Seasonal shade syndrome: What it means for your sun-loving plants.

Seasonal shade

Seasonal directional sun doesn’t play by anyone’s rules but its own. In Florida’s winter months, it comes in from the south after blazing from the north all summer long.  Your sun-loving plants could be slapped with significant winter shade and lose their color due to what some call Seasonal Shade Syndrome (SSS).

For instance, consider the lovely “Stoplight” croton shrub, aptly named for its bright red and green colors that practically glow in the summer. But in winter’s seasonal shade, it doesn’t even look like the same plant. Affected by SSS, the color fades to a dull maroon.

Seasonal shade
“Spotlight” crotons once bright in the summer fade in winter due to Seasonal Shade Syndrome.

Plan for seasonal shade with smart plant selections.

So, what’s a good landscaper designer to do? Plant the right plant in the right place to avoid discoloration. But even that can sometimes go awry. Picture a nice new home landscaped with thoughtfully selected plants. Everything looks wonderful until a new home goes up right next door. There goes the sun exposure.

“I try to explain the seasonal directional sun that we have here in Florida and how it can affect plants,” says Brian Clouser, ArtisTree Landscaper Designer.  “If a client wants something that will be seasonal, I’ll let them know it may look rough for part of the year. I try to work with the surrounding landscape to make up for those times.”

Clouser said he’ll introduce a plant palette of browns, grays and blacks that remains strong throughout the year. “Neutral-colored plants add remarkable contrast and texture to a landscape, something I often have to remind homeowners who only want bright tropical colors. Neutral-colored plants keep your landscape’s appearance alive.”

These Stoplight croton shrubs were successfully planted with seasonal directional sun in mind.

Seeing is believing.

In addition to relying on their own experience with SSS, Clouser and other ArtisTree landscape designers use design software that shows the sun’s path at different times of the year. Homeowners seeing the sun’s different seasonal positions actually demonstrated are spared potential disappointment in winter months because of poor plant selection.

Seasonal shadae
Landscape design software helps shows changes in seasonal directional sun exposure.

There’s nothing more satisfying than looking at a design plan and knowing that every plant shown will meet your seasonal color expectations — all because you did your sun homework. Let’s get you scheduled for a meeting and see what you have in mind. Our ArtisTree designers are ready to work with you!

ArtisTree HOA landscape maintenance

To get your landscape renovation started now, browse ArtisTree’s portfolio and then call Jenni Lassen at 941.488.8897, ext. 312, to meet with one of our award-winning designers. We proudly serve Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.

ArtisTree also provides complete landscape maintenance services for HOA communities throughout Southwest Florida. Contact Michael Casper at 941.488.8897, ext. 321, for your custom proposal.  

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