Flower Container in Part Shade

part shade flower container
part shade flower container

This flower container is in a part shade location on my patio. There is a tall Colocasia esculenta (elephant ear) in the centre at the back with enormous leaves. In the middle are some pink double Begonias and Impatiens, while around the edge are some blue trailing Lobelia.  These plants like it moist, so they should do well together, although the Colocasia likes the most water of all.

Colocasia esculenta (elephant ear) large leaf
Colocasia esculenta (elephant ear) large leaf

At the back, towering over the other plants is a Colocasia esculenta (elephant ear), with fabulously large leaves. I love the tropical look of the foliage. My plant is only 40 cm (16 in ) tall so  far, but each leaf is 28 cm (11 in) long. The veining detail really stands out on a blade of this size. The elephant ear  gives a little extra shade for the plants underneath, like a  garden under a miniature tree, while it gets to grab a little more sunshine above.

impatiens apple blossom double pink flower
impatiens apple blossom double pink flower

The small rose-like blooms are the apple blossom Impatiens  with the sweet double pink flowers. These are terrific plant in a container, because they produce the small perfect flowers all season. They don’t mind the extra shade from the leaves over top, and they don’t like it dry either, so they make a good companion.

Begonia non stop pink double flower
Begonia non stop pink double flower

The larger rose pink blooms are Begonia ‘Non Stop Pink’. The darker pink petals go well with the impatiens and light blue Lobelia. The double flower form is very showy in a container, with lots of petals per square cm.

double pink begonia and impatiens
double pink begonia and impatiens

These Begonias and Impatiens will keep flowering all summer, but the tender plants won’t be happy when the frost comes in Autumn.

Lobelia erinus Regatta Sky Blue
Lobelia erinus Regatta Sky Blue

The Lobelia erinus ‘Regatta Sky Blue’ has already started to cascade down the sides. They’ll soon obscure the sides of the blue pot. This trailing type of lobelia is especially good for tumbling over the edge.  I usually get a more compact type, like ‘Riviera Sky Blue’,  for my flower beds. It has a mounding shape that works well on the ground. Another light blue lobelia that I favour is ‘Cambridge Blue’, but I never see it available any more. The Lobelia will be the only plant in this container to tolerate the first frosts.

Flower container in part shade
Flower container in part shade

The above photo shows the whole container. If you click to enlarge the the picture,  it looks like I have perennial Epimediums growing in the pot, but those are in the garden border behind. :)

In this location, the flower container will get some morning sun, and then some dappled light for the rest of the day. These plants won’t be able to live outdoors in Edmonton after the Fall frosts, but they will brighten the patio until then.When the cold comes, some pansies look great in planters.

I used some similar plants for flower planters on my shady front porch, shown in a previous post. While here is a detailed post about some more shade plants in pots.

31 thoughts on “Flower Container in Part Shade”

  1. I have an elephant ear in mine too! I love them. I put my little houseplants in it also. There is a prayer plant and two Christmas cactuses in there with a few nasturtiums. The houseplants will return to the house before the frost this fall.

    1. Runningtrails – Sheryl, I love the tropical look of the elephant ear, with such large leaves. Your houseplants must enjoy the summer outdoors, and the prayer plant has great foliage too.

      Marnie, the light blue coloured lobelia stands out more than the darker ones, especially in the dappled light. Lobelia is my favourite trailing plant for containers.

  2. What a beautiful pot with flowers that you have!Elephant Ear is a unknown plant for me. The pink double Impatiens are so lovely.

    I can tell you that the seed company Thompson& Morgan in U.K. sells seeds of lobelia ‘Cambrigde Blue’. I buy lobelia seeds from T&M every year, and they are very easy to sow.

    1. Marit, elephant ear is used as a root food crop in some tropical zones, but those giant leaves are very decorative, too.
      Thank you for the information about the source for ‘Cambridge Blue’ lobelia. :)

      Barbarapc, the flowering season here does go with a bang once it starts. June is wonderful for having so many plants in bloom. I love the eye-catching leaves of elephant ears. too.

      Rebecca, when sitting down and looking at the container at eye level, it does look like a miniature forest, with a canopy, mid level, and floor plants.
      Lisa, I ended up adding double begonias to all of my pots this year, and I’m enjoying the large blooms.

  3. I love looking at flowers I don’t expect to see together – the joys of a condensed season – first the woodlanders and then begonias – when our woodlanders are up we’ve got weeks until it is ok to plant our annuals. The elephant ears are some of my favourite plants – so wonderfully tropical. Like the fact that you’ve created a mini-shade garden in a pot using its great big leaves. The lobelia is the perfect foil for that lovely pink begonia.

