15 Fantastic Shade-Loving Plants For Container Gardens

Container gardening is a fantastic way to put your green thumb to work — but what happens when your only available space gets a limited amount of sunshine?

Whether you’re working with a covered porch or a tiny city balcony in the shadow of high-rise buildings, it’s still possible to create a garden.

The trick is to choose shade-loving plants that can thrive in pots and planters.

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Best Shade Loving Plants Container Garden. Both annual and perennial plants can work in containers. These plants can thrive in container gardens in shady areas of your garden, backyard, porch or patio. #decorhomeideas
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Before you know it, your space will be alive with fresh leaves and colorful blooms!

Begonias (Begonia Groups and Hybrids)

Begonias (Begonia Groups and Hybrids) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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With their colorful flowers, begonias are an easy way to add a vibrant look to your container garden.

There are many different varieties, but almost all of them prefer to grow in places with plenty of shade. When fall hits, you can bring your begonias indoors and enjoy the beautiful greenery throughout the winter months.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11; normally grown as an annual
  • Color Varieties: White, orange, pink, red, and bicolors
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained soil

Bleeding Heart ( Lamprocapnos spectabilis )

Bleeding Heart ( Lamprocapnos spectabilis ) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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With its distinctive heart-shaped flowers, the bleeding heart plant is one of the most spectacular additions to a container garden.

The flowers grow in rows, suspended from delicate stems that rise above the blue-green leaves.

Choose a container with lots of room for growth, and ensure that the soil stays damp at all times.

If you have time, mix organic compost into your potting soil before you plant.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 9
  • Color Varieties: Pink, red, white
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich and moist

Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides)

Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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The coleus is one of the most popular plants for a shady container garden — it grows easily with other flowering plants, including verbena and petunias.

The remarkable leaves feature a wild variety of colors, and the yellow flowers pop above the foliage on distinctive spikes.

Coleus is a breeze to grow; propagate them indoors from seed and transfer them to a container in a partially shaded spot.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11; usually grown as an annual
  • Color Varieties: Multi-colored foliage
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained soil

Coral Bells (Heuchera Species and Hybrids)

Coral Bells (Heuchera Species and Hybrids) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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Are you looking to add some greenery to your container garden?

Coral bells are the perfect solution. This gorgeous plant grows thick, lush leaves, creating a gorgeous mound that rises above the rim of a pot or a planter.

Coral bells are remarkably hardy; you can leave them in the shade in a warmer climate. If your area has cold weather year-round, consider moving the plant to a partially sunny spot during the warmest part of the day.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
  • Color Varieties: Dark purple to bright yellow-green foliage
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade (depending on variety)
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained soil

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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Carpet your container garden a thick, brilliant layer of leaves by planting the creeping Jenny.

Known for its ability to spread over any area, it’s a lovely way to fill in the gaps in a big planter or a smaller window box. It’s also a gorgeous option for a hanging container; the leaves will grow over the sides of the pot.

A shady area helps the plant maintain its green hue.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
  • Color Varieties: Yellow flowers; but normally grown for its green or yellow leaves
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained soil

Dichondra (Dichondra Argentea)

Dichondra (Dichondra Argentea) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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When you have limited space for gardening, the dichondra plant is a wonderful option.

This creeper grows adorable, round leaves that usually max out at 4 inches tall.

Each vine can grow between 2-4 feet long, making the dichondra a great option for hanging planters, window boxes, and tiered plant stands.

Ensure that your container gets at least a few hours of sun per day.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 12; normally grown as an annual
  • Color Varieties: Green or silver foliage
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Medium-moisture soil

Ferns

Ferns #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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When you’re new to gardening, ferns make a great starter plant — they’re tough and exceptionally low-maintenance.

As long as you provide plenty of water and nutrients, they’ll reward you with lush leaves that spill over the edges of the container.

To show off the leaves, set your containers on a plant stand or put them in hanging planters for extra vertical space.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7
  • Color Varieties: N/A
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, medium to wet clay

Fuchsia (Fuchsia spp.)

