Some containers have all the sun. Although, these shady planters are having plenty of fun without it. Plants like caladiums and creeping Jenny will thrive in the shade and add great color and movement to your planters. Shade-loving flowers aren't too hard to find. Try impatiens, coleus, sweet potato vines, vincas, violas, petunias, pansies, hostas, astilbes, and trilliums. They look great and will thrive in full to partial shade.
Ask around at your local garden store, and you'll be able to locate any one of these shade-tolerant container ideas. Don't forget to think vertical when designing your containers. We love pots and planters, but a hanging basket is a great elevated planter option, which will make a statement and take advantage of any vertical space.
We gathered our favorite shade-loving containers to inspire your planting this season. If you have a shady yard or want to perk up a shaded spot in your home, at your front door , porch, or around your patio, find a pretty, easily-managed shade-loving container plant.
Plant 'Red Giant' mustard, pansies, Littletunia series petunias, and 'Red Russian' kale for a container that will thrive in the shade. Use plants to complement its container and add a pop of color. In a typically shaded area, introducing any color will brighten the space.
Thriving Without Sun
Before you reach for the typical fern, try this more sophisticated foliage combo. The textural leaves of these four tropical-inspired plants make a splash, especially when added to a simple white container. We used elephant's ear, rex begonia, nephthytis, and crisp blue fern.
Let the elephant's ear stand tall and proud, taking center stage, while all of the smaller plantings fill in around the edges beautifully. These picks require regular water, so keep the soil moist and place the container out of direct light. Elephant's ear can break in the wind, so shield it from summer storms.
If you're looking for a little more color, consider adding a vivid pink or red caladium .
Made for Shade
Brighten a blank patio wall with a vertical garden. Choose a matching set of planters to keep the focus on the plants to add harmony to the space. Change the florals or plants in every container to create more interest.
Drill drainage holes in the bottoms of the containers. Make three additional holes in the front of each, and then use tin snips to cut out triangular openings that are large enough to fit one plant. Fill containers with potting soil and plants before mounting.
The left container includes shrimp plant, 'Aqua Marine' pilea, variegated Pteris fern, selaginella, sword fern, and arrowhead vine. Similar plants reside in the container on the right, while the middle adds asparagus fern, 'Triostar' stromanthe, and Neon' pothos. These picks will withstand late-summer heat with regular water in part to full shade.
Lenten Rose Ramble
Lenten roses, or hellebores, are an excellent choice for a shady container. Complement pink Lenten roses with yellow Acorus, lime green euphorbias, purple violas, and variegated ivy.
This bright container will illuminate even the shadiest porch corner. Start with a cast-iron plant and add caladiums, impatiens, and a creeping fig for a lively arrangement. The neutral planter allows the plant combination to shine.
These plants will thrive together. Add coleus, verbena, fan flower, Joseph's coat, calibrachoa, and petunias for a vibrant container, the variety of which is as fun to look at as it is easy to maintain. Because these plants share similar shade and water requirements, they'll be happy as clams in a container together.
Pansies and violas are ideal choices for containers in shady spots. They're compact and cheery, and they'll add just the right infusion of vibrant color to an area of shadow. Plant 'Penny Red with Blotch' violas in several containers and arrange them in a row for an easy vignette in an undeniably bold crimson shade.
Style in the Shade
It's easy to maintain, and oh, does it look gorgeous. This made-for-shade container garden makes its home in an elevated planter, which gives the creeping Jenny plenty of space to spill out and dangle. 'Celebration' and 'Florida Sweetheart' caladiums add vibrant color, and the white wishbone flower is a lovely filler plant. Set it in the shade and water it often.
This container will thrive in part sun and part shade. It's a lively mix of colors and styles. Maroon Joseph's coat, green coleus, and yellow creeping Jenny lend a vibrant touch to a container you can move anywhere in your yard that you need a pick-me-up.
This mix of 'Ogon' golden sweet flags, 'Matrix Yellow Blotch' pansies, and 'Penny Clear Yellow' violas add a punch of cheerful gold to your fall container style. Using different flower varieties in the same colors adds cohesion to your container gardens without appearing too similar. Mixing flower varieties of slightly different shades is also a great way to add interest without overwhelming a space with color.
This cheery container is a versatile one. It's a gorgeous addition to your garden style in July, August, and September. 'Rustic Orange' coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) , Compact 'Hot Coral' SunPatiens ( Impatiens sp.), 'Yellow Moon' wishbone flower ( Torenia sp.) will thrive in a mix of sun and partial shade. The late summer heat may require attention to the container's time spent in the shade or sunlight.
Window Box Wow
This verdant window box gets its calling card from the spectrum of green on these lovely leaves—from pale white to chartreuse to forest greens. Plant 'Aaron' white caladium, 'Key Lime Pie' heuchera, 'White Nancy' spotted dead nettle, holly fern, ivy, and light pink periwinkle to re-create this design. This window, contrasted against the black shutters and white clapboard house, adds a natural and classic feature to the home.
