Shade-Loving Trailing Plants for Containers

Updated February 21, 2017

Trailing plants for shade containers or hanging baskets soften the edges of the container and give it a lush look. Most trailers are perennial plants usually used as ground covers, so look for them in that section of your nursery. Especially in mixed plantings, shade-loving trailers will also tolerate part sun.

Creeping Jenny

Known as creeping Jenny or moneywort, Lysimachia nummularia comes in several forms that are ideal for shaded containers and hanging baskets, where it will trail up to 3 feet long in a season. L. nummularia Aurea has rounded, golden leaves, while another cultivar, Persian Chocolate, has burgundy-brown foliage with red and dark green highlights. It produces small yellow flowers.

Dead Nettle

Lamium varieties trail their silvery leaves and clusters of white or purple blooms throughout a shade-container planting. The variety Friday features cream and green variegated foliage. The deep lavender Red Nancy and the pink and white Nancy bloom in their namesake colours against silver foliage outlined by a dark green edge.

Vinca Minor

Also known as periwinkle or myrtle, Vinca vine is an evergreen trailer with dark green leaves and lavender flowers; the most common variety is Bowles. Variegated varieties, such as Ralph Shugert, which has green leaves edged in white, and Wojo's Gem, which has deep yellow leaves edged in dark green, blend well with flowering plants in containers.

Ground Ivy

Glechoma hederacea displays trails of leaves with scalloped edges and blue-green or white edges. Considered invasive in some areas of the country, this trailer works well in a shaded container, but avoid letting it grow to the ground.

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About the Author

Since 1981 Janet Bayers has written on travel, real estate trends and gardening for "The Oregonian" newspaper in Portland. Her work also has appeared in “Better Homes & Gardens,” “Traditional Home,” “Outdoor Living” and other shelter magazines. She holds a Master of Arts in linguistics from Michigan State University.