I like having patio plants and window sill pots year round but last fall I moved and my new home is surrounded by trees, crazy shade, and all in all I’d say on an extremely sunny day (rare in Oregon winters) my porch, along with my windows are only getting maybe an hour of sun a day. Not enough to grow anything that likes the sunshine. Even in the summer I’m doubting I’ll have the sun necessary to grow sun-loving plants on the porch due to the trees.
That said, since I’m not interested in giving up plants on the porch entirely, I’m going to have to be happy with some shade loving varieties. Following are some plants that do well in the shade and in pots. Note, even though the plants below like shade they still vary – for example some will tolerate full shade most of the time while others need partial sun so be sure to check plant requirements and match them up with your sun / shade availability before planting.
Plenty of greenery does well in the shade – ferns of course are a major option and shade loving varieties come in literally hundreds of species. I’m not a huge fern fan but I do like shade lovin’ Hosta plants or Coleus which to me are more attractive with their wider range of colored leaves and as a bonus are totally easy to grow. Hosta ‘Raspberry Sorbet’, Hosta ‘Key Lime Pie’, and Coleus Chocolate Mint are all really pretty. You can also get more color in the shade with the plants below.
- Bleeding hearts
- Foam flowers
- If you’ve got partial sun you might want to give Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’ a whirl. This is a gorgeous cascading plant with silvery pale green leaves. It looks awesome in old found bucket planters (look at thrift stores).
- Impatiens flowers – I LOVE the Fanciful Stardust Mix Hybrid.
- Helleborus is one of the prettiest plants ever, but not all varieties do well in containers and some do need more sun than others. That said, if you get a shade lovin’ variety and a HUGE pot (they have extensive root systems) you should be good to go. Two beautiful shade varieties include Apricot Blush Helleborus and Helleborus ‘Phoenix’. Note – if you can don’t buy Helleborus plants by mail order, look for them at a local nursery.
- Astilbes – also called meadowsweet does well in the shade and offers tons of color choices although mostly in the red, pink, lavender family. Astilbe chinensis Visions is a pretty variety.
This is just a small sampling of shade loving plants you can grow. Since I’m planning some new patio pots, I’ve got a ton of plant ideas. I’ll be back with some more shade picks soon.