Nothing cheers up a shady area of a backyard landscape like some carefully placed vibrant blooms in containers. While it is true that many plants don’t flower without the benefit of plentiful sunlight, there are some shade loving flowers for container gardens.
We’ve compiled a robust list of flowering plants that are sure to add a boost of instant color to containers in a garden’s cooler, shadier spots. The key to creating lively containers full of shade-loving plants is to create visual interest through contrasting textures, height, colors, and brightness.
Enjoy this list of shade loving flowers for container gardens that produce lovely blooms, have unique textures, and eye-catching foliage.
Impatiens are shade loving flowering plants that thrive well in shady container gardens. They boast blooms in white, purple, red, and various shades of pink; and have a lush, glossy, green foliage. These low maintenance plants are easy to care for and brighten up low-light areas of the landscape. They are perpetual bloomers throughout the growing seasons until the first frost.
Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia)
Creeping Jenny can add a playful cascade of color and height differential when paired with taller plantings in containers. These shade-loving flowers for container gardens are perennials that produce oodles of delicate yellow blooms and golden-hued leaves.
Coral Bells (Heuchera)
These shade loving flowers are a favorite in shade gardens and are more sought after for their full mounds of uniquely shaped leaves that come in an array of hues to complement any planting partners. Delicate bell-shaped flowers are plentifully produced on tall spikes that emerge from beautiful mounds of foliage.
Try some of these diverse coral bells varieties of shade loving flowers for container gardens.
- ‘Dolce Cherry Truffles’
Browallia is a plentiful flowering annual that thrives in part to full shade and is striking when planted alongside other shade-craving treasures in low-light gardens. They produce gorgeous sapphire blue, white, or purple blooms with bright green foliage. It is a shade loving flower for container gardens that will put on a show continuously throughout the growing season.
Lenton Rose (Helleborus)
Treat yourself to the magnificent double blooms of hellebore plants in your container gardens this season. They come in a wide array of colors, and the petals droop slightly with charming elegance. These shade loving flowers bloom in late winter or early spring.
Some varieties to try include:
- ‘Stained Glass’
- ‘Wedding Party First Dance’
- ‘Ivory Prince’
- ‘Peppermint Ice’
Add a touch of the woodland wonder to your container garden with the shade loving favorite, astilbe. Astilbe produces plumes of bright blooms on mounds of luxurious foliage that adds texture and intrigue to any planter. They are low maintenance plants whose flower stems reach heights of 24-36 inches, and whose leaves are intricate beauties all their own.
- Red Sentinel
- ‘Younique Lilac or Pink’
Nothing brings more elegance to a container than the roselike blooms and rich foliage of a begonia plant. Paired with other plantings or great as stand-alone favorites, these shade loving flowers for container gardens are undeniably stunning. You’ll find these garden treasures in a wide variety of colors and variegations.
- ‘Vermillion Red’
- ‘Fragrant Falls Peach’
When looking for shade loving flowers for container gardens, be sure to check out oxalis plants. Most touted for its bold foliage and striking flowers, this plant comes in a wide array of species that range from annuals, perennials, and tropicals. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘shamrock plant’ due to its geometric leaves. The care for each species varies, but they do very well in shady spots and thrive particularly well in containers.
These varieties will definitely make conversations pieces in your container garden:
- ‘Iron Cross’
- ‘Golden Cape’
- ‘Purple Shamrock’
- ‘Candy Cane Sorrel’
Add a bit of whimsy to your container gardens by adding columbine to your array of plantings. Said to resemble a jester’s hat, this short-lived bloomer comes in a wide variety of different color variations. It has full, clover-esque foliage at its base that fills in vacant spaces long after blooms have faded. They are drought tolerant, shade loving flowers that add a little bit of woodland magic to shade gardens.
Some varieties that you are sure to love include:
- ‘Crimson Star’
- ‘Swan Burgundy’
- ‘Blue Star’
Add coleus to your planters to add bright and cheerful spots to your shady container gardens. Coleus plants are part of the mint family and are vigorous plants that require little care. Clustered together, their foliage looks like continuous bursts of color and diversity. They produce shoots of small flowers, but the true joy is in this plant’s foliage, where its velvety leaves lighten and brighten any shady spot.
Varieties that enjoy the shade the most include:
- ‘Mardi Gras’
- ‘Japanese Giant’
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum cochlearispathum)
If serenity is what you are seeking in your shady container garden, add a peace lily. Peace lilies are great stand-alone container plants and make a great statement as they stand tall in the center of other shade loving flowers. Peace lilies love the shade with a little bit of filtered light and produce white or deep pink flowers. The plant is thought to represent purity, peace, and innocence, so it can help make a shady restful space even more Zen.
Fuschia are shade loving flowers for container gardens that come in two types of cultivars, one with an upright habit and one that trails. This makes them great in hanging baskets and cascading over the edges of containers, while others make their statement prominently standing upright in planters. These plants can be slightly more temperamental than the other plants on this list, but as prolific bloomers, they are worth the extra effort. Blooms form on new growth, so pinch back spent flowers and enjoy an endless show of bright and fragrant blossoms.
- ‘Dollar Princess’
- ‘Seventh Heaven’
- ‘Dark Eyes’
- Shadow Dancer’
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