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13 Colorful Shade Flowers for Pots that Brighten Your Yard

By John Haryasz • Updated on 2023-10-20

Discover beautiful shade flowers for pots that will make your outdoor space brighter than ever!

When you have a garden that lacks sunlight, it can be extremely frustrating to search for flowering plants only to find that most of your favorites are not able to survive on your property. This plant selection problem is even more difficult if you don’t have much available growing space to work with.

We made this article as a way for you to solve both issues at once. The plants featured here are not only tolerant of shady conditions, but they are also small enough to grow in pots. Those two traits make the plants that you’ll soon learn about some of the best options for someone facing the duel issue of lack of sunlight and lack of growing space.

Key Takeaways

  • Shade flowers for pots are species that come from many different genera.
  • Shade flowers for pots come in many different colors.
  • Most of them grow as either annuals or perennials.
  • Shade flowers for pots are smaller than most other types of plants.
  • Flowering shade plants can have other interesting ornamental features, including great foliage.

13 Stately Shade Flowers for Pots that Make Your Yard More Regal

1. Astilbe (Astilbe)


Image credit: © Irina

Astilbe plants bloom with triangular spike-like clusters of tiny flowers that can be white or may take on varying shades of pink and purple. As is true of the rest of the plants on this list, our first entry is entirely adaptable to shade settings and is small enough to grow in a pot. However, you should also know that astilbes are incredibly versatile, meaning that they can adapt to varying degrees of sun exposure as well as different soil types. As such, the astilbe is a colorful flowering perennial planting option whether you have shade in your garden or not.

2. Begonia (Begonia)


Image credit: © sirintra

Begonias are some of the most popular flowering annual options around. They are also among the most popular plant options for small-scale container gardening. Since they are so popular, begonias come in many different varieties, each of which can feature different flower colors as well as other distinctive ornamental features. With that said, many begonias have a lovely waxy surface to either their flowers, leaves, or both. That unique texture allows begonias to add a slight glimmer to your garden during the few hours during which the sun is present and shining.

3. Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

Lamprocapnos spectabilis

Image credit: © marjancermelj

Among plants that live in the shade, as well as those that prefer partial or full sunlight, the bleeding heart plant has some of the most interestingly shaped flowers you can imagine. Each flower dangles from a graceful arching stem and has a clear heart shape and a color pattern that includes well-defined patches of white and hot pink. Along with those fantastic flowering characteristics, bleeding heart plants are also known to be some of the most shade-tolerant perennials that you can grow. In most cases, these plants also remain small enough to live in a medium-sized gardening pot.

4. Caribbean Copper Plant (Euphorbia cotinifolia)

Euphorbia cotinifolia

Image credit: © nickkurzenko

Some gardeners are more interested in adding colorful flowers to their gardens than anything else. However, there are others who recognize the fact that a plant’s foliage can be just as impressive as a lovely set of blooms. Such is the case for the Caribbean copper plant. This species is small in stature and has leaves and stems that are a dark maroon color. In contrast to those dark leaves, the flowers of the Caribbean copper plant are bright yellow and easy to see despite being on the smaller side.

5. Coral Bells (Heuchera)


Image credit: © Katarzyna

Anyone who gardens in the shade has limited growing space or experiences both of those challenges simultaneously needs to learn about the coral bells plant. This tiny plant develops clusters of leaves that cleave close to the ground, within which sprout long stems that hold the tiny bell-shaped flowers. Although this plant is often planted directly in the ground, it is so small that it can fit in just about any container. Additionally, it is a go-to small plant option for anyone who lacks sun exposure in their yard.

6. Fuchsia (Fuchsia)


Image credit: © posh

This entry on our list proves that the idea that colorful flowers only live in areas where the sun is ample is a complete myth. In fact, the fuchsia plant has some of the most spectacular flowers you can find regardless of sun exposure. Each fuchsia bloom has a unique downward-dangling shape that includes vibrant shades of deep purple and fuchsia, hence the name. Fuchsia plants are also relatively small and don’t need much sunlight to survive, which is why they have certainly earned a spot on this list.

7. Hosta (Hosta)


Image credit: © MOLLY SHANNON

Hostas are among the most popular perennial planting options for those who have shady gardens. Much of that popularity arises from the fact that hostas have large beautiful leaves that can be entirely green or show lovely variegation. However, what some people don’t recognize is that hostas also have attractive flowers that appear atop long stems and are usually light purple. But even if hostas were not flowering plants, they would remain a great option for shaded gardens thanks to their foliage characteristics alone.

8. Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana)

Impatiens walleriana

Image credit: © Emilia

Impatiens, which sometimes go by the name touch-me-not due to the fact that their seed pods can rupture upon contact, are popular plants that come in many different colors. Those incredible color options include but are not limited to white, pink, orange, red, and purple. As such, no matter what your favorite color is, you can expect to find an impatiens variety that will suit your needs. If you live in hardiness zone 10 or warmer, you will have the chance to grow your impatiens as a perennial plant. However, if you live in a colder region, your impatiens will need to be treated as annuals.

9. Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)

Arisaema triphyllum

Image credit: © F_studio

The jack-in-the-pulpit plant builds on the notion that plants with some of the most intriguing flower shapes happen to be those that can grow well in the shade. In fact, the shape of a jack-in-the-pulpit’s flowers is so unique that they are difficult to describe in words alone. Despite that, we’ll try. Each jack-in-the-pulpit flower starts as a tube-like shape that emerges from the end of a vertical stem and continues to rise vertically. As it rises, the tube widens before altering its shape into a dramatic curving flap that covers the tube’s opening. All the while, the interior of the tube shows a deep purple color.

10. Lungwort (Pulmonaria)


Image credit: © lms_lms

Admittedly, the lungwort plant gets more acclaim within the gardening community due to its leaves, which are primarily a light green but feature eye-catching spots of accent colors. The other most well-known trait of the lungwort plant is the fact that this species is ideal for the shadier areas of your yard. Lungwort plants offer further value thanks to their small size and their underrated flowers. Those blooms can come in varying colors, including pink, purple, and blue, and they typically have a dangling trumpet shape while forming small colorful clusters.

11. Pansy (Viola × wittrockiana)

Viola × wittrockiana

Image credit: © anjokan

The chances are that if you are at all familiar with annual gardening, you have already heard about pansies. Pansies are some of the most popular annual flowering plants to grow either directly in the ground or in a garden pot. These plants also have incredible flowers that are more colorful than you would imagine in the case that you have never seen one before. Each flower can carry multiple hues, at times three or more, each of which is incredibly rich and vibrant. Such floral colors include purple, yellow, red, and much more.

12. Primrose (Primula vulgaris)

Primula vulgaris

Image credit: © motorolka

Primrose plants are another common plant option that can provide colorful flowers of many different shades that appear relatively early in the spring season. Additionally, you’ll find that most primrose plants are highly adaptable to different growing conditions. In fact, as long as you keep up with basic maintenance, you can expect your primrose to remain healthy and vigorous even if your growing location is in the shade. As you learn more about primrose plants, you’ll learn that they come in many different varieties, including separate species. But with that said, the variety that we are listing here is one of the most popular and viable options for those with shaded gardens.

13. Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

Lobularia maritima

Image credit: © rostovdriver

The final entry on our list is the sweet alyssum plant, an annual plant species that create pleasant little mounds of vegetation that rise just a few inches above the soil’s surface. Those mounds consist of bright green stems and leaves that serve as a backdrop to the many white flowers that this plant produces. Fortunately, sweet alyssum plants prove to be very easy to care for as they are not only adaptable to different degrees of sun exposure, but they are also adaptable to a wide range of soil types, which means that finding a growing location for the sweet alyssum plant is quite easy to do.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shade Flowers for Pots

Do Begonias Like Shade?

While there are many flowering potted plants that thrive in full sunlight, there are plenty of options for those who have shade in their yards as well. One of the most colorful of those shade-loving options is the begonia plant. Begonias are tolerant of many levels of sun exposure, but shade is a requirement. In fact, begonias are often more likely to suffer from a lack of shade than a lack of sunlight.

What is a Good Flower for Pots?

There are many excellent flowering plant options for pots. The key to choosing the best one for you is knowing the characteristics you desire. For example, if you want a flowering potted plant that adds interest all year, you’ll want to choose a perennial rather than an annual. Likewise, the plants that will perform best in your pots are those with a mature size that will fit well in the space your pot provides.

How Do You Fill a Large Planter?

When selecting plants for a large planter, you can either select a few larger plants, depending on how much space you have, or you can choose to fill your large planter with many smaller plants. If you choose the second route, you should take care to select plants that can thrive in similar locations while also complementing each other aesthetically. However, regardless of which planting approach you choose, it is always best to make sure that your planter provides enough space for the plants you intend to raise.

Which Hostas Are Best for Full Shade?

Hostas are incredibly popular, especially among those who want to enliven the shadier parts of their gardens. That popularity has led to many cultivated varieties of the hosta plant. While these varieties can vary in appearance, they tend to have similar growing requirements. For example, nearly all hostas can grow well in areas that are relatively shady. Based on that fact, it is extremely difficult to point out a single hosta variety as being best for full shade. Instead, you can rest assured that nearly any hosta you choose will thrive in such settings.

What Flowers Last the Longest in Pots?

Generally, the flowers that last longest in pots are those that have plenty of room to expand their roots, access to soil that drains effectively, and exposure to the growing conditions that they prefer most. However, there are also differences in the length of bloom time between different species. For instance, zinnias, geraniums, and chrysanthemums prove to be some of the longest-lasting flowers you can plant in pots.

13 Inspiring Shade Flowers for Pots

The plants that we have included here are incredibly beautiful and as ornamentally valuable as any other flowering varieties, regardless of sunlight preference. So, next time you are dealing with the issue of limited sunlight and growing space, rest assured that there is a plant in this article that will serve you well.

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