Add These Shade-Loving Plants To Your Containers For Covered Porches

Lenten Rose Ramble
PHOTO: ROB CARDILLO

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—check your local garden store. Try impatiens, coleus, sweet potato vines, violas, petunias, pansies, hostas, astilbes, and trilliums. They look great and will thrive in full to partial shade. And don’t forget to think vertical when designing your containers. A hanging basket takes advantage of any vertical space.

We gathered our favorite shade-loving plants and container ideas to inspire your planting this season. If you have a shady yard or want to perk up a shaded spot in your home, look for these pretty, easy-to-manage, shade plants for pots.

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Shade-Loving Brights

Colorful Porch Container
LAUREY W.GLENN

Plant ‘Red Giant’ mustard and purple pansies for a container that will thrive in some shade. Choose a bright container in a complementary color, and add a pop of cheer to a covered entryway. In a typically shaded area, introducing any color will brighten the space. Water when the top inch of soil is dry.

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Thriving Without Sun

Shade Container with Green Plants
ROBBIE CAPONETTO; PRODUCED BY MARK THOMPSON

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 blue star 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.

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Made for Shade

Metal Wall Hanging Container Garden with Summer Plants
DESIGN BY MARK THOMPSON; PHOTO: ROBBIE CAPONETTO; PROP STYLING: BUFFY HARGETT MILLER

Brighten a blank patio wall with a vertical garden made with a matching set of planters. For metal containers, like those above, drill drainage holes in the bottoms and three holes in the front of each container, 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, ‘Aquamarine’ 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.

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Shady Container

Shady Container
RALPH ANDERSON

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.

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Spectacular Six

Spectacular Six
SOUTHERN LIVING

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. Don’t keep the soil soggy, and give the grouping shade from afternoon sun.

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Bold Blossoms

Bold Blossoms
SOUTHERN LIVING

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.

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Style in the Shade

Style in the Shade
DAVID HILLEGAS

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.

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Verdant Vibes

Verdant Vibes
ALISON MIKSCH

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. Coleus is prone to breakage so avoid windy locations.

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Lenten Rose Ramble

Lenten Rose Ramble
ROB CARDILLO

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. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and make sure it is well-draining.

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