The Best Annuals for Shade


Have a shady spot in your garden that needs some color? Don’t we all? It’s easy to find colorful blooms that do well in full sun, but sometimes that can be harder when it comes to shade. The reality is that big, bright blooms generally take more energy for the plant to produce, and that means more sun, too.

But that doesn’t mean blooming shade plants don’t exist! So here are our top 5 picks for shade-loving annuals:

1. Impatiens

These flowers are a favorite among gardeners. Why? Because they show you love if you love them! Impatiens will ‘talk to you’ – if you listen…when they get thirsty they wilt.  They are heavy drinkers and yet recover well after a dry spell.  Many gardeners use them as indicator plants, meaning they will wait till the impatiens “tell” them to water an area by drooping their leaves. That way they don’t over-water.  Impatiens will also tell you when they are hungry – their leaves turn yellow quickly if they aren’t getting enough fertilizer (nitrogen).  A quick dose of a liquid fertilizer and in two to three days they will thank you by returning to their green form. Keep them in a shady area with lots of water and they will be happy.

2. Tuberous Begonias

Tuberous begonias have stunning, rose-like blooms and textured foliage. They are a rarity in that they bloom best in the shade.  However, they take some care to keep looking fresh. They cannot stand in water, so avoid over-watering in early summer. Although they may require more attention, the pay off of these glowing blooms is worth it.

3. Caladiums

These towering heart-shaped leaves can add height AND color to your shade garden. With their large floppy foliage, they also create movement as they sway back and forth in the wind. Caladiums are often compared to their similar-looking cousins, elephant ears. Keep these guys in the shade with moist soil and they will be happy.

4. Double-Blooming Impatiens

Okay so we have impatiens on here twice, but they are some of the best flowers for shade. These double-blooming types look like little roses. They have gorgeous glowing blooms and their foliage adds an interesting texture as well. Keep these flowers in moist soil in the shade. Make sure you pinch off the spent blooms to keep them full and blooming all season long!

5. Trailing Lobelia

Lobelia is on our list because of its deep blue blooms. This plant mounds and trails, creating a stunning effect of thousands of little flowers in your shade garden. This annual prefers cooler weather and will often fade in the heat of summer. But you can trim it back and expect to see the blooms again in the Fall. We have this plant in 4″ containers as well as huge hanging baskets!

 6. Shade Coleus

Not to be mixed up with sun coleus, shade coleus does best in the shade (hence the name). This dynamic annual can add tons of color to your shade garden with its fantastic colorful foliage.

Come see us to start your shade garden with these colorful annuals.

Good luck in the garden!

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