Annuals for Shade

Types of Annual Flowers to Plant in Low Light

Annuals for shade is a list of the best types of annual flowers to plant in shady annual flower beds. Easy-to-grow shade annuals to illuminate the dim corners of your garden landscape design.

Annuals for shade, Lela's impatiens.

My neighbor's impatiens enjoy the dappled shade cast by my oak tree.

The other plants on display in her side yard include spider plants and Gerbera daisies.

The blue-flowered plant on the corner is Clerodendrum ugandense 'Blue Butterfly', a tender perennial shrub that thrives in bright shade and moist soil.

Calibrachoa - Superbells ® Pink

Calibrachoa - Superbells ® Blue

Sweet Potato Vine - Blackie

The word shade covers a variety of lighting conditions. From the high shade under tall deciduous trees to the dense shade under some broad-leaved evergreens that blocks nearly every ray of sun.

Most flowering annuals need some light to bloom and will not perform well in total shade. Foliage plants are a better choice in these areas.

Torenia - Catalina® Midnight Blue

Torenia - Catalina® Pink

Torenia - Summer Wave ® Blue

Very few types of annual flowers will bloom as heavily when planted in shade as they will in the sun. If, after planting your annual flower beds, you are not satisfied with the performance of your plants; remove some of the lower branches of the trees which are casting the shade.

Sweet Potato Vine - Margarita

Verbena 'Lanai Blush White'

Verbena Lanai Royal Purple

You may be pleasantly surprised at how much more light doing this alone will admit into the planting area. If you want more light, try thinning some of the upper branches as well.

Another solution is to add a mulch of white pebbles around the annual flower beds. The stones will reflect light back into the bed.

If your annual flower plants are near a dark fence or wall, paint it white to increase the reflected light.

Caring for Shade Annuals

Impatiens share the shade with variegated bromeliads at Leu Gardens in Orlando, FL.

Heavy feeding will not compensate for lack of light.

Plants growing in dim conditions need less fertilizer than plants growing in bright light. The same goes for water.

The only exception to this is if you are growing annual flowers near mature trees and shrubs. In this situation, the small annuals must compete with the larger root systems of the established trees and shrubs for food and water.

This is a fight they will surely lose so give them extra fertilizer and water in this instance.

Types of Annual Flowers to
Grow in Shade

Egyptian star clusters (pentas) make their bed beneath a tree.

The star flowers are sharing their shady abode with bromeliads which, though not annuals, are often planted under--or even on (their roots will adhere to the bark)--trees here in Florida.

Penta - Butterfly Red

Penta - Butterfly Deep Pink

List of Annuals for Shade:


Impatiens - Rockapulco White

Impatiens - Rockapulco Purple

Impatiens, sometimes called Busy Lizzys, are colorful, easy to grow, and they are one of the few annuals that will bloom profusely in the shade.

See the Unusual Impatiens You Can Grow from Seed Here

Dianthus chinensis

Dianthus chinensis is the china pink Dianthus that is sold as an annual bedding plant in the garden centers each spring. It is actually perennial, only unreliably so, in zones 4-11.

Oxalis triangularis 'Purple Shamrock'

Oxalis - Strawberry

Best Price on Purple Oxalis

Shamrock - Charmed® Wine

Plant 'Charmed Wine' in moist shade and feed it heavily and frequently.  It can also be grown in containers indoors or out.

Unlike 'Charmed Wine' which is grown for its dramatic foliage, Oxalis 'Strawberry' is coveted for its colorful blooms.  The pink flowers appear atop foot tall mounds of bright green leaves and repeat throughout the growing season.

Wax Begonias

Pink wax begonias image.

The wax begonia flowers in a range of colors from white to scarlet. Its foliage may be bright green, dark green or burgundy.

Both the blooms and the leaves have an attractive metallic shimmer when viewed up close so consider using them in color bowls on your outdoor tables where this feature is sure to be appreciated.

These annuals for shade need consistent moisture and soil that drains perfectly.

Grow the Stunning Begonia 'Dragon Wing' from Seed!

Begonia - Dragon Wing Red

Begonia - Nonstop® Mocca Yellow

Begonia - Dragon Wing Pink


Coleus - Kingswood Torch

'Dipt in Wine' Coleus

Coleus - Sedona

Although some of the newer Coleus hybrids can tolerate direct sun, most cultivars will give their best performance when kept moist and shaded.

The darker leaf colors make better annuals for shade than the lighter, brighter selections which need more light to maintain their intense hues.

Related Pages:

Easy Annuals for Sun

The Best Shade Loving Perennial Plants

Tips for Designing Shade Perennial Gardens

Go from Annuals for Shade back to a List of Annual Plants

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