Shade

You’ll have it made in the shade with these garden collections below!  No need to shy away from those areas under trees or next to walls – with these simple shade garden ideas you can easily transform dappled shade into a gardening asset rather than a liability.  Imaginecool green foliage dotted with calming white or lavender flowers, restful benches in dappled shade, a weathered birdbath, and moss-covered stones….

Our shade garden ideas take full advantage of foliage to create color and contrast for a cool retreat when the summer heats up.  We’ve combined large full leaves with feathery ferns and ruffled or variegated foliage to create a setting that invites you to pause and take in the scenery.  The various sizes, shapes, and textures of these shade garden favorites offer a restful counterpoint to a sunny summer garden.

We couldn’t resist mixing a few flowers for shade gardens into the collections.  Despite common wisdom, there are lots of choices for colorful flowers that thrive in the shade.  Pink or orange impatiens, begonias, and fuchsia really pop against cool green foliage, while the blue and purple tones of Jacob’s Ladder, Torenia, and hydrangea evoke a more meditative mood. 

Remember, a shady spot in summer might have full sun in spring, giving you the opportunity to transition your garden through the seasons.  Spring bulbs make great flowers for shade gardens, emerging before the trees get their leaves.  Tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth create a bright spring display before the shade sets in.  As their blooms fade, hosta, ferns, and coral bells will fill-in to cover any bare spots.  

Shade is one of nature’s cycles so use our shade garden ideas to make the most of what you have.  Think of these collections as a starting point and feel free to substitute with plants and flowers for shade gardens that fit your style and your setting.  As long as the combination you choose has similar light and water requirements your shade garden should be a complete success!

Caroline T.'s collection

Plant type: 
perennial
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
4 - 8
Plants: 

Hellebore

in
Hellebore

Beautiful, long-lasting nodding flowers complement leathery evergreen leaves. Highlights the woodland garden or landscape. Plant with hosta, ferns and early-season shrubs such as serviceberries and dogwood. Long-lived.

Hosta

in
Hosta

Classic foliage plant for shaded gardens or summer containers. Graceful mounding form is excellent at the garden's edge or used as a small-scale ground cover. Violet flowers on slender stalks are attractive in cut flower arrangements.

Hosta

in
Hosta

Bold, handsome leaves with golden margins that highlight the shaded garden. Excellent companion to ferns, astilbes and blue-leaved hostas, or against tall evergreens. Resists insect damage and tolerates drier soil and more sun than many hosta varieties.

Hosta

in
Hosta

Outstanding foliage plant for the shaded garden. Distinctive vase-shaped habit is attractive planted with shorter, mounded hosta, ground covers, or fine-textured plants such as ferns and astilbe. Lilac flowers on 5' stems. Resistant to insect damage.

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Fancy K.'s collection

Plant type: 
flowering shrub
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
6 - 9
Plants: 

Mountain Hydrangea

in
Mountain Hydrangea

Hosta

in
Hosta

Bold, handsome leaves with golden margins that highlight the shaded garden. Excellent companion to ferns, astilbes and blue-leaved hostas, or against tall evergreens. Resists insect damage and tolerates drier soil and more sun than many hosta varieties.

Eastern Wood Fern

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Eastern Wood Fern

Graceful blue-green fronds provide a lush foliage accent in the garden and are lovely as fillers in bouquets. Striking in shaded or woodland gardens, in both formal and informal settings. Attractive with hostas, epimedium and wild ginger. Easy to grow.

Hosta

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Hosta

This hosta has an upright habit, showcasing unusual bright red stems. Offers fabulous color and texture to the shaded garden when planted with other hosta, ferns or astilbe. Bears lavender flowers on red scapes. Prefers moist, well-drained soil.

Holly

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Holly

This ornamental evergreen has lustrous, dark leaves and is the male pollinator for `Blue Girl'. Commonly used for foundation planting, mass planting, hedge or accent. Easy to grow and provides gorgeous winter color. Prefers humus-rich, well-drained soil and plenty of sun.

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Abby R.'s collection

Plant type: 
perennial
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
4 - 8
Plants: 

False Spirea

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False Spirea

Vibrant flower plumes are striking in the shaded or woodland garden. Attractive planted with bergenia, hosta, ferns or near water. Excellent cut flower, fresh or dried. Spreads more and tolerates drier soils than other astilbes.

Bleeding Heart

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Bleeding Heart

Beautiful, long-blooming flowers attract hummingbirds. Striking against dark backgrounds, at garden's edge or along walkways. Combine with hostas, ferns or wild ginger for a stunning effect. Excellent cut flower. Remove faded flowers to increase rebloom.

Rhododendron

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Rhododendron

A handsome broadleaf evergreen shrub with lilac-colored buds that open to pure white flowers. Prefers loose, moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Mulch base to protect roots. Lovely as a border or hedge plant. Attracts butterflies.

Hosta

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Hosta

Lovely blue foliage complements deep lavender flowers on slender stalks. Wonderful for edging gardens or walkways, or as a low, frosty mound in the rock garden. Attractive in combinations with golden-leaved plants.

