Northern Shade Gardening

Flower Planters in Shade

Monday, May 17, 2010 Category: Annuals
tray of annuals for shade

tray of annuals for shade

Here are some of the plants I used in containers for my shady front porch. There are lots of bright, colourful flowers to liven up the area. Much of my garden has subtle colours and leaf combinations, but the porch is separated from the rest of the garden, so I went for a vivid look with these shade planters, including lots of petals.

tray of shade annuals

tray of shade annuals

Above  are some of the new plants, still in their pots on a tray. These all make great container plants with their long blooming time. They are annuals, or treated as annuals in a cold climate. It’s possible that the begonia and fuchsia are wondering what they’re even doing in zone 3, and why they didn’t make it onto the shipment to Florida.  Most of these flowers will fold at the first sign of frost.

shade planter Begonia Schizanthus and Impatiens

shade planter Begonia Schizanthus and Impatiens

You would think there would be a finite number of ways to arrange them, but I tried lots of combinations.

Impatiens balfieplos apple blossom pink

Impatiens balfieplos apple blossom pink

The Lobelia and double flowering Impatiens are two annuals that I often plant into my shady perennial beds. They blend nicely in a mixed bed, as well as working well in a container with their long blooming time. They will flower right up until Fall. The Impatiens will collapse at the first frost, but the Lobelia is more tolerant of a little cold at the end of the season. The photo above is a double flowering pink Lobelia ‘Balfieplos’ (Apple Blossom). I love the soft pink colour and beautifully folded petals.

Begonia Non-Stop Pink

Begonia Non-Stop Pink

The tuberous begonias can handle a lot of shade, and get covered in these large flowers all summer. This beauty is a Begonia Non-stop Pink, with lots of crinkly petals. The shadings from light to medium pink are very attractive. It looks great in the blue ceramic planter.

shade annuals in mixed tray

shade annuals in mixed tray

The large white double begonia on the tray above is picked from Memory Mix. It has lots of bright petals that stand out against the dark green leaves. This one is very noticeable in the darker shade on the recessed  front porch.

tuberous Begonia deep pink

tuberous Begonia deep pink

The deep pink, almost red Begonia is supposed to be Picotee Lace, but I don’t see a white edge on it. It looked pink when I picked it out, but in this light it is looking more red, poinsettia red.

Schizanthus Rose Bicolour blooms

Schizanthus Rose Bicolour blooms

I used to grow mixed Schizanthus in the beds of my last garden.  Now some are available as separate colours, and growers like to trademark them. This one is a rose bicolor. They should work well in the planters, since they have masses of flashy blooms. The Schizanthus worked better in part shade than full shade. You can see more tender plants in planters in this followup article.

Fuchsia 'Dollar Princess' buds

Fuchsia ‘Dollar Princess’ buds

This is  Fuchsia ‘Dollar Princess’. Those plump red buds are very attractive, and soon they will be dripping with intricate fuchsia blooms. I like how they look against the cobalt blue pot. They’re a classic shade plant, and will cascade nicely over the sides of the planter.

Begonia and Lobelia in container

Begonia and Lobelia in container

This is a view from above of one of the flower containers, as I walk down the steps. The planter is full of pink red tuberous Begonia and blue Lobelia. Do you think I could have stuffed any more blooms in there?

shade planter Begonia Lobelia Impatiens

shade planter Begonia Lobelia Impatiens

I had a lot of fun designing these containers this year. The picture above shows them while I was still arranging them in their packs. They are all grouped on my front porch, so it is easy to keep them watered. One advantage of pots in the shade, is that you don’t have to water them as often. Did you make up any flower planters this year? What are your favourite combinations?

I have another post about a part shade flower container., and an article with more photos and information of shade plants in pots.

40 Responses to “Flower Planters in Shade” »

  1. Marnie :
    May 17, 2010 at 7:13 am

    I love the way your planters turned out. Maybe I can find a pink begonia like Non Stop Pink for my shade planter. I really love the blooms.

  2. Northern Shade :
    May 17, 2010 at 7:55 am

    Marnie, I really like the Non-Stop Pink begonia, too. The buds are really sweet as well, with a cream and pink look, which go great with the double pink impatiens.

  3. Sweetbay :
    May 17, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Such beautiful bright colors! I love how your containers turned out.

    I end up raising so many baby plants every year that they end up taking up the space for containers.

  4. Rebecca @ In The Garden :
    May 17, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Wow Northern, looks like you had a lot of fun! What an impressive display of bright and vibrant colour combinations, they all look wonderful together. Your fuschia is beautiful. I’m still holding off til the long weekend, I always end up hauling the containers into the garage once or twice after planting.

