Just because your patio or porch is in the shade, doesn’t mean you can’t have gorgeous plants. Plenty of beautiful plants with amazing texture and color thrive in less than full sun areas. Check out these top plants for shaded patios and porches and start planning your space now.
Some of my favorite plant options to use for shade include Impatiens, Begonias, Hostas, and Caladium just to name a few. And it doesn’t matter if you’re working with a large outdoor space or a tiny patio, many of these choices are suitable for either. Container gardening is perfect for patios and porches.
Plants for Shaded Patios or Porches
So let’s start with containers. Because most often, porches and patios are better suited for container gardening.
Choose a large enough container that you can add a few varieties if possible.
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And now the fun part. The plants! And be sure to check your plant hardiness Zone here before you start.
Colorful Plants that Thrive in Shaded Patios
Impatiens are some of my all-time favorite plants to use in shaded areas. Not only do they thrive in shade, but they are available in a multitude of colors. Pink, red, violet, white, and orange are some of the most common colors.
There are several varieties of Impatiens as well including Walleriana which is one of the more common types you’ll find at big garden centers. Newer versions include Sunpatiens which can tolerate more sun and New Guinea which has a bit more tropical-looking foliage.
However, you can’t go wrong no matter what kind you choose.
For reference, these are primarily grown as annuals in Zones 2-9 but can be perennial plants in 10-11 zones.
Another reason these are favorite plants for shaded patios and porches is the affordability. You can find a pack of 6-24 plants at your local garden center for between $3 and $12.
You don’t need a lot of investment to get started with these – throw a few into a container and watch them thrive. Give them plenty of water (you’ll easily be able to tell when they are thirsty and start drooping).
Believe it or not, Hostas make a great choice for plants for shaded patios. People most often think of Hostas as growing in the ground, which is the most common option, but you can absolutely grow these in containers.
Hostas will grow in zones 3-9.
Beware that they are a tasty deer snack, which also makes them ideal for your porches or patios where deer might not want to venture to.
There are many varieties of Hosta plants, but typically the darker foliage options do better in the shade. The brighter versions might require more sunlight to thrive.
For ideal growth, choose a larger planter 15-20″ in diameter with proper drainage holes. You don’t want the roots soggy. Use a quality potting mix and pick up a Hosta from a local garden center. Give it plenty of room in the container away from the sides.
You can always add in additional plants like Impatiens for more visual interest and color.
Begonias are an amazing choice for shade areas. Not only do they add gorgeous color with the blooms, but they bloom continuously.
These are available in shades of red, white, pink, yellow, and apricot often with darker waxy foliage.
Typically, Begonias are best suited for Zones 6-10.
They will thrive as annuals in nearly every planting zone. They prefer moist well-drained soil and can grow between 6 and 24″ tall depending on the variety. “Charm Begonias” are a great option for shade and containers.
If you haven’t tried Coleus, you’re missing out. This is one of the most striking plants to add to your containers. Of course, you can grow them in the ground and they will thrive beyond expectation as well.
But, choose a decent-sized pot, add Coleus and you can have a show stopper of a plant on your covered porch or patio. They come in several varieties and colors and will grow between 6-36″ tall/wide.
Coleus are perennial plants but only in Zones 10-11 – everywhere else will be grown as annuals as they just can’t take the cold.
You can find a wide variety of foliage colors with this plant as well. Look for beautiful hues of green, purple, and chartreuse to add to your containers.
If you live in a cooler climate, Fuschia will be a great option for your containers on patios or porches. They don’t love the temps getting much above 80 degrees F though, so for us deep South folks, these may not bloom.
Fuschia plants are perennials, but depending on your climate, they may grow as annuals.
They are best suited for Zones 6-9, again depending on the temps as to whether they return year after year.
They love the partial shade and will grow as gorgeous trailing stems of purple, yellow, white, or pink with almost ruffled-looking blooms.
Ferns are an outstanding choice for shaded porches and patios. If they can thrive on a shaded forest floor, you can grow them on your covered patio.
Ideally, you’ll need a large tall planter or a hanging basket to give them room to grow. It doesn’t even matter what your basket looks like because it will soon be covered with beautiful green fern foliage.
Ferns can grow in Zones 4-10.
They do prefer organic matter in their soil and you can always buy soil specifically for Ferns such as this one. Keep the soil moist but well-drained for best results.
Mint is an excellent shade herb option that is best suited for containers unless you want it taking over your whole yard. And how perfect to have a mint plant to snip off a few leaves for drinks or food dishes.
Wait until after the last frost to plant your mint. Add organic potting mix combined with a bit of sandy material to improve drainage.
Mint plants can grow in Zones 3-11.
They will typically grow between 1 and 2 feet tall and will grow quickly in about 2 months. And you’ll have no shortage over the growing season.
Hellebores are an interesting choice in that they have blooms in later winter and early spring. So when most plants are dormant, these will shine.
These are beautiful plants with green foliage and an almost upside-down bowl-shaped bloom.
But, they need plenty of room to grow downward roots and do not like to be transplanted. So choose a large pot to begin with and plan to leave them be.
Hellebores will grow in Zones 4-9
With proper care, they will thrive for years on your shaded patio. Find them in shades of purple, white, pink, yellow, and green.
Hopefully you have some great ideas now about plants for shaded patios and porches. There are so many interesting options and it doesn’t take much.
You don’t have to be an expert gardener to have a few plants. It’s one of the most budget-friendly ways to decorate because a little goes a long way.
Even the smallest patio space will look amazing with a corner planter or two!