Ideas for Shady Container Gardening

by Fern on July 7, 2008

in Gardening in the Shade

A common problem that many small space gardeners face is shade. Maybe your balcony is on the shady side of the building, or the building next door is so close that it casts a shadow over your entire balcony for most of the day. Or, your garden might be like my brother’s–it’s so small that it’s own walls cast a shadow over most of the garden.

Photo by edgeplot

Luckily these days there are a lot of stunning plants that thrive in the shade. Another bonus to having a shady garden is that you can make use of the tons of cool, modern, metal pots that are all the rage right now. Since your garden doesn’t bake in the sun all day, the metal pots won’t cause your plants’ roots to overheat.

All of these plants are gorgeous, shade lovers, and do well in containers:

  1. Japanese Painted Fern, “Silver Falls” – Silvery leaves with raspberry colored stems, what’s not to love? The coloring gets even more intense as the temperature heats up.
  2. Acer palmatum Atropurpureum – A small Japanese Maple with deep wine-colored leaves. It’s pest resistant and isn’t bothered by a little pollution.
  3. Fishnet Stockings Coleus – The name sounds a little scandalous for a plant until you see this coleus. It has magenta veining against a lime backdrop. Yep. Definitely deserves the name.
  4. Begonia “Escargot” – Another shade lover with a great name. The swirly/spiral leaves make the white flowers on this plant almost superfluous.
  5. Alocasia Cuprea – Dinner plate sized, metal leaves with deep ridges that are purplish on the underside. Need I say more?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

bg July 8, 2008 at 11:20 am

Hi Fern, good idea to start a blog for small space. I myself live in a condo and i do container gardening on my deck. I will definately try the small japanese maple next year. My deck is actually very sunny and my plants get baked in the sun. Any suggestions for sun loving plants?


Fern July 8, 2008 at 1:43 pm

bg–I do have a post planned on sun lovers. I have a similar problem as you do. My front porch bakes in the sun all afternoon. Among other things, sunny areas are really good for growing many vegetables and herbs, if you’re in to that thing. I’m currently growing a type of basil (I can’t remember the name exactly) that has gorgeous, deep purple new foliage and loves all the sun it gets next to my front door.


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