Potted plants for shade

Written by tanya khan
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Potted plants for shade
Grow shade-loving plants in pots to liven up shaded corners. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Spruce up the appeal of a shaded porch or patio, or even the space under tall trees, with shade-loving potted plants. Such plants add a dash of vibrant colour to the particular dark spot and extend a welcoming note to the overall landscape. Many options of shade-loving potted plants are available that decorate the area with varied texture, colour and form.


Several small- to medium-sized shrubs can live for many years in 2-foot-wide pots. Prune the particular potted shrub frequently to maintain size, growth and spread, and transplant to a bigger pot if it tips over easily with winds. Upright shrubs such as hydrangeas, azaleas and rhododendron perform well in large pots that are tucked securely in strategic corners of shaded areas. Another shade-loving shrub suitable for a container is the glossy abelia that grows from thin canes filled with blooms. Depending on personal taste, prune the shrub down to maintain size or grow it naturally so it serves as a natural screen. The spring blooming mountain laurel grows 4 to 8 feet tall and is another evergreen shrub suitable for shaded spots.

Potted plants for shade
Hydrangeas perform well in containers. (Hydrangea image by Stephanie Mueller from Fotolia.com)


Flowering plants grown in isolation or grouped with other plants with varying heights and colours add a burst of colour to the space and enhance its appeal. Impatiens, a commonly grown annual in commercial and residential gardens across the United States, grows 9 to 20 inches high and performs well in containers. Also used as a bedding plant, this cheerful annual features blooms that appear in a large variety of shades including coral, pink and white. Another common shade-loving potted annual is the pansy that pushes its way through the soil in early spring when traces of frost still remain and continues to dress up the area until fall. Pansies grow 4 to 8 inches tall, depending on the variety. Begonia, an 8- to 10-inch tall annual, dresses up dark, shaded corners of the landscape with attractive blooms in shades of white, salmon, pink and red.

For a perennial container garden consider lily of the valley or May bells that produces fragrant, bell-shaped white flowers and deep green foliage or herbaceous plants such as hostas that grow 1 to 3 feet tall and wide and feature yellow-golden, silvery-grey, deep green or variegated foliage. For a bulb garden, consider taller daffodils or petite crocus that grow back every spring.

Potted plants for shade
Grow shade-loving pansies in containers. (pansy image by david purday from Fotolia.com)


Grow trees shorter than 3 feet tall in medium to large containers. Consider shade-loving trees such as the Japanese maple, flowering dogwood or pin cherry. Although some varieties of these trees grow 20 feet tall when planted in the ground, they remain shorter in a pot. Remember to transplant the potted tree to a bigger pot as its canopy increases so the container does not tip over in case of heavy winds.

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