Shade-loving plants for a window box

Updated February 21, 2017

Window boxes support all types of small- to medium-sized, shade-loving plants and flowers. In fact, shade-loving plants are particularly well-suited for window boxes, as light obstructions from tall buildings or trees won’t affect the growth or quality of the plant. Armed with the knowledge of shade-loving plants that thrive in window boxes, choose plants to enhance your outdoor garden.

Japanese Laurel

The Japanese laurel shrub is an evergreen shrub that thrives in full to partial shade. It grows particularly well in enclosed planters, such as window boxes, and will produce small purple and red berries in the spring, an attractive feature in a small space. Unlike other laurels, the Japanese laurel grows better in the shade, and if kept in a moist soil, will survive for many seasons.

Flowering Quince

The flowering quince is often used as a border plant or ridge plant in gardens with small spaces and little sunlight. It survives best in partial shade, but will not die in full shade if the soil is moist. While the plant is known to creep, the ornamental species will not overtake a smaller planting area, and is therefore a colourful addition to a window box.

Varigated Spotted Laurel

Like many laurels, the variegated spotted laurel thrives in full shade, requiring almost no sunlight. Though the evergreen leaves can be hardy, they are easily trimmed into tight spaces, making them ideal for even small-sized window boxes.

Hypericum (St. John's Wort)

Hypericum, also known as St. John’s Wort, is a flowering plant that requires only partial shade, and is best for a window box that occasionally receives sunlight. The semi-evergreen leaves grow especially well when cramped, so it is perfect for the tight spaces in a window box.

Common Box

The common box, also known as Buxus, is a compact and hearty evergreen with round leaves, which fit well into tight planters. Though it thrives in partial shade, consider this shrub for a window box that occasionally receives afternoon sun.

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About the Author

Jessica Jewell is a writer, photographer and communications consultant who began writing professionally in 2005. Her chapbook, "Slap Leather," is forthcoming from dancing girl press. Her recent work has appeared in "Nimrod," "Harpur Palate," "Copper Nickel," "Rhino," "wicked alice," "Poetry Midwest" and "Barn Owl Review." Jewell was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from Kent State University.