best planter plants for shade

Best Planter Plants For Shade: Shady Beauties (2024) 1

Many gardeners believe that they can only grow hostas and ferns in the shade, but that is not true. There are plenty of beautiful shade plants that can thrive in less sun and add beauty to your space. In this article, I will share with you the best planter plants for shade, along with some tips and ideas for creating a shade container garden.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover a variety of shade-loving plants that can thrive in your planters.
  • Explore container gardening ideas specifically designed for shaded areas.
  • Learn about the top plants for shaded containers and how to care for them.
  • Find out which shade-tolerant plants are best suited for pots and planters.
  • Get inspired with shade container garden ideas and create a beautiful outdoor space.

Heuchera (Coral Bells)

Heuchera, also known as Coral Bells, is a versatile and stunning shade plant that adds a pop of color to any garden. With its vibrant and varied foliage, Heuchera is a popular choice for those seeking shade plants with colorful foliage. Varieties like ‘Ginger Ale’, ‘Black Beauty’, ‘Midnight Rose’, and ‘Peach Flambe’ offer a wide range of hues, from soft pastels to bold and dramatic shades.

Heuchera is not only visually appealing but also easy to grow and maintain. It thrives in shade and can tolerate a variety of soil conditions. Whether you’re planting Heuchera in containers or directly in the ground, it’s important to provide well-draining soil to prevent waterlogging. Regular watering and occasional fertilization will keep your Heuchera plants healthy and vibrant.

One of the unique features of Heuchera is its ability to withstand cold temperatures. This makes it an excellent choice for gardeners in regions with harsh winters. As a perennial plant, Heuchera will come back year after year, bringing a burst of color to your shaded garden.

Variety Foliage Color
‘Ginger Ale’ Soft yellow-green
‘Black Beauty’ Glossy black-red
‘Midnight Rose’ Green leaves with bright pink speckles
‘Peach Flambe’ Peachy-orange leaves

With their colorful foliage and adaptability, Heuchera plants are an excellent choice for adding visual interest and beauty to your shady garden. Whether you’re looking to create a container garden or enhance existing flower beds, Heuchera (Coral Bells) will elevate the aesthetics of your outdoor space.


Astilbe is a beautiful and versatile shade-loving flowering plant that adds a pop of color and elegance to any garden. With its stunning blooms and attractive foliage, it is a popular choice among gardeners looking to create a vibrant and visually appealing garden in shady areas.

One of the standout features of Astilbe is its showy flowers that bloom atop glossy, fern-like foliage. These flowers come in a variety of colors, including shades of pink, red, purple, and white, allowing you to create stunning color combinations and visual interest in your garden.

But Astilbe isn’t just eye candy. It is also a deer-resistant plant, making it an excellent option for gardens that are prone to deer damage. Its ability to withstand deer browsing ensures that your garden stays beautiful and intact.

To make the most of Astilbe in your shade garden, consider planting it in groupings to create a bold and impactful display. Astilbe thrives in a range of light conditions, so you can enjoy its beauty even in areas with dappled shade or filtered sunlight. With proper care and maintenance, Astilbe will reward you with its stunning blooms year after year.


Table: Astilbe Varieties and Characteristics

Variety Height Flower Color Foliage Color Bloom Time
Astilbe ‘Fanal’ 18-24 inches Red Green Early to mid-summer
Astilbe ‘Bridal Veil’ 24-30 inches White Green Mid to late summer
Astilbe ‘Rheinland’ 18-24 inches Pink Bronze-green Early to mid-summer
Astilbe ‘Pumila’ 6-9 inches Pink Green Early to mid-summer

The table above showcases some popular Astilbe varieties and their characteristics. From the vibrant red blooms of ‘Fanal’ to the delicate white flowers of ‘Bridal Veil’, there is a variety of colors and heights to choose from. Consider mixing different Astilbe varieties to create a visually stunning and dynamic shade garden that will be the envy of your neighbors.

Astilbe is a versatile shade-loving plant that adds a pop of color and elegance to any garden. Its showy flowers and attractive foliage make it a popular choice among gardeners. With its deer-resistant properties, it can thrive in gardens prone to deer damage. Plant Astilbe in groupings for a bold display and enjoy its beauty year after year.

Bleeding Heart: Elegant Shade-Loving Perennials with Heart-Shaped Flowers

If you’re looking for an elegant and striking addition to your shade garden, look no further than the Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis). This shade-loving perennial is known for its unique heart-shaped flowers that add a touch of romance and beauty to any space. With its graceful arching stems and vibrant colors, the Bleeding Heart is a must-have for garden enthusiasts.

The Bleeding Heart blooms in the spring, with flowers that dangle from the stems like delicate earrings. The flowers come in shades of pink, red, and white, adding a splash of color to the shady corners of your garden. The foliage is equally stunning, with finely divided, fern-like leaves that create an elegant backdrop for the flowers. It’s no wonder that this plant is a favorite among gardeners.

Caring for Bleeding Heart is relatively easy, but it does require some attention. It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and prefers a shady or partially shaded location. Regular watering is essential to keep the soil consistently moist, especially during dry spells. Additionally, removing faded flowers and leaves will encourage new growth and prolong the blooming period.

