I knew they evolved as understory plants in subtropical woods and swampy areas. Shady environments to say the least. But most of the HP&SB member photos showed Needles almost always in sunny situations and doing fine. I scratched my head.
I planted two Needles, bought at the same time, both as identical 1-gallon plants in 2007. One got a sunny, south facing siting. The other, a northern facing. Good amount of sunlight in summer, but absolutely no direct sunlight after August, before April. Today, the northern Needle is triple the size (height and girth) of the southern one. Part of that is accounted for in the longer petioles of the northern Needle, but it is also more densely foliated. It's very thick with leaves. The southern one, not really.
Both are champs at taking 7a winters, though. They are equally hardy.
Anyway, thanks for the item about them preferring shade. At my house, that seems to be etched in stone.