Brighten Up A Shady Area

Shade doesn’t have to be dull. Brighten up areas shaded by trees or covered patios and porches by planting colorful, shade-loving plants. Mix and match seasonal annuals, perennials that come back year after year and shrubs that all enjoy shady spots.

Flowering annuals:

1. Impatiens – create pillows of color in your garden in white, pink, violet, red, orange, salmon, or mix them together.  Blooms from April through first freeze.

2. New Guinea Impatiens – sturdier, larger and taller plants than standard Impatiens, available in the same colors.  Blooms from April through first freeze.

3. Torenia – upright or spreading varieties available in white, purple, pink, rose and yellow.  Multiple blooms on these plants are showy.

4. Begonias – white, pink or red flowers cover these mound-shaped plants

Colorful annual foliage:

1. Coleus – bright colorful leaves on these upright plants can be used as accent plants or in mass plantings.

2. Kong Coleus – Larger, taller coleus that have oversized colorful leaves

3. Caladiums – heart shaped leaves that come in red/green, pinks, white, and speckles


1. Heuchera (Coral Bells) – mounds of colorful leaves in lime green, rose, silver, and multiple color combinations make this a “must have” for shady areas.

2. Hosta – combinations of showy blue, green, and variegated leaves combined with delicate lavender flowers come back bigger and better, year after year.

3. Persian Shield – is a tender perennial with purple and silver leaves with green ribs

4. Sedge or Carex grass – bright yellow, chartreus green, or variegated blades make this short, grass perfect as accents, borders or mass plantings.

5. Ajuga – a low growing ground cover of purple leaves and short stalks covered in purple flowers

6. Autumn fern – new growth is bronze in color changing to green as the leaves mature.  This plant stays green year round.

7. Holly fern – another evergreen fern that will add bright green to a shady spot.


1. Camellias – choose between sasanqua varieties that bloom in whites, pinks, reds from Thanksgiving through Christmas or the japonica varieties that bloom from Christmas through early spring.

2. Hydrangeas – multitudes of colors, sizes and bloom shapes bloom throughout the spring through early fall – a must have for shady areas.

3. Aucuba – green plant with showy dots or patches of yellow on the leaves

4. Mahonia – several varieties available (leather leaf, soft caress) add interest to a shade garden

5. Pittosporum – terrible name for a great plant with green or variegated leaves.

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