Spirea

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Spirea

An interesting shrub with twisted, serrated leaves and lovely flower clusters. Ideal for low borders, hedges or mass plantings. Creates a stunning accent in the landscape. Attractive fall foliage. Prefers fertile, well-drained soil.

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Sydney I.'s collection

Plant type: 
perennial
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
4 - 9
Plants: 

Coral Bells

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Coral Bells

Gorgeous burgundy-red leaves have curled edges and form colorful mounds of foliage. Color intensifies in spring. Spikes of delicate flowers rise above the foliage.

Hosta

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Hosta

This easy-to-grow plant forms mounds of attractive foliage and naturalizes well. Excellent as an edging or specimen in perennial gardens and mixed plantings, or as a small-scale ground cover. Ideal with ferns and astilbe. Prefers moist, well-drained soil.

Male Fern

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Male Fern

Evergreen foliage remains attractive all season. More sun and drought tolerant than most ferns, making this an adaptable, easy-to-grow choice for container gardening, shaded perennial beds or for naturalizing among wild ginger, trillium and wild geranium. Prefers humus-rich soil.

Jacob's Ladder

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Jacob's Ladder

Dainty flowers atop intriguing, ladderlike foliage attract butterflies to the woodland, rock or perennial garden. Plant with bold, contrasting foliage plants such as purpleleaf coral bells and blue-leaved hosta.

Bleeding Heart

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Bleeding Heart

Beautiful, long-blooming flowers attract hummingbirds. Striking against dark backgrounds, at garden's edge or along walkways. Combine with hostas, ferns or wild ginger for a stunning effect. Excellent cut flower. Remove faded flowers to increase rebloom.

Coral Bells

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Coral Bells

Striking flowers are a wonderful complement to handsome foliage and attract hummingbirds to the garden. Creates a beautiful display in perennial or rock gardens, along walkways or cut for long-lasting bouquets. Mulch lightly in winter.

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Denise Y.'s collection

Plant type: 
flowering tree
Light: 
sun
Zone: 
5 - 8
Plants: 

Kousa Dogwood

in
Kousa Dogwood

Elegant small landscape tree becomes blanketed in creamy spring flowers that precede vibrant red fall fruit. Handsome foliage turns red-purple in autumn. In winter, the unique, multicolored bark becomes evident. Nice underplanted with pachysandra, bleeding heart, spring bulbs, and cotoneaster.

Hosta

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Hosta

Lavender flowers above dark green leaves with a 1" wide, creamy white margin. Great massed or as an accent.

Hosta

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Hosta

Beautiful, powdery blue leaves and lightly fragrant, near-white flowers in early summer brighten shady spots in the landscape. Visual appeal and a growth habit that produces new leaves all season make this a breeding breakthrough and a choice addition to your shade garden.

Alpine Currant

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Alpine Currant

Deciduous shrub with lobed, bright green foliage. Dense, rounded habit with upright stems and spreading branches. Tall-growing, over 6'. Red fruit ripens in fall.

Wintercreeper

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Wintercreeper

Creeping evergreen shrub with dainty green leaves. Low, dense, matlike growth makes an excellent ground cover or will climb Low walls, trees or chimneys if allowed. Makes a graceful transition between gardens and natural areas of the landscape.

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Ellen M.'s collection

Plant type: 
perennial
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
4 - 8
Plants: 

Coral Bells

in
Coral Bells

This exciting heuchera produces ruffled purple leaves and brilliant coral flowers. Makes a wonderful addition to the perennial border or rock garden. Delicate pink flower spikes complement the foliage and are lovely in cut flower arrangements.

Hosta

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Hosta

Wide-spreading, large, wavy chartreuse-gold leaves grow to a 4' wide clump. Light purple flowers rise above the mounded foliage in early summer. Prefers part sun to shade, but is sun tolerant as long as adequate moisture is provided.

Leatherleaf Sedge

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Leatherleaf Sedge

Beautiful fine-textured ornamental grass. Excellent in the perennial garden or as a ground cover. The cinnamon-colored foliage is outstanding planted with silver foliage plants, brightly colored flowers or variegated grasses.

Hosta

in
Hosta

Beautiful, powdery blue leaves and lightly fragrant, near-white flowers in early summer brighten shady spots in the landscape. Visual appeal and a growth habit that produces new leaves all season make this a breeding breakthrough and a choice addition to your shade garden.

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Brittany M.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
n/a

Plants: 

Fuchsia

in
Fuchsia

Exquisite flowers in a breathtaking array of forms and color combinations. Some cascade elegantly from arching branches, others dangle precariously from stiff, upright stems. Combine with lobelia, bacopa, and ivy for a graceful, classic display. Prefers a cool site with moist, well-drained soil sheltered from drying winds.

Ferns

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Ferns

Ferns are a wonderful addition to the shade garden, with a variety of unique textures, from soft and deeply cut to bold and lance-shaped. Available in sizes perfect for low edgings, taller backgrounds or filler. Combine with hosta, astilbe, and jacob's ladder for a nice blend of texture and color. Prefers moist, acidic, humus-rich soils.