Table: Comparing Different Varieties of Bleeding Heart

Variety Color Height Blooming Period
Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ White 2-3 feet Spring
Dicentra spectabilis ‘Valentine’ Deep Red 2-3 feet Spring
Dicentra spectabilis ‘Gold Heart’ Golden Yellow 2-3 feet Spring

The Bleeding Heart is a true showstopper in the shade garden. Its heart-shaped flowers and delicate foliage create a sense of enchantment and whimsy. Planting different varieties can add visual interest and provide a longer blooming season. The Bleeding Heart is a timeless classic that will never go out of style.

So if you’re looking to add some elegance and charm to your shade garden, consider planting the Bleeding Heart. Its heart-shaped flowers and vibrant colors will undoubtedly make it a focal point in your outdoor space. With a little care and attention, your Bleeding Heart will reward you with its stunning blooms year after year.

Ferns: Lush Foliage Plants for Shade

Ferns are a popular and versatile choice for adding beauty and texture to a shade garden. These lush foliage plants thrive in shady areas and can transform any space into a green oasis. With their elegant fronds and graceful growth habit, ferns bring a touch of nature and tranquility to your outdoor setting.

One of the main advantages of ferns is their ability to thrive in low-light conditions. Unlike many other plants that require direct sunlight, ferns are well-adapted to shade and can tolerate a range of light levels. This makes them an excellent choice for areas with limited exposure to the sun, such as under trees or on the north side of buildings.

There are numerous fern varieties to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular fern species for shade gardens include Dre’s Dagger, ‘Silver Falls’, and Ostrich ferns. These ferns offer a range of sizes, shapes, and textures, allowing you to create visual interest and depth in your garden.

When it comes to care, ferns are relatively low-maintenance plants. They prefer moist, well-drained soil and regular watering to keep the soil consistently damp. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. Additionally, ferns benefit from occasional fertilization with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to promote healthy growth.


The Beauty of Ferns in Shady Spaces

Ferns are not only visually appealing, but they also offer other benefits to your shade garden. Their dense foliage provides a natural form of weed control by crowding out unwanted plants. Additionally, ferns can help improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen.

Ferns bring a touch of nature and tranquility to your outdoor setting.

Whether you’re creating a woodland garden or adding greenery to a shaded patio, ferns are an excellent choice. Their lush foliage, adaptability to shade, and low-maintenance nature make them a favorite among gardeners. Planting ferns in shady areas not only adds beauty to your landscape but also contributes to a healthier and more sustainable environment overall.

Solomon’s Seal: A Beautiful and Deer-Resistant Shade-Loving Perennial

If you’re looking to add elegance and beauty to your shade garden, look no further than Solomon’s Seal. This shade-loving perennial is a favorite among gardeners for its graceful arching stems and delicate white bell-shaped flowers. Not only does Solomon’s Seal add visual interest to your garden, but it is also deer-resistant, making it an excellent choice for areas prone to deer damage.

One of the standout features of Solomon’s Seal is its pale green leaves, which are edged in white. This unique foliage adds a touch of brightness to shady areas and creates a striking contrast against darker plants. Whether planted under trees or in other shady spots, Solomon’s Seal thrives in low-light conditions, making it a versatile and reliable choice for any shade garden.

“Solomon’s Seal is a true gem in the shade garden. Its elegant form and deer resistance make it a must-have for any gardener looking to add beauty to their shady spaces.”

Caring for Solomon’s Seal is relatively easy. It prefers moist soil and should be watered regularly to keep the soil consistently damp but not waterlogged. This perennial is also low-maintenance and rarely bothered by insects or disease. As the plants mature, they can form large clumps, filling in empty spaces and providing a lush, green backdrop for other shade-loving plants. Consider pairing Solomon’s Seal with ferns, hostas, or other shade-tolerant perennials for a stunning and diverse shade garden.

Plant Details Attributes
Common Name Solomon’s Seal
Botanical Name Polygonatum
Plant Type Perennial
Light Requirements Shade to part shade
Height 2 to 4 feet
Spread 1 to 2 feet
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color White
Foliage Color Pale green with white edges
Deer Resistance Yes

In summary, Solomon’s Seal is a stunning shade-loving perennial that adds beauty and elegance to any garden. Its arching stems, delicate white flowers, and unique foliage make it a standout choice. With its deer resistance and easy maintenance, Solomon’s Seal is a reliable and versatile addition to your shade garden. Plant it in groupings or combine it with other shade-loving perennials for a visually stunning display. Embrace the beauty of shade and let Solomon’s Seal transform your garden.

Dianthus (Pinks)

Dianthus, commonly known as Pinks, are a stunning choice for a shade garden. These shade-loving perennial flowers come in a variety of colors and add a touch of beauty and fragrance to any space. With their delicate petals and sweet scent, Dianthus flowers are a favorite among gardeners.

Not only are Dianthus plants visually appealing, but they are also deer-resistant, making them a reliable choice for a shade garden. The deer-resistant nature of Dianthus ensures that your plants can thrive without being damaged by wildlife.

