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Guide to Flowering Annuals that Thrive in the Shade

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If you have a yard without a lot of sun it can be hard to find plants that will give you color all summer long, but we have a guide to flowering annuals that thrive in the shade. There are a wide variety of annuals that prefer the shade and if they are planted together will give you continuous color all summer long. They can be planted anywhere that you don't receive much light, such as along walls of houses or in flower beds that are shaded by trees.

Another problem that can come with planting in the shade is inadequate amounts of water.  If there is a large tree canopy or the roof of your house hanging over the garden bed the rain may completely miss the plants underneath them.  It is important to water these areas so that the plants will remain healthy.  If the plants get an inch of water per week they usually will do well.

Most annuals that like the shade also like a well-drained, fertile soil.  To help your plants thrive, add organic material to your soil prior to planting them.  Fertilizing a few times throughout the summer will also help the plants.

When planting annuals in a shady spot it is a good idea to use plants that are already started rather than directly sowing their seeds in to the ground. Our growing season is fairly short and by the time the plant is old enough to start blooming, the season is almost over. Plants can be either started from seed in the house and then transplanted when warm enough or they can be bought as small plants and put directly outside.

Annuals that like shade:

  • Impatiens: These plants like the shade and also bloom all summer long.  They come in a variety of colors and sizes.
  • Wax Begonia: These plants come in a variety of flower colors, they also can have bronze leaves. This is also a good plant to put into containers.
  • Coleus: These plants are grown for their bright foliage colors. They come in a wide range of leaf shapes also. Their flowers aren't generally attractive so they can be pinched off to encourage the plant to fill out more.
  • Torenia: These plants bloom most of the summer and have small flowers that come in shades of purple, pink, and white. This plant is often called the wishbone flower.
  • Mimulus: This plant is known as monkey flower, it likes very wet shady areas. This plant comes in shades of yellow, red, and orange.