Impatiens

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Impatiens

Large, abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich, compact foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Lilyturf

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Lilyturf

Lush foliage and beautiful flowers are lovely at garden or woodland edges, in rock gardens or even indoors as a houseplant. An outstanding ground cover, it will even perform in dry shade. Cut back in early spring to promote new growth.

Begonia

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Begonia

Versatile easy-to-grow begonia with excellent branching that creates a compact, full plant loaded with huge scarlet flowers. Use in hanging baskets, containers and beds.

Caladium

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Caladium

Large, boldly patterned leaves highlight shaded areas with stunning color. Outstanding in containers or in the garden with impatiens, hostas and ferns. Can be grown indoors as a houseplant, in medium light and warm temperatures. Ideal for overwintering.

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Michele B.'s collection

Plant type: 
perennial
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
3 - 9

Plants: 

Hosta

in
Hosta

Beautiful, powdery blue leaves and lightly fragrant, near-white flowers in early summer brighten shady spots in the landscape. Visual appeal and a growth habit that produces new leaves all season make this a breeding breakthrough and a choice addition to your shade garden.

Spotted Deadnettle

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Spotted Deadnettle

Beautifully variegated leaves and long-blooming flowers brighten shaded gardens and summer containers. Superb ground cover beneath trees or shrubs, especially when combined with spring-flowering bulbs. Attractive at garden's edge or along walkways.

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Bright flowers with a darker edge bloom over compact plants. These prolific bloomers are an excellent choice for annual beds, garden edges or decorative containers in the shady garden. Highlights the shaded garden, especially lovely in mixed containers or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Licorice Plant

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Licorice Plant

Slender silvery foliage adds an elegant touch to mixed plantings and containers. Lovely with cool colors or as a contrast to vibrant flowers. Clusters of yellow flowers in long-summer regions; rarely blooms elsewhere. Combines well with geranium, verbena and dwarf delphinium. Prefers well-drained soil.

Hydrangea

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Hydrangea

Japanese Painted Fern

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Japanese Painted Fern

Fantastic foliage for the shaded or woodland garden. Attractive accent to burgundy or silver-leaved plants and ruby or white flowers, which highlight the rich colors in the fern. New growth is lighter in color and contrasts nicely with older fronds.

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Tilly T.'s collection

Plant type: 
perennial
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
3 - 8

Plants: 

Primrose

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Primrose

Siberian Bugloss

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Siberian Bugloss

Airy sprays of flowers complement bold, heart-shaped leaves. Excellent foliage plant for shaded gardens. Attractive with spring bulbs, bleeding heart, epimedium, lungwort and ferns. Rich, moist soil yields best foliage, but plants tolerate dry conditions.

Lily of the Valley

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Lily of the Valley

Deliciously fragrant blossoms are superb cut flowers. An excellent naturalizing ground cover for shaded areas, especially well-suited to woodland sites or beneath trees and shrubs. Extremely drought tolerant. May be too vigorous for the perennial garden.

Japanese Tassel Fern

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Japanese Tassel Fern

Beautiful rich, dark green fronds feature a silvery underside. Stunning foliage plant for shaded gardens, at woodland's edge or as filler for cut arrangements. New fronds continue to emerge all summer.

Sedge

in
Sedge

Eye-catching and attractive! Light and airy, arching blades of colorful foliage form graceful mounds. Great for adding textural interest. Lovely planted among astilbe, trollius and ligularia in the garden. Prefers moist, fertile well-drained soil.

Bleeding Heart

in
Bleeding Heart

Striking flowers attract hummingbirds to the garden and are excellent cut. Plant in cool, moist sites to prevent summer dormancy, or combine with hosta or ferns to fill in for the dicentra during hot, dry seasons. Attractive ferny leaves.

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Janet J.'s collection

Plant type: 
perennial
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
4 - 8

Plants: 

Coral Bells

in
Coral Bells

This exciting heuchera produces ruffled purple leaves and brilliant coral flowers. Makes a wonderful addition to the perennial border or rock garden. Delicate pink flower spikes complement the foliage and are lovely in cut flower arrangements.

Cordyline

in
Cordyline

New Guinea Impatiens

in
New Guinea Impatiens

Nonstop flowers in beautiful hues are offset by handsome, glossy foliage. Popularly used for adding lively color to containers and annual plantings. Particularly lovely in mixed containers and hanging baskets. Provide shelter from wind.

Autumn Fern

in
Autumn Fern

A wonderful, easy-to-grow fern. Newly unfolding fronds have a beautiful coppery-pink color, aging to deep green. Striking in shaded or woodland gardens, formal or informal. Attractive with hostas, epimedium and wild ginger. Good filler for bouquets.

Golden Creeping Jenny

in
Creeping Jenny Golden

Vibrant flowers complement bright foliage. A vigorously spreading ground cover for moist woodland soil, at water's edge, on banks, or cascading over walls. Best foliage color when plants receive morning sunlight. A beautiful foliage accent in containers.

Astilbe

in
Astilbe

Showy flower plumes and striking foliage are indispensable in the shaded or woodland garden. Excellent complement to bergenia, hosta, ferns or Japanese iris and especially attractive near water. A beautiful, long-lasting cut flower, fresh or dried.

