Annuals for Shade
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Shade annuals add color to break up the green in shady areas. Shade may differ in degree from “light shade” where plants receive three or four hours of morning sun; to “partial shade” where plants receive filtered but little or no direct sun; to dense shade where plants may be located under a canopy of trees, receiving no direct sunlight and low indirect light. Few annuals do well in dense shade.
Three annuals for shade are:
- Begonias (Begonia semperflorens-cultorum) Begonias are a waxy looking plant with red, white, or pink foliage. Leaves may be green or bronze. Some begonias are also sun tolerant.
- Coleus (Coleus hybridus) Coleus, now in vogue again, is noted for its striking foliage. Colors include both warm and cool colors in many variegations. Height also varies considerably.
- Impatiens (Impatiens, sultana, busy Lizzie (Impatiens wallerana) Impatiens is a top-seller. With its wide variety of colors (white, pinks, purples, deep reds, and even oranges), it can work well into many color schemes. The more recent discovery, New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) can tolerate morning sun, but does better in afternoon shade.
Three lesser known shade annuals worth trying are browalia, lobelia, and torenia. All three come in blue, a color many gardeners prize.
- Browallia (Browallia speciosa) Browallia is a tender perennial grown as an annual with flowers in white, purple or deep blue.
- Lobelia (Lobelia erinus) Lobelia is a low-growing edging plant found in shades of blue, white, and purple. It has a small, delicate bloom.
- Torenia or wishbone flower (Torenia fournieri). Torenia is another tender perennial grown as an annual that does well in semi-shade and moist soil. It makes an excellent ground-cover plant. Flowers are white or blue.
In addition to the above, many sun-lovers also do well in light shade. These include: alyssum, flowering tobacco, nasturtium, pansy, periwinkle, pinks, and salvia.
Author: Pat Lawson
Wyandotte County Extension Master Gardener
Lynn Loughary, LLoughar@oznet.ksu.edu
County Extension Agent, Horticulture
Wyandotte County, Kansas
Kansas State University Research and Extension