  5. Northern Shade :
    May 17, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Sweet Bay, I usually only make a few containers, since I don’t like all of the individual and frequent watering of too many pots. A few in the deep shade of my porch are easy to keep up with.

    Rebecca, I bought some of these a few weeks ago, so they have been in the garage and out for their daily sunbath many times. They were longing to spread their roots a bit. Although some containers are packed very tight, so there is not a lot of root wiggle room.

    Barbarapc, yes, it’s great to see how the pots develop as they grow and add more blooms. Also, I like the look when the fuchsia and lobelia start cascading over the sides.

  6. Barbarapc :
    May 17, 2010 at 11:21 am

    They look like a good still-life painting now – imagine how great they’re going to be in a couple of months. I think those begonias look pink compared with those I just planted. Yikes – all they’d need would be the yellow marigolds and they’d look like they’ve run away from a Shell Gas Station.

  7. Linda at Meadowview Thymes :
    May 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I love all your combinations! One of my favorite things to do out in the garden is create containers filled with all kinds of things. I have to consider the heat and humidity we have here in Texas and keep in mind containers dry out much faster. I use begonias, dusty miller, sweet potato vine, asparagus fern, impatients (shade only), and something yellow and something blue. It is so much fun to create!

  8. Northern Shade :
    May 17, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Linda, I like the fluffy plumes of asparagus fern, but I haven’t tried using them in containers. I bet they would last a while in your mild climate. too. It is fun putting new pots together.

  9. The Garden Ms. S :
    May 17, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Northern Shade, your pots look so exuberant and inviting! What a nice welcome on the porch at the front door for guest and residents. :-) I too love the double flowering Impatiens and yours are particularly sweet. I guess the snow storm earlier in the month scared me off a bit so I am holding off on pots for now. (It seems I just put pussywillows and moss in them for spring. Where *did* spring go??)

  10. Northern Shade :
    May 17, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    The Garden Ms. S, I like to add the double impatiens in the shady garden beds too, especially the white and pale pinks ones. They blend in with the perennials, and fill in empty spaces well.

  11. Anil :
    May 18, 2010 at 2:56 am

    I liked the Dollar Princess for the name. The others are more colourful and beautiful. The Schizanthus is brilliant.

  12. Northern Shade :
    May 18, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Anil, there are so many fuchsia they probably have to get creative with their names now. She was once the pampered royal daughter, but after her disgrace she has fallen upon hard times. The Schizanthus has a lot of pizazz with the pink, white and yellow colours, and the bright pattern on the petals. It is still in the royal favour.They pack a lot of petals, too.

  13. Vigdis :
    May 18, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Happy to read your comment today on my spring flowers. I imagine we have much of the same winter climate. You have perhaps warmer and drier summers than me in this part of Norway? Here we get an average of 100 mm rain each summer month. Temperature differs between 15 and 30 Celsius. By the way, do you know that Canadian roses are popular for harsh Norw. climates? I have one myself, ‘Martin Frobisher’ from the Explorer series.

  14. Northern Shade :
    May 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Vigdis, the temperatures are similar, but our summer is probably drier. The Explorer roses are great for harsh winters.

  15. Vigdis :
    May 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    That double flowered pale pink Impatiens is adorable!

  16. Northern Shade :
    May 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Vigdis, they almost look like miniature roses.

  17. easygardener :
    May 19, 2010 at 8:57 am

    They look lovely. I like colour in the garden. Annual planting in pots provides that ideal opportunity to create a fantasy world of colour in miniature. I like these pots by the entrance porch and where I’m sitting outside. Apart from watering they are the maintenance free garden I dream about!

  18. Northern Shade :
    May 19, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Easygardener, I can squeeze a lot more annuals into a pot than I would in a section of garden bed. too. I have another one I’m putting together for the back patio.

  19. Ulrike :
    May 19, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Beautiful pot displays! Even if you did have them in their pots while you arranged them. I have not even started with my containers yet as I have been busy with other things. A little behind this year, however, our weather has been crazy here in the south too, so you never know what to do!

  20. Northern Shade :
    May 19, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Ulrike, thanks, I still have one container to plant for the back patio, which will be in semi-shade.

  21. Northern Shade :
    May 20, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Kathleen, the containers really brighten up the porch, and the Begonias provide a little height, with soft, showy blooms. The doubles are my favourite.

    Diane, I have some more crosses with the iris now, and a particular favourite is a two-toned blue one, with dark, velvety falls. Whenever I look out the window, there is always something to tempt me outside to the garden right now.

  22. Kathleen :
    May 20, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Now you’re talking my favorite subject ~ container gardening. I love many of your choices ~ the begonias are some of my favorites. I buy them every year and your porch sounds like the perfect place to plant and enjoy them.
    I think containers are a great way to experiment with colors, textures and design.

