Garden Design | Shade Garden Solutions | Slideshow | Spring Planted Bulbs

Shade Planter Ideas for Summer Color!


If you’re like me you spend a lot of time in your backyard in summer. When I am not working or out hiking the trails with my dogs, you are likely to find me chilling in the shade in my backyard. Finding ways to jazz up your shady backyard isn’t always as easy as it is with fully sunny yards. However, there are plenty of perennials and bulbs that thrive in backyards with shade to part shade. Depending on your yard you may have a fully shaded yard, some areas of shade, or even a shaded patio you are trying to jazz up. Let’s delve into some backyard shade planter ideas to jazz up the pots and planters that spend their days in the shade.

Shade Garden Planter Ideas

Mixing perennials and annual flower bulbs is a great way to add an interesting dimension to your container garden plantings. Adding perennials to container gardens whether they are in sun or the shade expands the choice of plants to select from as well. Use foliage perennials like hosta with flowering bulbs like begonias for a unique and long-lasting shady container garden.

Shade Planter Combination 1

Arrange the 3 begonias in the front of the planter spaced 6-8” from each other. Place the Big Daddy Hosta in the back of the planter centered between the 2 outside hosta.

Shade Planter Combination 2

Plant the Goldie’s Giant Wood Fern in the center of the planter; this will be your vertical accent. Place the 5 Cascade Mix Begonias on the outer edge, leaving 2” space from the edge of the planter. Space the begonia tubers 4-6” from each other depending on the planter.

Shade Planter Combination 3

The dark purple leaves of the Dark Leaf Red Begonia contrast the silver foliage of Alexander’s Great Brunnera. While Alexander’s Great Brunnera will eventually grow taller than the begonias, the brunnera in this combination should be planted in the front. It will take the brunnera longer to reach a mature height; therefore while in the planter this summer they will remain the shorter of the 2 plants.

Plant 3 Dark Leaf Red Begonia in a staggered pattern 4-6” from each other in the back of the planter. The brunnera should be spaced in a staggered pattern 4-6” from each other in the front of the planter.  If you would like a trailing plant in this combination find Creeping Jenny, also known as Moneywort at a local garden store and plant that in front as a trailing accent plant.

Shade Planter Combination 4

This is a fun and colorful combination of foliage and flowers. If you are looking for warm colors that will help brighten up a shady garden area this combination will do the trick.
Group the three Apricot and Scarlet Picotee Begonias together in the front right side of the planter. Space the begonia tubers 4-6″ apart from each other. Plant the Color Festival Hosta towards the left side filling in the remaining space from front to back. Space the hosta 4-6″ from each other. While they typically require further spacing than this if planted in the ground, since they are planted in pots it is ok if they are closer together.

Shade Planter Combination 5

If you have a smaller planter that needs to be filled, this combination is perfect. In a 10-12″ diameter planter of your choosing plant 3 Blue Mouse Ears Hosta towards the front. In the back part of the planter add 1 Santa Barbara Begonia. The pendulous blooms are unique on this 12″ tall begonia. The Blue Mouse Ears Hosta is quite adorable. This planter would be perfect on a shady patio!

Shade Container Inspiration

The fun thing about planting in pots is that the combinations and creativity options are boundless! You can always move the containers if needed. Mixing perennials with flower bulbs and annuals expand the range of flowers and foliage in your container garden. Plant the perennials that were in the container into the ground in late summer to early fall. This helps to get double use out of the plants in your container garden.

With all of the suggestions above they can be modified to fit the container size you have. If your containers are larger or smaller than the suggestions, add more or fewer plants. But, know that the color combinations and textures offered in these combinations will look dazzling in your shade garden.



Need Gardening Help?

If you need any help with gardening or if you have plant-related questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to Jenny San Filippo. She can provide you with the knowledge and tools needed to succeed with your next project!

Contact Jenny

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