  4. I really like the plants you’ve chosen for your container. I am really partial to pink and blue together, and trailing lobelia is a favourite of mine. Nice work!

    1. Diane, I like how quickly trailing lobelia can grow, to create a wonderful waterfall of blue. The pink and blue matches many of the colours in the garden right now.

      The Garden Ms. S, the large leaves look super in the rain, as the rivulets flow down them. It gives them a jungle look.

  5. I always think pots of plants for the front should be bold and have some wow factor – whether colour or form – and yours succeed beautifully. What a pretty welcome to your home!

  6. That is such a beautiful look in your pot! Looking at different garden blogs is always great since we give each other ideas. Love the way you put it…a little garden under a miniature tree! Right now we are having such high heat and humidity I don’t know what will make it. Constant watering which I better get busy with!

  7. This is a great combination! I am becoming an elephant ear fan. This is the first year since I planted them that they have had enough rain to prosper. I hope mine get huge!

    1. Debsgarden, I’ll have to store the elephant ear bulb over winter if I want to have it next year. I’ve been giving it extra water in the pot, and it seems appreciative so far. I would love to have it grow tall.

  8. Your lttle garden in the container looks beautiful! I never heard about elephant ear before, but it looks very interesting and it is a very good idea to use it for some extra shade for other flowers.

    1. Stadtgarten, the elephant ear might look out of place in my garden borders, with woodland or temperate perennials, but it suits the container on the patio.

  9. Love, love, love your container! Your elephants ear looks so healthy too. The last two years the leaves on mine have looked like they were chemically burned or something (and I don’t use chemicals). I almost didn’t plant one this year but fell in love with one of the “hort couture” ones ~ called “mojito” ~ have you seen it??
    I miss ‘Cambridge blue’ lobelia too. I haven’t seen it around here either. I also haven’t seen that trailing lobelia. It would come in very handy. I always buy the more compact kind.

    1. Kathleen, I’ve seen Mojito photos on blogs, but not in person yet. The colouring is very distinctive. So far, my elephant ear is growing well, and seems to like the moisture and light levels.
      Marit gave a source for the Cambridge Blue lobelia seeds, but I don’t know why it fell out of favour.

  10. What a pretty pot, Northern! :-) I don’t want to show you mine . . . pretty boring, but I have a collection of three together so they don’t look quite so bad. ha. Happy Gardening Shady friend! :-)

    1. Shady Gardener, things in the garden always look good in threes. :) I have three pots on my front porch, but so far this container is decorating the back patio on its own.

  11. I like the Elephant Ear plant – it adds an extra dimension to the planting. I also like the way it looms protectively over the small plants below. No one is going to mess around with those flowers!

  12. I saw this earlier today, and had to do something else before leaving a comment, then I didn’t get back to it until now. I love that arrangement. I got some lobelia planted in a pot that needed another plant today.

    1. Corner Garden Sue, there always seems room to add a lobelia in a container. They are easy to sneak in around an edge, and they give so many flowers for the small amount of space they take up in the pot.

  13. Very interesting post! I’m astonished to see that your begonias are growing so well in part shade. I thought they would only grow in full sunshine (one never stops to learn new things when reading posts!!). I have my impatience on the northern wall of our house…unfortunately this year not the double sorts, as I was too late when I bought my container plants. I love these “busy-lizzies”.

    1. Barbara, the begonias on the front porch get no direct light, and they are flowering well. I love the double impatiens, because of the mini-rose look to the flowers.

  14. Thank you for the picutres and inspiration! do you do in town consultations? (Londonderry) I’m looking for easy to maintain, non- or very little flowering plants as the rotten kids pick the flowers. Things that come back yearly, that aren’t going to invade my neighbours flower gardens that attach to my garden. I’m taking plenty of notes on what you have planted & taken pictures of. Do most of the greenhouses/gardening centres in town (kuhlman’s etc) carry what you have or am I on a wild goose chase? Thank you so much for your website! I have enjoyed it tremendously

    1. I Love Flowers,
      I have purchased almost all of the plants I have from local greenhouses. A few specialty bulbs and a few perennials have been ordered from Fraser’s Thimble Farms. I just made a list for someone on the My Garden Plants page of greenhouses where I have purchased many of the plants in Edmonton, see comment number 188.

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