By Jennifer Poindexter.
Do you have a shady location around your home where it seems nothing will grow? You can choose a perennial or annual flower which is shade tolerant.
Though perennials might seem like the way to go, there are good reasons to choose annual flowers. If you aren’t sure what you’re going to do with the space long-term, an annual might be a wise investment.
Also, it could boil down to personal preference. If you like the way an annual flower looks over your perennial options, it’s better to go with what you like.
Whatever your reason for desiring annuals for a shady location, here is a list filled with your options:
1. Sweet Potato Vine
A sweet potato vine is a sprawling plant that is happiest when planted in partial shade. This gives it some sunlight but protects it from becoming scorched.
If you’d like an annual for a slightly shady location to provide a pop of color, this could be your plant. It comes in an array of colors from light green to deep red.
2. Polka Dot Plant
The polka dot plant is a fun plant to have around. You probably guessed it gets its name from its spotted leaves.
Its foliage comes in pink, red, and white. Though this plant likes shade, it can also handle the heat. It’s a great plant for planting in the ground for shady garden beds, or you could plant it in a container as well.
Caladium is another fun plant to have around because of its unique shape. The leaves of this plant are heart shaped.
Not to mention, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this option. If you’ll dig up the underground tubers, before the first hard freeze, you can store them in a cool, dry location for planting the next season.
Bloodleaf is a unique plant mainly known for its foliage. This plant grows to be approximately 10-15 inches tall and wide.
Though it doesn’t really bloom, it has vibrant foliage with an array of accent colors. They can range from off-white, red, or even pale green.
Coleus is another unique plant due to its foliage. The plant only grows to be approximately three feet tall and two feet wide.
However, it has bright green foliage that is bound to catch your eye. The leaves come with deep colored accents and a variety of textures, too.
This plant is another head-turner because of its rich, blue flowers. It blooms abundantly and would be great for adding color and beauty to your shady garden spots.
To make it even better, the plant handles heat well. It can also be planted in container gardens, window boxes, or hanging baskets for a pop of color anywhere.
Impatiens are one of my favorite shade-loving flowers. They’re known for their vibrant color options and are easy to grow as well.
If you must plant impatiens where they’ll receive partial to full sun, remember to give them extra water because sun is hard on them.
8. Calico Plant
The calico plant is another fun choice for your shade garden. This plant will grow to be anywhere from 6 to 18 inches tall. It can also become 6 to 24 inches wide.
Though this plant isn’t known for blooming, its foliage is stunning because of the beautiful accents in each of the leaves.
You might hear a name like “viola” and assume this is a weak plant. It’s actually quite the opposite. Viola flowers are hardy little things.
They can handle some frost and thrive in full shade. They actually need shade because they don’t handle heat well. They’re self-sowers which means they could return year after year, though they’re considered an annual.
10. California Bluebells
This plant prefers cooler temperatures. Therefore, it will mainly bloom in spring and early summer. If you need an early pop of color, in a shaded garden, this could be your flower.
As the name suggests, this plant has gorgeous blue blooms that are sure to light up any area they’re planted in.
Many people like to have a blooming schedule in their gardens. This is why it’s a good idea to plant flowers which bloom at different times. Then you’ll always have something in bloom.
Balsam would be a good choice if you’d like abundant blooms in early spring. It has long stems and brightly colored flowers, making this plant an excellent choice for flower bouquets.
I think of my grandmother every time I see a begonia because she grew them regularly and loved them. You might, too, after seeing their bright flowers.
Not to mention, they’re easy to grow. There’s no deadheading, and the blooms continue producing on a regular basis until frost sets in.
13. Wishbone Flower
The wishbone flower may have a unique name, but they could make a gorgeous addition to your shaded garden space.
They grow to be approximately 6 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide. This plant produces white, pink, red, or blue flowers. It has more of a shrub-like appearance but produces tube shaped flowers in a gorgeous array of colors.
Instead of having small flowers filling your garden, would you rather have bush-like plants? It might require fewer of them to fill the space while still supplying color to the shaded grow area. If so, nicotiana could be your plant.
It’s more of a flowering bush which produces long stems. The stems produce gorgeous flowers. The plant also packs a lovely scent. Keep in mind, nicotiana isn’t drought tolerant. It will need consistent moisture without becoming soggy.
If you’d prefer a low-profile shade-loving plant, this could be a great choice for you. Alyssum grows low to the ground, making it a great choice for areas that get more foot traffic.
This is a durable plant which will bloom until the first frost sets in. It produces a nice fragrance, self-sows, and even draws pollinators to your garden area.
This is a trailing plant that would make a great addition to your hanging baskets, planters, or window boxes.
It blooms in blue or pink and will provide color from spring through fall. If you need on-going beauty in your shaded grow space, bacopa might be able to help you.
I love the unique appearance of the salvia plant. It reminds me of a large herb with the way its blooms shoot straight up.
This plant can grow to approximately two feet tall and a foot and a half wide. It produces red, purple, and white blooms. The blooms are what make it so unique because of their prickly appearance and intense green foliage.
If you like the way snapdragons look, you might like this flower as they’re similar in appearance. Torenia blooms in pink, white, and purple.
Due to its flowing growth pattern, it’s a great choice for containers, hanging baskets, or window boxes. This plant will also draw hummingbirds to your shaded grow space.
Do lilies make you smile? If so, you may want this shade-loving plant around. It has lily shaped flowers, and they bloom in bright yellow.
The leaves of Oxalis resemble clover and stand out because of their rich color. If your shady space needs to be cheered up, consider oxalis.
Lobelia is another shade-loving plant with a flowing grow pattern. For this reason, it’s a great choice for both containers and hanging baskets.
This plant will produce purple, blue, or white blooms. It prefers to bloom when the evening temperatures are still mild. It may begin to look scraggly as the temperatures rise. Cut it back, and it will rebloom when the temperatures go down again.
Are you drawn to orchids? If so, you’ll want to check out nemesia. This plant’s flowers resemble the same bloom shape as an orchid.
Nemesia can handle some sun but requires shade when the temperatures become too hot. If you give this plant enough shade, to keep it from becoming stressed, it will bloom from spring through the first frost.
Nothing is more beautiful than a shade-loving garden, with some bright pops of color, and butterflies enjoying the scenery.
You can have this with fuchsia. It loves shade, attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies, and blooms in purple, pink, or red. Plus, it flows as it grows making it a great choice for containers or baskets.
Nothing is better than growing an annual that will self-sow and return most years thereafter. You certainly get a bargain in these plants.
Thankfully, cineraria is one of them. It’s a self-sower and will frequently return year after year. Plus, it produces gorgeous pink, red, and blue blooms with a unique white design around the center of the bloom.
We’re finishing this list with a bang. Larkspur plants are unique in appearance and could be a great addition to your shade garden. This plant produces long stems, and the stems produce blooms which climb upward.
The blooms provide splashes of color in white, pink, and purple. Larkspur would make a wonderful border plant because of its height, design, and jaw-dropping form.
If you’ve been shaking your head at a certain spot in your yard and thinking, “Nothing will ever grow here!”, I hope this list brings you confidence.
You can not only grow some plants in shady locations, but they can bring color and life to an area that previously lacked both. Pick a few flowers you like from the list and give them a try. Your yard could start transforming in no time.