Bedding Plants for a Shady Area

Shady areas next to a house, fence or under trees doesn't mean you have less space for a garden; you have more. Shady areas can be home to a wide variety of bedding plants that thrive in partial to deep shade. You don't have to sacrifice colour in a shaded flower bed. Plants with colourful flowers or foliage brighten the area, giving your lawn many interesting focal points. Combine colours, textures and types of plants to create a garden for the senses all year long.

Cardinal Flower

The cardinal flower is a perennial plant that grows 3 to 6 feet tall with clusters of leaves on the stem. The base of the bright-red flowers form a tube leading to five slender petals arching away from the centre. Pollination depends on the tiny hummingbird feeding on its nectar. This is an ideal bedding plant for a wildlife garden. Cardinal flowers bloom from May to October and can be planted in partial or complete shade. Small children and pets should be supervised around this plant. All parts of the plant are toxic if eaten in large quantities.


Caladiums are grown from tubers or bought as a potted plant. They range in size from 12 to 30 inches tall for fancy-leaved caladiums to under 12 inches tall for strap-leaved caladiums. Fancy-leaved caladiums have large, semi-heart or heart-shaped foliage on the tips of long petioles (leaf support). Strap-leaved caladiums, also known as lance-leaved, have short petioles and longer leaves. Caladiums are available in a variety of colour combinations and shades of white, yellow-green, red, green and pink. Grow them in partial shade to bring out the best colour.


Daylilies are available in a wide variety of colours including purple, yellow, pink, orange and red. They also come in many colour combinations. Sun is needed for light-coloured daylilies to bring out the fullness of their colours. Daylilies with a deep purple colour such as 'Battle Zone' and a dark shade of red such as 'Abundance of Riches' can be grown in filtered sunlight. Depending on the cultivar and climate, daylilies may bloom as early as March or bloom in late August. A type of daylily known as a rebloomer blooms all summer.


The delicate flowers of impatiens bloom from June to the first frost in a variety of colours including white, rose, purple, orange, pink, lilac, bicolor and red. Impatiens can grow 6 to 24 inches tall and be planted in full or partial shade. They can be used in mass plantings along bedding borders, walkways, garden paths, window boxes or containers. Impatiens are inexpensive, widely available and the most popular annual for flower beds in the United States, according to Missouri Botanical Garden.

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Marie Louise is passionate about her writing, bringing personal knowledge and experience on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, chronic pain conditions, parenting, research, alternative medicine and animals. Her work appears on several different websites.