Fuchsia (Fuchsia spp.) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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The fuchsia plant lives up to its name — it grows stunning, vibrantly colored flowers that bring your container garden to life.

This is a beautiful option for hanging containers; the blooms tend to point downward, so they’re best viewed from below.

Fuchsias love moderate temperatures as low as 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so they thrive in shady areas. Hang them from your porch ceiling and watch as the stems cascade over the side in a riot of color and texture.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11; usually grown as an annual
  • Color Varieties: Reds, pinks, violets
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained soil

Hydrangea ( Hydrangea macrophylla )

Hydrangea ( Hydrangea macrophylla ) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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Easily recognizable by their puffy, globe-shape clusters of flowers, hydrangeas as a surprising addition to a container garden.

You’ve probably seen the large, flowering shrub variety — avoid this type and choose a smaller variety that can tolerate a planter.

These flowers work best in oversized pots; make sure to water them frequently to encourage the best growth and the most colorful flowers.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 11
  • Color Varieties: Blue, pink, purple, white
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade, full shade
  • Soil Needs: Moist but well-drained

Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana)

Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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The impatiens is a mainstay in shady gardens.

This brilliant, colorful flowering plant needs little to no direct sunlight, so you can set it on a fully covered patio with confidence.

Plant the impatiens on its own for a lovely burst of color, or pair it with other flowering plants for extra texture and dimensions.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11; normally grown as an annual
  • Color Varieties: Pink, red, lilac, purple, orange, white, and bi-colors
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained soil

Lamium ( Lamium amplexicaule )

Lamium ( Lamium amplexicaule ) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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Add something different to your garden with the lamium plant.

Each of the curving lamium petals is covered in a fine, feathery growth that gives the impression of an ever-present mist.

Choose from a variety of colors to match your porch or patio, and choose a spot with lots of shade for the most beautiful and long-lasting blooms.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
  • Color Varieties: Mauve, pink, purple, or white, depending on cultivar
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
  • Soil Needs: Well-drained, with average moisture and fertility needs

Oxalis (Oxalis spp.)

Oxalis (Oxalis spp.) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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Bring an unexpected geometry to your container garden with the oxalis plant. It grows crisp, unusually shaped leaves that add an architectural look to a space that’s dominated by feminine flowers.

The oxalis grows quickly and abundantly, so it fills any container with ease. When the temperatures drop, move the planter indoors to maintain the health of the leaves.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9, depending on species
  • Color Varieties: White, pink, yellow, peach, and bicolors
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Average, well-drained soil

Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyeranus)

Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyeranus) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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Turn your container garden into a lush, tropical-inspired masterpiece with the stunning Persian shield plant.

Each leaf features a dramatic pattern and contrasting colors — it’s so striking that it works best as the standalone plant in a box or pot.

Choose a large planter; the foliage grows quickly and reaches heights of up to 3 feet.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11; normally grown as an annual
  • Color Varieties: Purple and green/silver foliage
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Medium-moisture, well-drained soil

Torenia (Torenia fournieri)

Torenia (Torenia fournieri) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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Bring a bit of English charm to your planter with the sweet torenia.

With its velvety, high-contrast petals, this flowering plant brightens any shady location. Show off the flowers by placing the container below eye level.

If you’re short on time, don’t worry — all you need to do is water the plant often and add fertilizer on occasion.

  • USDA Growing Zones: NA; this is an annual plant in all climates
  • Color Varieties: Light to dark purple
  • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained soil

Trailing Lobelia (Lobelia erinus var. Pendula)

Trailing Lobelia (Lobelia erinus var. Pendula) #shadeplants #garden #containers #decorhomeideas
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If you’re looking for a flower that adds drama to a container garden, look no further than the trailing lobelia.

Each plant grows long, trailing shoots that are lined with tiny, vibrant flowers; they cascade over the edges of the planter and bring a cheerful feeling to a spot with limited sunlight.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11; normally grown as an annual
  • Color Varieties: Blue/violet, red, pink
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
  • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained soil
Best Shade Loving Plants Container Garden
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