10 Shade Annuals That Grow Well in Containers

Shade Annuals That Grow Well in Containers

Do you have a shady area on your pergola, patio, or deck that could use a pop of color? If so, you may want to add some pretty flowers. Unfortunately, not all annuals can thrive in shady conditions.

Since this is true, you must choose the right plants. Keep reading for some of the top shade-loving annuals that will look great in a pot or container in your outdoor living area.

1. Begonia


Begonias are the perfect container plant to brighten up a dark corner. These plants love the shade, produce beautiful foliage and vibrant flowers.

You can purchase trailing begonias, such as the “Hanging Basket,” which you can find in yellow, red, pink, white, salmon, and apricot. When the plant begins to bloom, it will create a cascade of vibrant flowers that will stick around for a few months.

Begonias will reach one to two feet in spread and height. They also require well-drained, loose, and rich potting soil or loam. You should keep the soil moist, and the ideal pH is 5.5 to 6.2.

2. Coleus


You may have heard of the Poor Man’s Croton or Painted Nettle. Did you know that both names refer to coleus? Coleus is considered a straightforward plant to grow and propagate and is perfect for planting in the shade.

This plant requires well-draining, fertile soil and once you have them in your container, be ready to see growth. Coleus is known for growing quickly and spreading just as much. If you don’t have the greenest of thumbs, this may be a great plant to try.

3. Fuchsia


Thanks to the brightly colored, drooping flowers that bloom all season long, it’s easy to recognize fuchsia.

The plant loves to trail, which makes it an excellent option for hanging baskets. You can find more than 100 species of this plant, all that grow well, even in full-shade conditions. You can find this plant in violets, pinks, and reds.

The plant is named for its vibrant fuchsia and pink tones and colors.

4. Caladium


With arrowhead, brightly colored leaves, and a height that often reaches more than two feet, caladiums are another great plant to brighten a shadowy corner. Sometimes called Angels’ Wings, most caladium plants prefer the shade.

This plant thrives in temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, which means they are best suited for southern climates. Another note to keep in mind is that caladium is toxic to dogs and cats. So, don’t purchase this plant if you’ve got furry friends at home.

5. Roast-Beef Plant

Roast-Beef Plant

Some people prefer to avoid this plant because it’s also called the Stinking Iris. However, the only time an unpleasant odor is detected is when the leaves are crushed. When this happens, they smell like beef (hence the name).

However, putting this plant on your patio or terrace will help brighten up the space. Like all irises, it has top and bottom sepals. This plant is considered cold-hardy and can grow to be one to two feet tall.

This plant is gorgeous and comes in several color varieties. It’s a great option if you’re not worried about the smell.

6. Impatiens


This flower is a bright, cheerful annual that is also easy to grow in shady areas. To ensure your impatiens have the best chance of thriving, be sure to wait to plant them until after the last frost of the season.

One of the most significant benefits of impatiens is that they will thrive even when planted close to one another, making them an excellent option for a container garden.

7. Torenia


Also called the Wishbone flower, Torenia is a cheerful and elegant plant that will produce flowers throughout the summer, even in full shade. It is tolerant to heat and requires minimal care and maintenance.

With regular watering and fertilizing until the cold moves in, you can easily keep this plant alive. It is a shorter plant, measuring just two to six inches when fully grown, and will trail over the side of the container in which you plant them.

This plant is excellent for beginners to gardening who want to still bring a touch of beauty to their space.

8. Creeping Jenny


Often advertised and sold as a “spiller” plant for your containers, creeping Jenny will cascade nicely over the edge of your pots. However, make sure you keep it contained because it will take over any area it reaches.

While this is true, the yellow-green coloring brightens any area where there is partial shade. You will also love the one-inch yellow blooms that you can see during the summer months.

9. Anemone


This plant is a classic flowering beauty that will thrive in partial shade or whole shade areas. Keep in mind that while the plant will grow, not all species of anemones will grow without a light present.

While this is true for some, others will grow in minimal light, such as the meadow anemone, which will fill any corner with beautiful blooms.

You can find anemones in several colors, including white, blue, magenta, and purple. For an early-season bloomer, consider the wood anemone, which produces beautiful pale lavender flowers.

10. Oxalis


Oxalis is a plant that is grown from tubers instead of seeds. It is known to flourish in partially shaded areas. You can easily recognize this plant by the shamrock-like, showy foliage and will help keep all your containers “in clover.”

This recognition is thanks to the ¾ inch to two-inch blooms produced in red, pink, yellow, or white. Oxalis is relatively low-maintenance for those worried about not having a green thumb. This plant is another that you can learn to garden with.


Regardless of where the shady area sits, you will find the plants above can brighten up the space. Each of these is an ideal option for growing in containers, and most are easy to grow without much care or attention.

Even if you aren’t naturally gifted with plants, you can enjoy the beauty of these flowers throughout the summer months and keep dark and dreary areas bright and sunny around your property.

If you are interested in creating a truly unique space, consider combining a few of the above options in a container. Doing so will help you make the vibrant, bright look you want.