Shade Plants for Containers

Ideas and suggestions for shade plants for containers. Includes annuals such as new guinea impatiens, begonias, ferns and more.

container plants for shade covered front porch

It’s porch season. The leaves are coming out on the trees, the days are getting longer, and our front porch is decked out with comfortable decor along with flowering plants. Finally! Flowers on covered porches can be tricky because there may or may not be sunny spots. Choosing shade plants for containers is easy if you keep in mind how much sun your porch actually gets. Everything I have learned about gardening has been a result of trying all sorts of plants and hoping for the best. More plants have died than have lived! One of the biggest lessons has been learning where to place plants so they get the correct amount of sun. After years and years of trying, I think I finally have is figured out! 

Here are my recommendations for shade plants for containers, which are perfect for a porch area. I’ve broken them down into two categories. 

Shade Plants for Containers: Annuals that thrive in partial shade

  • impatiens (single & double)
  • begonia
  • coleus
  • lobelia (pictured below in the square planters)
  • sweet alyssum
  • salvia

shade plants for containers lobelia in black planters

lobelia in black planter

Shade Plants for Containers: Annuals that thrive in full shade

  • impatiens (single & double)
  • begonia
  • coleus
  • fern
  • ivy
  • new guinea impatiens

You’ll notice that there are a few annuals that appear on both lists…so if you aren’t totally sure how much sun your space gets, choose one of those.

New Guinea Impatiens

Pictured below are some beautiful new guinea impatiens I got at my local Lowe’s. If you want showy blooms on your porch or a shaded area, this plant is for you. Believe it or not, these plants really did originate on the island of New Guinea. They have a tropical look and the continuous blooms are wonderful. In Hawaii and the most southern tip of Florida, new guinea impatiens are considered perennials. They like to be watered at the roots and will be even lovelier if you pinch off the spent blooms. My goal is to keep these beauties blooming all summer, so time will tell if I’m up to the challenge!

new guinea impatiens on front porch

*Affiliate links included. Click HERE for my disclosure statement.

The blue striped fabric basket is from T.J. Maxx. Here are some other sources:

new guinea impatiens in striped fabric bucket

new guinea impatiens in enamelware pail

Now it’s time to send you
along to my friends for
even more inspiration!


shade plants for containers outdoor plants flowers

Satori Design for Living | On Sutton Place | City Farmhouse | Maison de Pax

shade plants for containers outdoor plants flowers

The DIY Mommy | A Pretty Life | Vinyet Etc. | Life On Virginia Street

shade plants for containers outdoor plants flowers

The Happy Housie | Clean and Scentsible | Casa Watkins Living 
Postcards from the Ridge | Finding Silver Pennies

Subscribe to On Sutton Place


  1. I just made the Oatmeal Cake Recipe. It was delicious and so easy. We enjoyed it right out of the oven. Thanks for this quick and easy recipe.

  2. The color combination is just
    Thank you fir sharing your ideas!

  3. After reading this blog I went out to my local nursery and bought some white new guinea impations, some blue wave torenia, and some asparagus fern for my shade containers on my front porch. Just hope they look as pretty as your planters .Thanks for the idea for this year.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Kathy! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me this. It completely made my day. I know your porch will be beautiful!

  4. Ann, I love your porch. So pretty and Springy!! Could you tell me what color paint you have on your front door, please. It looks like the shade of blue I have been looking for. Thank you so much!!

  5. Mary Huddleston says:

    Peonies: you know the saying about new or moved plants.
    “The first year they sleep, The second year they creep, The third year they leap!” Expect to be amazed!

  6. Shirley Graham says:

    Thanks Ann! I’m ready for plants on the deck. Every thing is blooming for Mother’s Day ! Enjoy!

  7. Is the brick on your home red or more orange red? I have a similar color scheme and I like how you have incorporated grey and white with it.

  8. Lorri Rauscher says:

    Hi Ann,
    Your porch looks lovely…as usual…I always love looking at your ideas.💗
    My question is…When I put out my lanterns I get rust spots on my concrete. Do you put something under the lanterns so they dont make rust marks? Has this happened to you? Your garden looks lovely as well. Love yr rock border.😊

  9. Barbara Macey says:

    For some reason I had lost you for a long time & one morning when I opened my computer, Taa Daa, there you were. Hooray.
    My question:
    I am in love with the nautical looking purse hanging over the newel post. Did you buy it or make it. Love it.
    Thank you ever so much.