Popular varieties of Dianthus include Sweet William, cheddar pinks, and garden pinks. These plants are easy to grow and require minimal maintenance, making them suitable for both experienced gardeners and beginners. Whether planted in flower beds or containers, Dianthus plants will brighten up your shaded garden with their vibrant hues and charming blooms.

“Dianthus flowers bring joy and beauty to any shade garden. With their captivating colors and delightful fragrance, they are a must-have for plant enthusiasts.” – Gardening Expert

Benefits of Dianthus (Pinks) in a Shade Garden:

  • Shade-loving perennial flowers that thrive in low-light conditions.
  • Deer-resistant plants that can withstand wildlife damage.
  • A wide range of colors and varieties available.
  • Adds fragrance and beauty to any shaded space.
Variety Color
Sweet William Pink, red, white
Cheddar Pinks Pink, orange
Garden Pinks Pink, purple

With their stunning colors, delightful fragrance, and ability to thrive in shade, Dianthus plants are a fantastic addition to any shade garden. Whether you prefer the classic beauty of Sweet William or the vibrant hues of cheddar pinks, these shade-loving flowers will bring joy and vibrancy to your outdoor space.

Hakonechloa & Carex grasses

If you’re looking to add texture and visual interest to your shade garden, Hakonechloa and Carex grasses are excellent choices. These shade-loving grasses offer unique characteristics that can enhance the overall aesthetic of your garden. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.


Hakonechloa, also known as Japanese forest grass, is a graceful and vibrant grass that thrives in shady areas. Its delicate, arching blades create a bright spot in a woodland garden or shaded corner. The foliage ranges in color from golden yellow to deep green, providing a striking contrast to larger, broad-leaved plants. With its gentle movement and flowing appearance, Hakonechloa adds a touch of elegance to any shade garden.

Carex Grasses

Carex grasses, commonly known as sedges, are another fantastic option for adding texture to your shade garden. These grasses come in a variety of colors, ranging from vibrant greens to rich burgundies and variegated patterns. Carex grasses offer unique textures, with slender blades that can be fine and wispy or broader and more robust. Their architectural form and interesting foliage add depth and dimension to shaded areas, creating a visually captivating display.

Both Hakonechloa and Carex grasses require regular watering to keep the soil consistently moist. They thrive in well-drained soil and can tolerate a variety of light conditions, from partial shade to full shade. These grasses are low-maintenance and versatile, making them suitable for container gardening, borders, or mixed plantings. Pair them with other shade-loving plants, such as ferns or hostas, to create a dynamic and enchanting shade garden.

Plant Main Features Light Requirements Watering
Hakonechloa Graceful, golden-yellow to deep green foliage Partial shade to full shade Consistently moist
Carex grasses Variegated patterns, vibrant greens to rich burgundies Partial shade to full shade Consistently moist


In conclusion, there are a variety of best planter plants for shade that can bring beauty to your space. From the vibrant foliage of Heuchera to the stunning flowers of Astilbe, these shade-loving plants are perfect for planters and containers in your garden. Whether you are into container gardening or looking to create a shade container garden, these plants will thrive with the right care.

Ferns, Solomon’s Seal, Dianthus, and grasses like Hakonechloa and Carex are also great choices for adding texture and interest to your shade garden. These plants not only tolerate shade but also add depth and dimension to your planters. With their unique features, they can transform any shaded area into a beautiful oasis.

When it comes to container gardening for shade, it’s important to provide proper care and maintenance to ensure the health and longevity of your plants. Regular watering, well-drained soil, and occasional fertilization are key to their success. By choosing shade-tolerant plants and implementing the right gardening techniques, you can create a thriving and vibrant garden in any shady corner of your outdoor space.

So, don’t let the shade limit your gardening possibilities. Explore the wide range of best planter plants for shade, experiment with different combinations, and enjoy the beauty of your shade-loving garden all year round.


Can these shade plants be grown in planters?

Yes, all the shade plants mentioned in this article can be grown in planters. They are well-suited for container gardening in shaded areas.

Do shade plants require a lot of maintenance?

No, most shade plants are low-maintenance and require little care. They are generally more tolerant of lower light conditions and do not need as much attention as sun-loving plants.

Can these shade plants tolerate cold temperatures?

Yes, many of these shade plants, such as Heuchera and Bleeding Heart, can tolerate cold temperatures. They are hardy perennials that can withstand chilly weather.

Are these shade plants resistant to deer damage?

Some of the shade plants mentioned, like Astilbe and Dianthus, are known to be deer-resistant. However, it is important to note that deer preferences can vary, so it’s always a good idea to monitor and protect your plants from browsing.

Can ferns be grown indoors?

Yes, many fern varieties can be grown indoors as houseplants. They thrive in low-light conditions and can add a touch of greenery to any indoor space.

Do Hakonechloa and Carex grasses require a lot of water?

Yes, Hakonechloa and Carex grasses require regular watering to keep the soil evenly moist. They prefer well-drained soil, so be sure not to let them sit in standing water.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for your sharing. I am worried that I lack creative ideas. It is your article that makes me full of hope. Thank you. But, I have a question, can you help me?

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