12 Best Plants for Hanging Baskets in Shade

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Finding full sun plants for hanging baskets is easy. A quick stroll through your favorite nursery or garden center provides plenty of options for the brightly lit spots in your yard. Finding shade-loving plants for baskets seems much more challenging. DDon’tworry, though. There are plenty of beautiful plants that love shady spots in your yard or corners of your covered porch.

The following plants are just a sampling of ones that love the shade. The list includes flowering ornamentals, woodland plants like ferns and hostas with a mix of perennial and annual species.

Understanding What Full Shade Means

All plants need sunshine for growth, including those classified as full-shade. The classifications—full sun, partial sun, partial shade, or full shade—are based on how much sunlight a plant needs through the day. Full shade plants thrive with filtered sunlight or less than four hours of direct sun every day, preferably early morning.

Benefits Of Full Shade Plants

  • Shade plants have lower moisture requirements because less water is lost from bright sunlight on the foliage.
  • Shaded spots retain soil moisture better.
  • Most shade-loving plants are low maintenance.
  • Plants add color to areas usually shadowed and darker.

12 Plants For Shaded Hanging Baskets

1. Rex Begonias (Begonia rex)

Rex begonias are a low-light show stopper! They are one of the most eye-catching, dramatic begonia varieties with their exotic-looking foliage. Large waxy leaves display greens, reds, and silver shades and may even have slight purple hues. One benefit of these plants is they easily transition to houseplants in the fall, where they safely overwinter until spring.

2. Coleus (Coleus spp.)

A favorite for baskets, potted containers, and landscape plantings, coleus plants come in a boundless array of varieties. The stunning foliage is available in shades of maroon, red, orange, brown, yellow, cream, and green. Contrasting or complementary leaf edges are often ruffled or scalloped to create a show-stopping plant. Coleus plants are one of the easiest bedding plants to grow.

3. Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana)

Classified as a tender perennial, impatiens are small, compact plants with glossy green foliage and an abundance of brightly-colored flowers. They are a staple bedding plant in many gardeners but typically grown as annuals. They bloom all season continuously until the first frost in a range of colors, including white, pink, lilac, purple, red, orange, and bicolor blends.

4. Hostas (Hosta spp.)

Hostas are revered in the gardening community for shady spots in the landscape. These beauties thrive in the shadows of your house or under your favorite shade tree in the yard. Stunning foliage comes in green, yellow, blue, and cream hues, and the plants are incredibly easy to care for, making them great for inexperienced gardeners.

5. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

Also known as moneywort, creeping Jenny is known as a ground cover plant because of its low stature and spreading nature. But the long, trailing stems add interest to baskets when allowed to drape over the side. Plants bloom from late spring to summer with yellow flowers. Its rounded leaves look like coins.

6. Coral Bells (Heuchera spp.)

Coral Bells are known for their unique leaves in shades of green and red. They have a wavy leaf margin and distinct vein patterns. These herbaceous shade perennials send up long flower stalks that give way to bell-shaped clusters of red, pink, or white flower clusters in late spring and summer. Butterflies and other pollinators also love these plants.

7. Fuschia (Fuchsia spp.)

Fuschia plants thrive in lower temperatures and shaded locations. Plants bloom throughout the summer, showcasing bright pendulous flowers of white, pink, or purple against contrasting dark green foliage. The delicate-looking plant is quite hardy and low-maintenance, needing little care. Unlike many flowering ornamentals, fuschia plants have the fullest blooms when kept from the direct sun.

8. Ferns (Tracheophyta spp.)

Most people think of ferns for planting under trees and close to foundations, but they also do well in baskets hung in full or dappled shade. These plants were one of the first plant groups to adapt to growing on the land. Few species can handle direct sunlight, making them ideal for shaded areas. Make sure to choose species adapted to the humidity of your local climate.

9. Vinca Minor (Vinca minor)

Also known as periwinkle or creeping myrtle, vinca minor vines are commonly used as ground cover with their shiny dark green foliage variegated in white or yellow. But vinca minor also makes a beautiful addition to baskets. Most cultivars put out blue flowers in spring, but some erupt in a magnificent display of lavender, white, or purple. They may occasionally bloom in summer.

10. Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

The classic bleeding heart is a stunning perennial plant when potted in hanging baskets. Its heart-shaped pinkish-red flowers dangle off an arching stem with a single hanging droplet to create blooms hard to forget. Plants only flower for a handful of weeks, but the time is extended when hung in a shady spot or partial sun.

11. Lobelia (Lobelia erinus)

Lobelia is classified as a tender perennial but is grown in most USDA zones as an annual. It belongs to the Campanulaceae or “bellflower” family. Fan-shaped flowers bloom in many shades of blue, making it one of the few flowering ornamentals with true blue blossoms. This low-maintenance plant self-cleans, so there is no need to deadhead spent flowers.

12. Trailing Bacopa (Sutera cordata)

Many people think trailing bacopa is the ultimate companion in shade-loving hanging baskets. It is easy to grow and looks magnificent, spilling over the sides of a basket. White, pink, or lavender blooms appear in spring against a beautiful backdrop of bluish-green foliage and keep coming until an autumn frost. In areas with mild winters, the plant flowers year-round.

Things To Consider With Hanging Baskets In The Shade

  • Baskets need well-draining potting soil and drainage holes in the bottom to prevent root rot because the potting mix doesn’t dry out as quickly as it does in bright sunlight.
  • Even though some plants are classified as full shade, they still need some sunlight, even if it’s dappled or filtered. Sunlight is required for photosynthesis.
  • Periodically check your baskets for fungal diseases during cool, wet periods since these climate conditions trigger fungal growth.