This combination of violas—'Sorbet Plum Velvet' and 'Sorbet Icy Blue'—add a velvety infusion of color to a shady area. Layering two planting areas allows for more growing space and a unique design. The purple variation blends the arrangement and complements the copper-bronze planter.
Hens and Chicks and Shade
More is more. For a snappy statement, plant a single succulent selection of hens and chicks. Hens and chicks are great succulents for shady spots and typically require less maintenance than other container florals. These succulents can also thrive in the sun, so planting in an area with partial shade will still produce good results.
Coleus, wire vine, euphorbia, lysimachia, and petunias combine to create a gorgeous color palette. The leaf shapes vary, including speckled colors. We love the array of greens and touches of plum spilling from this container.
This window box will thrive in autumn shade. Pretty, Christmas tree-shaped dwarf Alberta spruces rise from the box's left, right, and center areas, flanked by golden, orange, and green elements. Pansies, violas, kales, and a smattering of English ivy complete the design.
Structure and Style
These planters combine the best of all worlds. 'Pandora's Box' violas add color at the base, while variegated English ivy contributes movement and spills over the sides of the container. The centerpiece—which adds undeniable height—is the central evergreen, which can be a consistent plant in this arrangement while changing the surrounding fillers and spillers from year to year.
This dainty mix makes for a rambling container that's easy to enjoy. 'Supertunia Vista Bubblegum' petunias take center stage with mounds of pink blossoms, which complement the autumn-hued coleus, 'Diamond Frost' euphorbias, geraniums, and angelonias mixed in. The neutral surroundings allow the colorful floral arrangement to pop against the natural wood elements.
This combination of red bromeliads, yellow creeping Jenny, crotons, and pitcher plants will transport you to more tropical climes. Despite its island-vibe appearance, it will survive in the shade. The tall bromeliads, a plant part of the pineapple family, deliver height to this container.
Pops of Pink
We love adding the autumnal hues of the sweet potato vine and pennisetum to the vibrant waves of color provided by the pink geraniums, angelonias, and petunias in these containers. (Petunias will survive, but not always thrive, in the shade. Best to alternate sun and shade with this container.) Mix and match to create a pink paradise on your front porch.
Is there anything lovelier than an overflowing, unruly planting of caladiums? They're vibrant, and their leaf structure is supremely eye-catching. We love planting different shades and varieties together for a lovely grouping that thrives in the shade. We recommend 'Pink Symphony,' 'Iceberg,' 'Miss Muffet,' and 'Candyland' to create a similar look.
Embrace the blush and bashful trend with this lovely, watercolor-inspired design. Dainty 'Strawberry Sundae' twinspurs ( Diascia hybrid ) and 'Penny Lavender Shades' violas combine perfectly with 'Red Russian' kale to make a statement. Together they're graceful, pretty, bold, and eye-catching—plus, they'll tolerate plenty of shade.
Add pots of complementary caladiums to perk up your steps. We planted pots of 'June Bride,' 'Pink Gem,' and 'Aaron' caladiums for vibrant, shade-tolerant containers that look great together. This lush display adds the perfect touch of color.
To re-create this container, consider height when arranging your plants—focusing on layering plants by size to structure a distinct architecture. Ferns and ivy form the base of this arrangement, then impatiens, followed by caladiums rising from the top.
This multilevel pot combines 'Sorbet Plum Velvet' and 'Sorbet Icy Blue' violas, which would work on a porch or a kitchen tabletop—it's a pretty explosion of purple and lavender hues. For a contrasting color, the terracotta planter adds a bit of dimension without adding a new floral variety.
Start with a glass vessel and add gravel, carbon, soil, and plants. Choose terrarium plants that thrive in low sunlight, like ferns, certain succulents, and mosses. Also, consider fittonia, pothos, and philodendron species for a shady terrarium.
Flickering flames and autumn sunlight inspire this hanging planter color palette. Embrace the warm side of the spectrum with yellow and orange violas and yellow, orange, and red pansies planted from deepest crimson to lightest yellow shades. The shift of color and addition of varied bloom shapes and sizes keeps the arrangement eye-catching.
Using whatever vessels you have on hand (we used a galvanized tub and a smaller galvanized bucket here), stack and plant your shade-tolerant picks. To re-create this look, use violas for vibrant blooms and plant parsley as a dainty and fragrant filler. Plant more violas and creeping Jenny so that they emerge from the base and create a two-tiered effect.
Take things vertical with this elegant hanging container. Impatiens, spider plants, begonias, ferns, and ivy will tolerate even the shadiest climates. These plants will make a just-plain-lovely addition to your garden.
Add an infusion of vibrant color to your patio with this combination of yellow, orange, and pink florals. This rustic arrangement is great for early fall when the sunny days of summer are still lingering. Using galvanized buckets reinforces the rustic farmhouse look.