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Ann H.'s collection

Plant type: 
flowering shrub
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
6 - 9

Plants: 

Bigleaf Hydrangea

in
Bigleaf Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are among the showiest of all flowering shrubs. This variety has large, flat red and white flowers in summer above bold green foliage. Makes a stunning display in gardens or mixed shrub plantings. Flowers are great in arrangements, fresh or dried, or provide winter interest if left on the plant.

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Large, abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich, compact foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Hydrangea

in
Hydrangea

Dazzling flower heads make a stunning display in shaded gardens planted with hosta, azalea or rhododendron. Beautiful in flower arrangements, fresh or dried. Requires winter protection in zone 5. Prefers acid (sour), moist well-drained soil.

Japanese Forest Grass

in
Forest Grass, Japanese

Brilliant foliage with a graceful cascading form. Outstanding in containers, rock gardens or woodland gardens. Provides a stunning contrast for the deep green foliage of evergreens, hostas or ferns. Shade from hot afternoon sun for best leaf color.

Fuchsia

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Fuchsia

Outstanding variegated foliage hosts delightful clusters of long, pendulant, bell flowers. Stunning as a container plant, or plant among coleus and silver artemisia. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Prefers a moist, well-drained location sheltered from drying winds.

Calibrachoa

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Calibrachoa

Profuse, vibrant trumpets burst open with color, covering the handsome, trailing foliage of this excellent landscape plant. Whether rambling across the garden floor or gently tumbling over a container's edge, plentiful flowers abound on this uniform variety. Prefers well-drained soil.

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Megan R.'s collection

Plant type: 
perennial
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
3 - 8

Plants: 

Japanese Painted Fern

in
Japanese Painted Fern

The center of each frond is a deep burgundy, with the leaves a contrasting soft silver-green. The leaf stems are slightly twisted, giving the plant a fluffy texture. Use as a container plant or ground cover. Rabbit resistant.

Sedge

in
Sedge

Eye-catching and attractive! Light and airy, arching blades of colorful foliage form graceful mounds. Great for adding textural interest. Lovely planted among astilbe, trollius and ligularia in the garden. Prefers moist, fertile well-drained soil.

Spiderwort

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Spiderwort

Delightful, large flowers are lovely at water's edge intermingled with trollius, cardinal flower and ligularia. Linear arching adds great texture. Very pleasing in moist borders, beds or woodland edges. Remove faded flowers to promote reblooming.

Jacob's Ladder

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Jacob's Ladder

Light blue flowers in August through September highlight the green and white variegated foliage that does not yellow down. This cultivar stands up well to mid-Atlantic summers if you provide good drainage and protect from hot afternoon sun.

Astilbe

in
Astilbe

Showy flower plumes and striking foliage are indispensable in the shaded or woodland garden. Excellent complement to bergenia, hosta, ferns or Japanese iris and especially attractive near water. A beautiful, long-lasting cut flower, fresh or dried.

Bugleweed

in
Bugleweed

Beautiful flower spikes complement rich burgundy foliage and attract hummingbirds. Vigorous, spreading plants make superb ground cover for difficult situations, such as dry shade beneath trees or on slopes. Attractive in rock gardens or at garden's edge.

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Meaghan D.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
sun
Zone: 
n/a

Plants: 

Coleus

in
Coleus

Foliage so colorful and interesting there's no need for flowers! Plant alone in the garden or in decorative containers for spectacular color contrast. Combine with other annuals such as sweet potato vine or zinnia. Prolong your collection by taking cuttings in fall to start new plants for the coming season. Prefers moist, well-drained soil.

Algerian Ivy

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Algerian Ivy

This beautiful ivy adds rich texture to a wide range of landscape situations. In warm climates, use as a ground cover, for erosion control on slopes, or as a vine for climbing tree trunks and walls. Where not hardy, add to containers for porch, deck or indoor greenery. Prefers humus-rich, moist well-drained soil.

Fuchsia

in
Fuchsia

Exquisite flowers in a breathtaking array of forms and color combinations. Some cascade elegantly from arching branches, others dangle precariously from stiff, upright stems. Combine with lobelia, bacopa, and ivy for a graceful, classic display. Prefers a cool site with moist, well-drained soil sheltered from drying winds.

New Guinea Impatiens

in
New Guinea Impatiens

Nonstop flowers in beautiful hues are offset by handsome, glossy foliage. Popularly used for adding lively color to containers and annual plantings. Particularly lovely in mixed containers and hanging baskets. Provide shelter from wind.

Coral Bells

in
Coral Bells

This exciting heuchera produces ruffled purple leaves and brilliant coral flowers. Makes a wonderful addition to the perennial border or rock garden. Delicate pink flower spikes complement the foliage and are lovely in cut flower arrangements.

Exotic Impatiens

in
Exotic Impatiens

Unique flowers contrast beautifully with the rich, vigorous foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

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Dollie P.'s collection

Plant type: 
flowering shrub
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
5 - 8

Plants: 

Rhododendron

in
Rhododendron

Flowering, broad-leaved shrub produces masses of spectacular flower clusters. Glossy foliage is evergreen. Beautiful at woodland's edge or as a specimen. Growth becomes more open in deeper shade. Prune in spring after flowering.

