will grow in a part sun and part shade position in your garden. Some morning sun and afternoon shade is perfect for these plants.

There are many different varieties and cultivars available and they can be clipped into neat rounded shapes or even used in low-growing hedges.

Daylilies

Daylilies | Plant varieties

Daylilies are one of the prettiest bulbs that will tolerate morning shade and afternoon sun or the other way around. You’ll find an enormous range of different cultivars that are available.

These pretty and diverse flowers will definitely brighten up any area of your garden.

Dianella

Dianella caerulea Blue Flax Lily 1 | Plant varieties

You’ll find that there is quite a range of Dianella species that will grow in part sun and part shade.

These plants, with their long green strappy leaves and purple flowers, are perfect for landscaping around your garden.

These plants require minimal care once they’re established and can be cut back quite hard to keep them under control.

Grevilleas

grevillea flowers | Plant varieties

Many different Grevillea species and cultivars will grow well in a partly shaded position in the garden.

They might not flower quite as profusely but they will still produce enough blooms in a semi-shaded spot in your garden.

Hakeas

Hakea | Plant varieties

Another outstanding Australian species is the hakea. Many garden-grown hakeas grow as medium to tall shrubs. But, there are some that can grow into small trees. 

I have one species growing in my front garden that only receives dappled sunlight for most of the day because it’s overshadowed by a couple of taller trees.

However, it still flowers profusely and is a favourite food for the black cockatoos that come over from French Island.

Lomandra

Lomandra | Plant varieties

There are many different varieties of Lomandra that you can grow in your garden.

I have a couple of the standard Lomandra longifolia that grow next to the fence and are overshadowed by a tall callistemon and a pittosporum hedge for part of the day.

These plants don’t mind only receiving some sun during the day and they still produce their long flower stems in summer.

Melaleuca thymifolia (Thyme Honey Myrtle)

Melaleuca thymifolia Thyme leaf Honey Myrtle | Plant varieties

You just have to love the bright purple lacey brush-like flowers on this dwarf melaleuca shrub. It will grow happily in a part sun and part shade spot in your garden.

This attractive shrub will grow in a variety of soils as long as they’re well-drained. It can also be cut back quite hard if it becomes too woody and will regenerate with lovely new foliage.

Salvias

Salvias | Plant varieties

Salvias come in a huge range of varieties and actually tolerate afternoon sun and morning shade quite well.

They bloom prolifically and will attract lots of pollinating insects to your garden.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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