Impatiens (100969 bytes)

Selecting Annual Plants for Shady Areas

By Steve Cramer, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, Horticulture

If you are looking for annuals that will do well in shady areas, look no further than impatiens.

Impatiens range from mat-forming miniatures to robust New Guineas with their brightly variegated foliage and nearly neon-colored flowers. Impatiens also come in solid-color mixtures of salmons, magenta, near-orange and white.

These shade-loving annuals do best in soil that has been prepared with ample amounts of compost. They also like deep watering.

Begonias are another shade-loving plant. Tuberous begonias cannot be exposed to hot sun and they don't tolerate drying out, but with the proper microclimate, they are sumptuous plants.

Wax begonias are much more forgiving. With adequate water, they can tolerate full sun, but they do especially well in dappled shade.

Because shade in Colorado can be so bright, some sun-loving annuals can perform well in half-day shade. These include nicotiana, coleus and pansies.

Photograph courtesy of Judy Sedbrook.

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010