Annuals for Shade

Begonias for shade at Sensible Gardening and Living

Many gardens lack full sun, and quite honestly I wish mine was one of them. Where I garden we have intense summer heat with a scorching sun which has me often dreaming of cooler, shadier places. Garden shade can be the result of houses, trees, fences, walls and other plant growth.

Shade varies in its degree. Dappled shade or light shade is caused by deciduous trees, where sun and shade play side by side. Full shade is constant throughout the whole day, such as areas under evergreens or along walls. There is also moveable shade where a flower bed is in direct sun for part of the day and shade for the rest.

Sensible Gardenig and Living
Sensible Gardenig and Living

Fortunately for gardeners there are many shade loving flowers.Some shade annuals have glossy leaves which shed rain which is often present in their native habitats. Shade garden plants often have seeds that require light to germinate and do poorly in dry or infertile soil. Shade tolerant annuals generally require humous rich soil which holds moisture and nutrients very well. Humous is also aerated and of neutral or slightly acidic PH which is ideal for most annuals.

I’ve gathered up a few choices of annual flowers that grow in shade that you might want to consider growing this season. All are easy to grow and widely available.

Tuberous Begonia Spp.

These plants grow from round brown tubers. With tropical looking flowers they are ideal for pots and window boxes. Begonias require rich, moist soil, little sun and cooler temperatures. Color tones range from red, pink, salmon, orange and white.

White Begonia / Sensible Gardening and Living

Browallia (actually a tender perennial grown as an annual)

Forms a low spreading shrub about 8 inches high and 12 inches wide. Covered in 2 inch trumpet blooms all summer in white and periwinkle blue. Do not over fertilize and pinch plants back when small to encourage bushiness. Plant in pots with nemesia, polka-dot plants or begonias.

Impatiens (Busy Lizzie)

Blooms from spring until frost on shrubby plants. Dead heading is not required. Can be single or double flowers in shades of orange, scarlet, crimson, rose, pink and white, as well as bicolored.

impatients- sensible-gardening.jpg
Impatients / Sensible Gardening and Living

Mimulus (Monkey Flower)

In shades of yellow, orange, red, brown and cream with freckles and splashes of color. Never let this one dry out. Useful in pots or flower beds. Forms ground covering clumps bearing 2 inch blooms.


Great for pots and edging. Trailing varieties are excellent for hanging baskets. Flowers are white, pink, red and blue.

Ageratum (Floss Flower)

Clusters of feathery flower heads from summer to fall. Deadhead regularly to keep flowering and never allow plants to dry out.

Salpiglossis (Painted Tongue)

Shades of red-brown, deep purple, purple, rose and yellow. Exotic looking blooms which are 2 inch trumpet shaped.  Makes a good cut flower.



2 thoughts on “Annuals for Shade

  1. Jason, you are so right. Slight confession though.. I really don’t like coleus, just a personal thing.

  2. Good list. And don’t forget the foliage plants, coleus, caladium, etc. I’ve also found that snapdragons and pansies do well in part shade.

Comments are closed.