  10. Stephanie @ Casa Watkins Living says:

    It rained all last week for me. I’m so thrilled to see a beautiful summer porch! Gorgeous styling!

  11. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Ann, your front porch is beautiful! Just love all your flowers! Hope you and your hubby get time to just sit and relax in your lovely rocking chairs! Thanks, too, for your info on the shade plants. This is so helpful. Have a nice MOTHER’S DAY! Blessings!

  12. I so wish I had a porch, but have to make do with just a covered landing at the top of the front steps. I am always inspired by your creative arrangements!

    I’d like to comment on your sweet alyssum suggestion. I made liberal use of them on my back deck last year as they bloom for such a long time into the fall, and are so reliable. I’d used them before, but never so many. BIG mistake! By mid July the flies on the deck were driving us mad and getting into the house every time the screen opened. Apparently alyssum attracts flies. Who knew? I will stick them in the garden beds across the yard this year, but never again close to the house. I hope this might prevent someone else from making the same mistake. This year, only fly repelling herbs will be planted near the door.

    I always look forward to your posts Anne. Thanks!

  13. Jennifer Lifford says:

    Beautiful! I just love your patio and the flowers make the perfect addition! That blue basket is adorable too.

  14. I love your porch & wish I could have the beautiful plants (even fakes) that you have, but the squirrels have already made short work of every pot on my porch. So, this year it will be empty pots for me. 😢

  15. Jo-Anna Rooney says:

    My front porch is also in the shade, so I’m always looking for planting ideas for this space. I love your planters full of the lobelia…they make such a nice statement!

  16. Robin Gregg says:

    Very beautiful and a clean look. Just needs some people sitting in those chairs.

  17. I also have shade in the front of the house and love using impatiens and ferns. Beautiful photographs, Ann xx

  18. Love the porch, the blue and white is so refreshing. Something different and original, and a class act, as usual Anne! Thank you for the list of shade plants too. I appreciate the effort you put into your posts to make your ideas practical for us.

  19. Laurie@VinyetEtc says:

    I’ve pinned and scheduled this for my next trip to the nursery, thanks so much for sharing that breakdown, so handy! Your porch is beautiful, I love the blue and white colour combo, it’s so fresh and clean! <3

  20. Your front porch looks so pretty! Love the blue and white decor and the planters are gorgeous. Well done!

  21. When I lived in New Jersey,I used lots of geraniums and hostas around my house.Now that I am living in Florida,it’s very difficult to have anything that flowers.The deer and other animals eat everything.I have taken to spraying the plants with repellent, seems to help.Right now I have an hibiscus tree and fern on my front porch.Your porch looks so cute and summery, love it.

  22. Lory at Designthusiasm says:

    Ann, this is so timely! I was just looking at little blue plants like the lobelia yesterday and wondering what they are. And here they are on your lovely porch today!! How lovely and restful this spot looks… :-) Thanks so much for sharing this info!

  23. Kathy Menold says:

    Just bought two rockers for porch and my husband and I love to sit out there in the morning and evening with our two dogs.This time of year is so beautiful. I use Hostas, Ferns and coral bells in my planters on either side of the front door with Begonias and Impatience for color in smaller pots.It is pretty and low maintenance. Hung a wind chime for music and a hummingbird feeder in the nearby garden for entertainment and it’s a little bit of heaven., Thanks Ann for all your ideas for decor.

  24. Thanks so much, Ann, for your inspirational ideas using planters at the front door! I started using your idea last fall after my annuals in the urns finished their summer season. I used fall wreaths with pumpkins, Christmas wreaths with red lanterns and during this long transitional time of winter in upstate NY, I have been using artifial boxwreaths with a large sphere in each urn. And now I will be finishing the cycle with annuals once again. I never used to keep the urns out all year. My front door has changed from drab to fab! Thank you!

  25. Donna Marie says:

    As always, a lovely porch!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *