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What Does Partial Shade Mean for Planting Bulbs?

Most bulbs are sun-loving plants, but some, such as irises, grape hyacinths and some varieties of tulips, tolerate partial shade. A few, including caladiums, need partial shade to reach their full potential.
  1. Partial Shade

    • A bulb that needs partial shade grows well in four to six hours of direct sunlight per day. An ideal situation has sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon. Another type of partial shade is dappled shade, where bulbs planted under a tree with a loose canopy receive shifting patterns of sunlight throughout the day.

    Planting Under Trees

    • Some early spring bulbs such as daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops complete their entire growth cycle before deciduous trees leaf out. Incorporate these bulbs into shade beds under deciduous trees for early spring color.

    Bulbs as Annuals

    • As a bulb's foliage fades, the bulb stores up the nutrients and solar energy it needs for next year's flowers. This means that even sun-loving bulbs grow and bloom in shady spots, but only for one season. Treat these bulbs as annuals, digging up and replacing them every year.