Azalea

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Azalea

Flowering, broad-leaved shrub produces masses of spectacular flower clusters. Glossy foliage is evergreen. Beautiful at woodland's edge or as a specimen. Growth becomes more open in deeper shade. Prune in spring after flowering. Prefers rich, acid (sour) soil.

Camellia

in
Camellia

Spectacular, bright, rose-pink double blooms contrast with vigorous, upright, rich green foliage. Glossy evergreen foliage provides a wonderful backdrop for the blooms. Excellent flowering shrub for the mixed border, as an accent or as a specimen. Acid-loving plant.

Ferns

in
Ferns

Ferns are a wonderful addition to the shade garden, with a variety of unique textures, from soft and deeply cut to bold and lance-shaped. Available in sizes perfect for low edgings, taller backgrounds or filler. Combine with hosta, astilbe, and jacob's ladder for a nice blend of texture and color. Prefers moist, acidic, humus-rich soils.

Japanese Maple

in
Japanese Maple

Perhaps the most extreme of the variegated Japanese maples. Delicately serrated leaves emerge nearly white with a pink blush in spring. By summer the foliage is green with white markings. Makes a magnificent specimen or a perfect small landscape tree for entrances or patios. Attractive fall color extends the season.

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Candy S.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. This variety displays flat, spreading growth that highlights the shaded garden. Especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Maidenhair Fern

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Maidenhair Fern

A graceful fern, beautiful in rock gardens and woodland settings. Complements large-leaved perennials such as wild ginger, pulmonaria, hellebores and hosta, as well as spring-flowering bulbs and other ferns. Use as filler for cut flower arrangements.

Swedish Ivy

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Swedish Ivy

Exceptional foliage accent with variegated or bronze leaves. Lovely trailing vine for hanging baskets or mixed planters indoors or out. Thrives in average home temperatures and outdoors in partial shade. White or pink flowers.

East Indian Holly Fern

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East Indian Holly Fern

Lovely evergreen fern with variegated, fine-textured fronds. Plant in the shaded or woodland garden with heuchera, tiarella and toad lily, alone in small groupings, or massed for ground cover. Excellent in cut flower arrangements. Slow-growing and resilient.

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Bright flowers with a darker edge bloom over compact plants. These prolific bloomers are an excellent choice for annual beds, garden edges or decorative containers in the shady garden. Highlights the shaded garden, especially lovely in mixed containers or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Southern Shield Fern

in
Southern Shield Fern

Showy, leathery fronds can reach dramatic heights and provide a lush foliage accent in the garden. Lovely as filler in bouquets. Excellent as a ground cover in shady areas and as a background for shade-loving flowering plants such as toadlily and turtlehead, hosta and wild ginger. Prefers humus-rich soil.

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Ginny L.'s collection

Plant type: 
flowering shrub
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
6 - 9
Plants: 

Bigleaf Hydrangea

in
Bigleaf Hydrangea

Large, showy white flower heads. Makes a stunning display in shaded gardens or mixed shrub plantings. Beautiful in flower arrangements, fresh or dried. Requires winter protection in zone 5.

Bloody Cranesbill

in
Bloody Cranesbill

Beautiful flowers are accented by gorgeous foliage and attract butterflies to the perennial or rock garden. Lovely as a small-scale ground cover. Great companion to delphinium, daylilies, foxglove and lady's mantle. Shear after flowering for best appearance and to encourage rebloom.

Columbine

in
Columbine

Exquisite long-spurred flowers are a favorite of hummingbirds. Striking addition to the cutting, flower or rock garden. Attractive planted with ferns, hostas or pulmonarias, or at the base of larger perennials such as baptisia or delphinium.

Camellia

in
Camellia

Large, dark red, double blooms contrast with vigorous, upright, deep green foliage. Glossy evergreen foliage provides a wonderful backdrop for the blooms. Excellent flowering shrub for the mixed border, as an accent or as a specimen. Acid-loving plant.

Coral Bells

in
Coral Bells

This exciting heuchera produces ruffled purple leaves and brilliant coral flowers. Makes a wonderful addition to the perennial border or rock garden. Delicate pink flower spikes complement the foliage and are lovely in cut flower arrangements.

Hardy Shield Fern

in
Hardy Shield Fern

Majestic upright growth of stiff fronds provides wonderful fine texture. Plant with broad-leaved hostas or ligularia and variegated tiarella or pulmonaria for a nice blend of color and form. Prefers moist, well-drained soil.

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Tessa G.'s collection

Plant type: 
flowering shrub
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
6 - 9
Plants: 

Hydrangea

in
Hydrangea

Showy flowers make a stunning display in shaded gardens or mixed shrub plantings. Beautiful in flower arrangements, fresh or dried. A striking accent or specimen.

Summersweet

in
Summersweet

Abundant, fragrant flowers are long-lasting and attract butterflies and hummingbirds. This North American native deciduous shrub has good fall color and is an excellent shrub for the back of the border, as a foundation plant, or for naturalizing. Deer resistant. Prefers moist, well-drained acidic (sour) soil.

