Container Ideas for Shaded Spaces

If you have a shady area in your office, restaurant, hotel, or your patio at home, brightening it up has never been easier. Gardening in the shade has always been problematic, but plenty of plants love the shade and will thrive in containers and pots.

Even professional gardeners encounter problems with container ideas for shaded spaces, but a little creativity and research can resolve many traditional issues. Low light might make keeping plant life alive a little trickier, but plenty of solutions are available. No matter how gloomy your shaded spaces are, here are our creative container ideas for even the most shaded areas.



Forest Mimicry

One of the most popular recent trends in gardening, mimicking the effects of a forest, is a lot easier than you might think. Use a grass as your container’s filler, and then add something striking like a Japanese Maple tree to draw the eye. Ideally, you want to use evergreen perennials in your shaded spaces, but don’t forget to mix and match your textures.

Colors should also be factored in. After all, that’s why you’re adding those trees and plants that love the shade, right? Mix your perennials with some gorgeous herbaceous plants to bring out the colors. Crow Feather with a Himalayan maidenhair fern make a great combination that pops. There are many ways to use planter boxes, but mimicking the natural world will always look fantastic.

Go High If Cramped

If your shaded space is around a doorway or anywhere that’s cramped, then you don’t just need plants that love the shade, but plants that also grow high. You can add height to your container plants very easily, and there are lots of options too. 

You want the plants and trees that are large enough to be viewed but small enough that they don’t end up creating more clutter. Grasses are a natural fit for container gardening, and those grasses make gardening in the shade considerably more straightforward than challenging and delicate flowering plants.



Most people think about grass and consider it a boring option for their containers. But there is a massive variety of grasses available, and they aren’t all your standard green either. Lemongrass is extremely popular, but black lilyturf, Stipa tenuissima, or bunny tails grass are all stunning in suitable containers. Don’t overlook ornamental grasses for your shaded space.

Get Flowery

That said, there is also a vast range of flowering plants that love the shade. If you’re going all out and want as much color as possible, then it’s easily possible to create a considerable amount of flowers in even a small shaded area. 

Look at perennial flowers like monkshood, false spirea, or columbine. Choose the colors that appeal to you or that match your business branding. However, remember that having flowers out of the sunlight requires a little more maintenance. Always do your research before you start gardening in the shade.

Consider your climate too. Some plants will thrive in the shade as long as they’re warm. Others will need to be moved into the sunlight regularly. If you live and work somewhere with very little rainfall, look for drought-tolerant plants that don’t take as much care and attention.

The Elegant Look

There’s something that’s always striking about hydrangeas. Available in all the colors you can imagine, they’re also ideal for growing in the shade. If the space you're trying to fill gets dappled shade, then that’s perfect for them to flourish. 

Hydrangeas are back in fashion, and you don’t need to limit yourself to only using them as border plants. In pots, they can brighten up any area quickly and easily, but they do need a little looking after. You’ll want soil that’s always moist and has plenty of drainage, so self- watering pots are a good idea.


Even if your shaded area is extremely shaded, you can still use elegant hydrangeas. Look at the climbing hydrangea petiolaris for the gloomiest corners and watch it grow. 

Growing Container Plants That Love the Shade

It’s important to do a little research if you're planning on doing some gardening in the shade. Many of the plants and trees advertised as perfect for shaded areas are really only suitable for partly shaded spaces. That means they’ll need at least some sun every day.

That could mean you have to keep moving those plants around to ensure they get enough light. That can end up being a lot of work. Look for the plants, flowers, and trees labeled as full or deep shade. These are the plants that love the shade, and you’ll be able to sit back and relax as you watch the colors transform even the gloomiest and dingiest of dark spaces.

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