  23. Diane :
    May 20, 2010 at 10:48 am

    You have a wonderful blog, and I have just started to delve into it. Such a busy time of year for all gardeners…and not much time for the computer.

    I had a look at your plant list. You have a very wonderful collection. I have a couple of unknown irises as well. Your unknown blue one is quite beautiful. One of my unknowns is a blue as well, but I think it’s a little lighter than yours.

    Happy Gardening, and thank you very much for looking at my blog.

  24. Linda :
    May 20, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I love your plant combinations, especially the tuberous begonias with the pretty blue lobelias. I’ve just planted my own baskets for the shade. Nothing too exciting; I go for what has worked in the past: dark pink, pale pink and white impatients with purple and green potato vines and maidenhair ferns.

  25. Northern Shade :
    May 20, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Linda, I love impatiens in the shade, since the blooms last all summer. The fine textured maidenhair fern would give a delicate look, and the vines would cascade nicely.

    Debsgarden, the fuchsia blossoms are opening now, and you can see the lovely contrast in the petals.

  26. debsgarden :
    May 20, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    You have some wonderful pots. I love that Apple blossom lobelia and the Dollar Princess fuchsia is my favorite! It must be a treat to sit on your porch and admire all the pretty flowers.

  27. Marit :
    May 22, 2010 at 2:44 am

    Thank you for a very nice comment in my gardenblog!
    So many lovely photoes you have taken from your garden. The double Impatiens are so beautiful!

  28. Lisa at Greenbow :
    May 22, 2010 at 4:49 am

    I like all of your planters for shade. I do a few planters too. This year I found a burgandy double begonia. I haven’t done the double begonias before. I am hoping they do well. I will have to get some shots up of my shade planters. I haven’t finished them yet. Yours have given me some inspiration to finish. Actually I want to sprinkle some annuals around the garden to bring a little more life and light in.

  29. Northern Shade :
    May 22, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Lisa, last night before I went to bed, I saw the weather forecast for wet snow, so I hauled the planters into the garage. However, it seems to have stayed a bit above freezing. I don’t mind loosing them to frost in the Fall, but May is too early. The begonias do bloom a long time, and they don’t mind the lack of direct sunlight.

  30. Marie :
    May 23, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Beautiful flowers :)

  31. Northern Shade :
    May 23, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Marie, the annuals really pack a lot of colour into their small size.

  32. Joanne :
    May 26, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Lovely colourful combinations

  33. Northern Shade :
    May 26, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Joanne, I mostly have perennials in my garden, but annuals are fun for all of the concentrated colour.

    Shady Gardener, the plants have already grown quite a bit in just the last week, and they’ve really filled in. Although as I walked by them today, I wondered if I could fit one more lobelia into the one pot that could use a little more overhang. :)

  34. Shady Gardener :
    May 26, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Really Pretty, Northern! Please show us a peek at them later! :-) How is your Spring coming along? We might be tempted to describe some of the weather we’ve had lately as July weather! (93 degrees F two days in a row!) Pretty hard on some of those tender Spring plants. But we’re all surviving! Everything looks really mature around here!!

  35. waltraud :
    May 28, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    HI, a feast for the eyes, beautiful colors, see your begonias from class ..!

    Wish you a lovely sunny weekend.

    Best regards Waltraud

  36. Northern Shade :
    May 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Waltraud, I love the Begonia with many petals too. They have been doing well, but I brought them into my garage tonight, since there is a chance of some snow being mixed with rain tomorrow morning.

  37. Sandra :
    April 6, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Thank you for showing us your beautiful displays and giving so much advice. I have been looking for colourful flowers for a shady area between two tall houses and you have given me some ideas. I have planted begonias, lobelias and impatiens in sunlight but never in a shady area so I will give them a try.

  38. Northern Shade :
    April 6, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Sandra, you’re welcome, all of these do very well in the shade. My front porch gets no direct light, and they will flower all summer in their pots. There are lots of perennials that will do well as well. I have some perennial Campanula portenschlagiana (Dalamtion bellflower) planted between two houses that does well too.

  39. mary :
    May 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    hello Northern Shade !

    I never thought of seing such a lovely plants aside from seing it from a green houses that i visited, yours have the most colorful and greenest yard i can imagine , i truely love your pots color arrangement or combination, i would really like to learn from you how to maintain and plant this flower for a prety show on my sandy and rocky ground pls help me , im from minnesota and im in zone 3 .

    looking forward in your pretty garden again
    thanks ,

  40. Northern Shade :
    May 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Mary, in the planters you can squeeze the plants a little closer than you would in the garden, especially with annuals or tender plants that are just for the one season. If you have any questions about any of the plants feel free to ask.

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