Kerria

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Kerria

Garden shrub valued for its masses of spring blossoms and beautiful foliage. Well-suited for the shrub garden or woodland's edge mixed with other early-bloomers such as azalea and rhododendron. Prune branches with spent blooms immediately after flowering.

Alpine Currant

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Alpine Currant

Deciduous shrub with lobed, bright green foliage. Dense, rounded habit with upright stems and spreading branches. Tall-growing, over 6'. Red fruit ripens in fall.

Evergreen Azalea

in
Evergreen Azalea

Very attractive spring landscape accent or shrub border plant with evergreen leaves. May be used in massed plantings. Striking with spring bulbs planted nearby. Available in a wide range of bright flower colors. Most azaleas bloom in spring.

Honeysuckle

in
Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle is wonderful scrambling over fences, climbing up trees and poles, or draping sunny slopes in color. Intensely fragrant, lovely flowers. Flowers attract hummingbirds and berries attract birds. Prune immediately after flowering.

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Valerie T.'s collection

Plant type: 
flowering shrub
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
5 - 9
Plants: 

Rhododendron

in
Rhododendron

Flowering, broad-leaved shrub produces masses of spectacular flower clusters. Glossy foliage is evergreen. Beautiful at woodland's edge or as a specimen. Growth becomes more open in deeper shade. Prune in spring after flowering.

Summersweet

in
Summersweet

Abundant, fragrant flowers are long-lasting and do not fade in the sun. Native deciduous shrub turns bright yellow in fall. An excellent shrub for the back of the border or as a foundation plant. Tolerant of moist areas. Deer resistant.

Japanese Barberry

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Japanese Barberry

This compact barberry variety bears striking reddish foliage throughout the growing season. Well-suited for planting in large groups, as accent, or for the mixed garden. Contrasts best with yellow- and gray-leaved plants. Exposure to full sun stimulates richest leaf color.

Camellia

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Camellia

Showy blooms contrast with vigorous, upright, dark green foliage. Glossy evergreen foliage provides a wonderful backdrop for the blooms. Excellent flowering shrub for the mixed border, as an accent or as a specimen. Acid-loving plant.

Bigleaf Hydrangea

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Bigleaf Hydrangea

Large, showy pink flower heads. Makes a stunning display in shaded gardens or mixed shrub plantings. Beautiful in flower arrangements, fresh or dried. Requires winter protection in zone 5. Prune immediately after flowering is done for the season.

Impatiens

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Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. This variety displays flat, spreading growth that highlights the shaded garden. Especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

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Fran G.'s collection

Plant type: 
tree
Light: 
sun
Zone: 
6 - 8
Plants: 

Japanese Maple

in
Japanese Maple

This lovely accent tree is prized for its beautiful, finely cut leaves and handsome form. Combines well with liriope, bleeding heart and ornamental grasses, or makes a magnificent specimen or a perfect small landscape tree for entrances or patios. Vibrant fall color. Requires little maintenance.

Globe Yew

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Globe Yew

Soft-needled evergreen with a naturally rounded shape grows slowly. Nice for foundation or planting in large groups. Maintains deep green color year-round, making an excellent background for flowering plants. Tolerates hard pruning. Prefers well-drained soil; will tolerate alkaline (sweet) or acid (sour).

Japanese Spurge

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Japanese Spurge

A superb ground cover for shady areas and beneath trees and shrubs. Dense, glossy, evergreen foliage keeps out weeds, while spreading roots are excellent for erosion control. Avoid exposure to full sun to prevent leaf burn and yellowing. White flowers.

Burning Bush

in
Burning Bush

Best known for brilliant fall color, this popular landscape shrub is impossible to miss once the leaves change in autumn. Striking fall foliage is nicely offset by blue-foliaged plants, chrysanthemum and aster. Use for hedge, screen, accent and specimen.

Weeping Mulberry

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Weeping Mulberry

An unusual dwarf form with weeping branches, this fast-growing tree is an ideal lawn accent or specimen. Also nice underplanted with ground cover. Very tolerant of urban environments. Prune only when dormant, in late fall or winter. Protect from winds.

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Madeline K.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Vinca Vine

in
Vinca Vine

Beautiful variegated foliage, outstanding in combination plantings in window boxes, hanging baskets or other containers. Excellent as a seasonal ground cover. Lovely blue flowers are a bonus. Usually grown as an annual, but is hardy in many areas.

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich foliage. This variety has uniform, compact growth and large blooms. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Lobelia

in
Lobelia

Low-growing carpets of color gently cascade beyond the garden's edge, down a stone wall or over the rim of a container. The dainty flowers are borne in abundance, inviting butterflies as well as adding season-long color. Geranium, coleus, zinnia and spikes are all lovely complements.

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Barbara J.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. This variety displays flat, spreading growth that highlights the shaded garden. Especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Coleus

in
Coleus

Foliage so colorful and interesting there's no need for flowers! Plant alone in the garden or in decorative containers for spectacular color contrast. Combine with other annuals such as sweet potato vine or zinnia. Prolong your collection by taking cuttings in fall to start new plants for the coming season. Prefers moist, well-drained soil.

