Do you have a shady spot that needs an injection of colour and greenery? It seems like all of the pretty colourful flowers need full sun. But you can still have beautiful and colourful planters in the shade too. You just need to choose the right plants, and before you know it you will have it made in the shade 🙂 with your fabulous shade planters.
As you will see, I managed to insert a little bit of bling into my planters, even though nobody knows it’s there!
The first year I made planters for my very shady front porch, I included some more sun loving plants like petunias. And although the petunias did okay they didn’t really perform like they would in the sun. So, for these ones, I decided to forgo petunias in favour of more shade loving annuals.
Here are all of the supplies that you will need for this project
An assortment of annuals, these are the ones that I used for these shade planters
Sweet Potato Vine
How I put some bling in my pots
Okay, this is kind of a funny story. Last year, I asked Greg if he would drill some holes in the bottom of my planter urns, because at one point they were getting water-logged on the bottom, and I wanted them to be able to drain. And this is where he drilled the holes…Ummmm,I meant the bottom of the pots – sigh.
So in order to remedy this situation, I decided to glue something to the inside of the planter, so that it didn’t leak dirty water down the front of my planters. I had some leftover iridescent stones in my pocket from. a recent project, and so, I just hot glued these onto the inside of the planter to seal up the holes. So, there are a bunch of pretty iridescent stones on the inside of one of my shade planters.
Lesson: When giving instructions to men, be specific!!
The method that I use is what’s known as the thrill, fill, spill method. If you are not familiar with this approach it igoes like this:
Thrill: This is your upright planting that forms the top of your planter, It should be showy
I used fuchsia and coleus for my thrill.
Spill: this is your trailing components that make your planters overflow
I went with a lot of spill: trailing begonia, lobelia and sweet potato vine
Fill: is the portion that fills out in between the top and bottom.
For fill I went with begonias (I love yellow begonias) and verbena
You can have one plant type for each category, or you can add in multiple types of plants for all categories.
Here is how I put my pots together. I layout the order /arrangement/ of my plants prior to putting them in the soil. I had two each of the sweet potato vine and begonias, Only one each of fuchsia , coleus and verbena and 3 of lobelia. So, I mainly try to keep things balanced by keeping the sweet potato vine and begonias opposite each other in the shade planters. The coleus and verbena were also opposite with the lobelia tucked in at strategic locations around the planter.
I fill the bottom of my pots with nice fresh Miracle-Gro Potting Soil and then I take the plants out fo their containers and place then in the planter, as I had them laid out on the ground, starting in the centre and working my way around the planter. Then when all of the annuals are in the urn, I fill in all of the spaces between the plants with more soil, making sure to tuck it in really well in between and around the edges. Then I move it into it’s location, which in my case, is on either side of my front door. And the final step is to give it a good water.
Tips and Tricks
Choose plants that are shade tolerant
Turn your planters so that they grow evenly
Use fertilizer for larger and more prolific blooms
Deadhead your flowers and they will produce longer and stronger
What Worked and what Didn’t
Every year I get a little bit closer to the perfect planter. Things that work really well I continue to use, such as sweet potato vine, which just gives the most amazing cascading green. I also really loved the trailing begonias, and will probably incorporate these again. I think that the yellow begonias got a bit lost amongst all the other flowers. In future I might just do a couple of hanging baskets with these begonias, so they get to shine all on their own.
Where I keep failing on these planters is with my thrill portion.The first year I used cherry sparkler fountain grass for my thrill, and it was not a shade tolerant plant, and it pretty much got overrun up by the rest of the plants. I just really didn’t do well in the shade. And for these ones the fuchsia also got a bit overwhelmed by the other plants. I think I will try ferns the next time.
And let’s be clear, it’s not like these shade planters were any kind of a failure, it’s really just a matter of tweaking them until I get all of the components working like I want them to. Which really, is part of the fun don’t you think? So, here is what the planters looked like in their progression
More to come
In addition to my front porch shade planters, I’m adding a bunch of planters to my back yard, so I’ll see you next year with all of the results and recommendations. Here’s a little peak at my back yard. I think I have room for a few more flowers don’t you?
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