Shade-Loving Container Plants

Explore the diversity of plants that will love living in a cozy planter in the shade.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Proven Winners

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2012, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of

Photo By: Image courtesy of Proven Winners

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

A Summer Arrangement Thrives in Shade

A summer container arrangement includes Fatsia japonica and Pelargonium, 'Lady Plymouth', and Alocasia all of which can tolerate some shade making this a good collection for a shady backyard patio.


Vigorous fuchsia comes in a variety of colors, with unique flowers that spill over the sides of containers.

Coral Bells

Heucheras are striking in borders with other shade-loving perennials, but when planted solo makes a beautiful container.


Begonias pair well with trailing plants in tall contemporary containers to brighten a modern decor with color and texture.


Deadnettle is valued for its sprawling foliage and flowers that resemble small snapdragons.


Violas are a softly mounding annual with delicate, 1-inch blooms. They can easily handle chilling frosts and brighten a container garden.

English Ivy

English ivy trails beautifully throughout landscapes and brings great accents to containers.


The ultimate shade garden plant also makes a happy home in pots. Make sure to keep your hosta container well-watered.

Double Impatiens

Choose double impatiens for areas offering part to full shade. Look for blooms in a variety of colors, including white, red, pink and purple tones.

Carex 'Toffee Twist'

Slender, bronze-green foliage forms a loose mound to 18 inches tall and 2/3 as wide. A cool-season grass, 'Toffee Twist' grows actively in spring and fall — whenever temperatures stay below about 75 degrees F. Give it moist, well-drained soil or potting soil in part shade to full sun. Cut back by two-thirds in early spring. Hardy to Zone 7.


Primula bulleyana is a semi-evergreen perennial with whorls of golden-yellow flowers that open from orange red buds on tall stems in summer. It has heavily veined, mid-green leaves arranged in a basal rosette.


Ferns can be grown in a shady garden spot protected from wind and heavy rains. Keep the fern out of direct midday sun and make sure it gets enough water to keep the soil damp. A couple inches of organic mulch will help keep an outdoor fern healthy.

Diamond Frost Euphorbia (Euphorbia ‘Inneuphdia’)

Diamond Frost forms a blizzard in the garden or pot, blooming non-stop from planting until hard frost. This euphorbia is typically listed for sunny spots, where it thrives. It also does well in part shade. Try it in deeper shade and see how it works for you. The flower show may diminish, but that would still be a strong display, considering the volume of blooms this annual forms.


Culinary herbs are compact and attractive, plus easy to fit in among ornamental plantings or vegetables. Plant them in containers within easy reach of the kitchen door.

Cascading Lobelia

Lobelia is a trailing plant that bears masses of tiny flowers from summer through mid-fall. They last longer if grown in partial shade.

Next Up

Garden Design: Connect Your Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Let your indoor space inspire your landscape design plans.

Outdoor Living Spaces: Ideas for Outdoor Rooms

Learn about options and ideas for outdoor rooms and outdoor living spaces.

Reclaim Wasted Space: Dining Rooms, Garages, Attics and Closets

Explore the evolution of floor plans from previous decades and gather inspiration for designing a space that fits your lifestyle.

Deadheading and Pruning Container Plants

To make sure that flowering plants continue to bloom for a long time, and to keep shrubs and climbers healthy, prolific and in good shape, you need two techniques: deadheading and pruning. Both are quick, simple and highly effective.