An ongoing series of container recipes

Story and Photos by Barbara Wise

Finding colorful plants that like shady locations can be a challenge. There are some plants, though, that always fit the bill when creating a shade-loving container garden.

We start at the top with a coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides). Flanking the coleus are two Impatiens. Sometimes these plants are called busy Lizzie because they reseed all over the place. This is due to their ability to shoot seeds, a ballistic form of dispersal known as explosive dehiscence. 

In the middle of this pot is coral bells (Heuchera spp.). There are many varieties of this versatile plant in colors ranging from deep purple to pale chartreuse. The leaves typically have a visible pattern and depending upon the variety, flowers will be borne on tall stalks at different times of the growing season. But heucheras are usually grown for their impressive foliage rather than their flowers, so enjoy this plant as filler in your container or garden. 

The plant in front is Diamond Frost euphorbia (Euphorbia hypericifolia ‘Innuephe’). I love this plant and use it everywhere because it grows in any location from full sun to shade. It is drought resistant, tolerant of sandy soils, and is noted for its nonstop blooms. It also gracefully trails out of a container giving it a delicate look. Since it is a euphorbia, broken stems may “bleed” a milky sap that irritates some people’s skin. But it is both rabbit and deer resistant and is such a lovely plant that I respect its danger and use it anyway.

Shade is difficult to plan for, but these plants fit the bill.

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