Some colorful annual plants and flowers actually prefer shade. Learning which they are will increase your gardening success and pleasure.
Gardeners who lack sunlight in certain areas of their gardens, balconies or patios due to the presence of overhanging trees or shadows cast by buildings can take heart. Many annual flowers and foliage plants thrive in shade or low light.
Impatiens Shine in Shade
One of the most popular annual shade flowers is impatiens. Just about any soil will do as long as it is well-drained. Don’t over water, but keep an eye out for wilting in very hot weather.
Flowers will droop noticeably if they need water. Occasional fertilizer is all that is needed to keep impatiens happy and blooming like crazy from spring until frost.
Colors are unbelievably gorgeous; soft pastel pinks and lavenders, fluorescent oranges and fuchsias, and a white so white it glows in the deep shade of a late afternoon.
Impatiens is seasonally hardy in zones 1 to 11 and grows from 9-21 inches tall depending on variety. This garden all-star does well in pots, beds or hanging baskets.
Begonias Thrive in Shady Spots
There are several types of begonias, but the most common is the standard wax begonia seen in garden centers every spring.
They are easy to grow and require little more than routine watering and standard fertilizer. They do like to be groomed, however, so plan on removing spent flowers and dead leaves and cutting off any leggy stems.
This bit of attention will keep the plants looking spiffy and blooming steadily from spring until fall. Begonias are easy to propagate from cuttings, so each plant can produce others for the bed or basket.
Begonias do well in containers but also thrive in beds where they make excellent borders. Begonias are hardy in all zones from spring until frost and will grow to be 7-10 inches tall on average.
Coleus Loves the Shade
Coleus comes in several varieties that grow well in sun, but the older varieties prefer a shady spot. Leaves are the stars of the show on coleus plants.
There are flowers, but they are insignificant spikes best cut or pinched off when they appear. Coleus leaves are heavily veined and may be beautifully patterned in two or even three colors.
Coleus does well in the ground, in pots and in hanging baskets. It is attractive with other foliage plants or with flowers. If using flowers, be sure they can hold their own with the strong tints and patterns of coleus leaves. Coleus is hardy in zones 1 to 11 and will grow to be about 14-18 inches tall.
If areas of dry shade are a problem, as frequently occurs under the canopies of large, spreading trees, there are lovely plants which will tolerate the lack of sunlight and don’t require a lot of water.