Container Gardening in the Shade

How to Create a Successful Shade Garden

Perhaps when you were landscaping your yard you wanted to create a lot of shade to offset hot summer days. Now that your trees are mature and providing that much-needed shade, you might not know what your options are for planting flowers or a vegetable garden in the shade. Is container gardening in the shade an option for vegetables? Can a flower garden grow in the shade? The answer to both of these questions is yes. A container garden, whether planted with flowers or vegetables, can be successful in the shade if you take some time to learn what to plant and what containers to use.

Planting Flowers in Your Container Garden
There are many flowers that will do well in a container garden in the shade. Some of the more popular container flowers include:

  • Fuchsia. These showy blooms do fantastic in the shade and will continue to flower throughout the entire summer. You can even keep them alive by bringing your container inside the house when the weather starts to cool off. Fuchsias are generally used in hanging baskets, but can be planted in many other types of containers.
  • Begonia. Available in many different colors, shapes and textures, begonias are easy to grow in a shade garden. Whether you like traditional varieties or something that’s showier, you’ll find begonias to suit your style. Some begonias thrive in full shade while others need filtered shade.
  • Coleus. This shade-loving plant is valued for its colorful leaves, not its bloom. Because of the many colors and leaf shapes available, you can have a lot of fun combining coleus with other plants in your container garden.

Growing Vegetables in Your Container Garden
You can’t plant just any vegetable in a container garden in the shade. Tomatoes, for example, need almost a full day of sunlight in order to really thrive so they would not grow in a shade garden. Corn will not be able to grow to its full potential if it’s planted in a container. The following vegetables, however, tend to do just fine in a container garden in the shade.

  • Scallions
  • Beans
  • Radishes
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach

Containers for Your Shade Garden
When it comes to which containers you’re going to use for your shade garden, first consider what you are planting. Some containers are better for flowers and some are better for vegetables. Some plants might need a deeper container so that the roots can reach their full potential. Others might need a larger area to spread. As you consider what containers to use for your garden, keep in mind some of the following options:

Jute Planters
A jute planter is a great container for plants that require good drainage. Fuchsias and begonias might do well in a jute planter because they don’t need to be drenched, but just kept moist. Jute planters come in different shapes and sizes and can be stored and reused easily.

Raised Planter Boxes
A raised planter box is tall enough that you can get your gardening done without having to get down on your knees. This is great for keeping your clothes clean and protecting your knees and back. These planter boxes are decorative so you can set up your container garden in many areas of your yard.

As you can see, there are many options for the homeowner with a lot of shade. If you have a lot of shade trees, there’s absolutely no reason why you cannot enjoy having a garden too.

For more information on growing a container garden, including details on what type of soil to use, see our article on Container Garden Ideas.

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