Fuchsia

in
Fuchsia

Exquisite flowers in a breathtaking array of forms and color combinations. Some cascade elegantly from arching branches, others dangle precariously from stiff, upright stems. Combine with lobelia, bacopa, and ivy for a graceful, classic display. Prefers a cool site with moist, well-drained soil sheltered from drying winds.

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. This variety displays flat, spreading growth that highlights the shaded garden. Especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Coleus

in
Coleus

Foliage so colorful and interesting there's no need for flowers! Plant alone in the garden or in decorative containers for spectacular color contrast. Combine with other annuals such as sweet potato vine or zinnia. Prolong your collection by taking cuttings in fall to start new plants for the coming season. Prefers moist, well-drained soil.

Baby's Tears

in
Baby's Tears

Dainty creeper makes a beautiful ground cover in shady spaces or woodland gardens. Lush and tropical as a houseplant or in a terrarium. Can become vigorous in warm climates.

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Randy G.'s collection

Plant type: 
tropical
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
1 - 1
Plants: 

Peace Lily

in
Peace Lily

Beautiful snowy white flowers resemble a calla lily on this easy-to-grow plant. An ideal plant to use as a focal point in a room. Great on a shaded patio. Prefers moderate home temperatures of 70-75°F (21-24°C) daytimes and 65-70°F (18-21°C) nights.

Dumb Cane

in
Dumb Cane

Beautiful, bold foliage plant; attractive displayed alone or in groupings. As plants grow, the lower leaves drop, revealing an interesting trunklike stalk. Keep out of the reach of small children and pets, as the sap is irritating to the mouth.

Nephthytis

in
Nephthytis

Nepthytis, also known as Arrowhead Plant, is an attractive, vigorous foliage plant. The most common varieties have green or green and white variegated leaves. However, cultivars are now available that sport shades of pink and white too. It’s great for hanging baskets, cascading over containers or trained to climb a small trellis.

Dwarf Elephant's Ear

in
Dwarf Elephant's Ear

Exotic foliage brings a dramatic tropical flavor to your home. This tightly clumping elephant ear produces glossy dark green leaves with lime green veins.

Algerian Ivy

in
Algerian Ivy

This beautiful ivy adds rich texture to a wide range of landscape situations. In warm climates, use as a ground cover, for erosion control on slopes, or as a vine for climbing tree trunks and walls. Where not hardy, add to outdoor containers for porch, deck or use for indoor greenery. Prefers humus-rich, moist well-drained soil.

Mondo Grass

in
Mondo Grass

Lush foliage has dark green leaves with white stripes. Lovely at garden or woodland edges, or in rock gardens. An outstanding ground cover that lights up shady areas and spreads slowly.

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Jayne G.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

Torenia

in
Torenia

Uniquely shaped flowers bloom season-long over low-growing plants. Thriving in shade, they add excitement to container gardens, at garden's edge or as a houseplant. Pinch to keep bushy and full. Keep soil evenly moist.

Licorice Plant

in
Licorice Plant

Attractive rounded leaves are borne on this trailing plant. Foliage contrasts with and highlights other plants, making this a superb addition to containers, hanging baskets and gardens. Combines well with geranium, verbena and dwarf delphinium. Prefers well-drained soil.

Torenia

in
Torenia

Uniquely shaped flowers bloom season-long over low-growing plants. Thriving in shade, they add excitement to container gardens, at garden's edge or as a houseplant. Pinch to keep bushy and full. Keep soil evenly moist.

Torenia

in
Torenia

Uniquely shaped flowers bloom season-long over low-growing plants. Thriving in shade, they add excitement to container gardens, at garden's edge or as a houseplant. Pinch to keep bushy and full. Keep soil evenly moist.

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Ken T.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
part sun
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

New Guinea Impatiens

in
New Guinea Impatiens

Large, vibrant nonstop flowers in a beautiful hue are offset by handsome, compact foliage. Popularly used for adding lively color to containers and annual plantings. Particularly lovely in mixed containers and hanging baskets. Provide shelter from wind.

Fuchsia

in
Fuchsia

Gorgeous, richly hued foliage is offset by pendulous, luminescent flowers. Stunning as a container plant, or treat as an annual and plant among coleus and silver artemisia. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Moist, well-drained soil sheltered from drying winds is best.

Royal Fern

in
Royal Fern

A majestic fern with a beautiful vaselike habit and attractive, tufted fertile fronds. A stunning addition to moist woodland gardens and water gardens, planted with meadowsweet, Rodger's flower and astilbe. Good filler in cut flower arrangements.

Dusty Miller

in
Dusty Miller

Highly divided silvery gray foliage has an antlerlike or coral-like appearance. Dusty Miller provides an excellent foil to most annuals and is a great choice to add contrast to beds, containers or baskets.

Ageratum

in
Ageratum

An ever-popular annual bearing vibrant flower clusters that attract butterflies. This variety is weather tolerant with an extremely uniform growth habit. A colorful addition to the flower garden, containers for the deck or patio, or window boxes and baskets. Grows best in moist, well-drained soil.

Sweet Potato Vine

in
Sweet Potato Vine

Stunning foliage highlights the garden and complements plants with burgundy or silver foliage or vibrant flowers. Lovely trailing across the ground or cascading from planters or window boxes. Produces edible orange tubers (potatoes).

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Marylou N.'s collection

Plant type: 
tropical
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
1 - 1
Plants: 

Peace Lily

in
Peace Lily

Beautiful snowy white flowers resemble a calla lily on this easy-to-grow plant. An ideal plant to use as a focal point in a room. Great on a shaded patio. Prefers moderate home temperatures of 70-75°F (21-24°C) daytimes and 65-70°F (18-21°C) nights.

Nephthytis

in
Nephthytis

Nepthytis, also known as Arrowhead Plant, is an attractive, vigorous foliage plant. The most common varieties have green or green and white variegated leaves. However, cultivars are now available that sport shades of pink and white too. It’s great for hanging baskets, cascading over containers or trained to climb a small trellis.

Dwarf Elephant's Ear

in
Dwarf Elephant's Ear

Exotic foliage brings a dramatic tropical flavor to your home. This tightly clumping elephant ear produces glossy dark green leaves with lime green veins.

Dumb Cane

in
Dumb Cane

Beautiful, bold foliage plant; attractive displayed alone or in groupings. As plants grow, the lower leaves drop, revealing an interesting trunklike stalk. Keep out of the reach of small children and pets, as the sap is irritating to the mouth.

Mondo Grass

in
Mondo Grass

Striking foliage with well-defined variegation makes a stunning show in the landscape. Spreading, grasslike leaves are well-suited for garden's edge, ground cover, or along a pathway. Late-season flower spikes are followed by small blue-black berries. Benefits from light fertilization throughout the growing season.

Algerian Ivy

in
Algerian Ivy

This beautiful ivy adds rich texture to a wide range of landscape situations. In warm climates, use as a ground cover, for erosion control on slopes, or as a vine for climbing tree trunks and walls. Where not hardy, add to outdoor containers for porch, deck or use for indoor greenery. Prefers humus-rich, moist well-drained soil.

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Willis D.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

Caladium

in
Caladium

Large, boldly patterned leaves highlight shaded areas with stunning color. Outstanding in containers or in the garden with impatiens, hostas and ferns. Can be grown indoors as a houseplant, in medium light and warm temperatures. Ideal for overwintering.

English Ivy

in
English Ivy

Beautiful, large, variegated leaves add rich texture to a wide range of landscape situations. Ideal as a ground cover, for erosion control on slopes, or as a vine for climbing tree trunks and walls. Add to outdoor combination planters or use for indoor greenery. Prefers humus-rich, moist well-drained soil.

Triangular Shamrock

in
Triangular Shamrock

Corkscrew Rush

in
Corkscrew Rush

This hardy bog plant has unusual, grasslike, wiry, twisted stems. Very effective when grown in containers and excellent in dried floral arrangements. Combine with trollius, houttunyia, lizard's tail or ligularia for a delightful blend of colors and textures. Prefers continually moist, acid (sour) soil.

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Oleg G.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Wax Begonia

in
Wax Begonia

Vibrant blooms cover bronze foliage. Superb heat tolerance! Perfect for combination pots, containers and window boxes, or makes a bold display when planted in large groups. In northern climates, treat as an annual; in frost-free areas, divide each spring. Prefers well-drained, humus-rich soil.

Lobelia

in
Lobelia

Low-growing growth bears vibrant dainty flowers in abundance. Invites butterflies and provides season-long color. Allow to gently cascade beyond the garden's edge, down a stone wall or over the rim of a container. Geranium, coleus, zinnia and spikes are all lovely complements.

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. This variety displays flat, spreading growth that highlights the shaded garden. Especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

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Nancy R.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Boston Fern

in
Boston Fern

Prized for its fabulous lightweight fronds since the Victorian era, this plant adds lovely texture to interior décor. Boston Ferns are among the best plants to increase air quality in your home. Keep your fern happy by misting frequently with air-temperature water.

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

New Guinea Impatiens

in
New Guinea Impatiens

Large, vibrant nonstop flowers in a beautiful hue are offset by handsome, compact foliage. Popularly used for adding lively color to containers and annual plantings. Particularly lovely in mixed containers and hanging baskets. Provide shelter from wind.

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Guy N.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

Double Impatiens

in
Double Impatiens

Splendid, consistently semi-double flowers are reminiscent of miniature roses. Vigorous, compact plants. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired. 1998 AAS winner.

Nemesia

Nemesia

Profuse, fragrant bicolor blooms are a wonderful filler for flower gardens or bouquets. Lovely in planters, window boxes and hanging baskets. Remove faded flowers and keep containers well-watered to promote continuous flowering.

Variegated Creeping Charlie

in
Variegated Creeping Charlie

Attractive variegated leaves cover trailing stems. Small trumpet-shaped flowers add interest in late spring. Lovely as a trailing accent in window boxes, hanging baskets and other containers. A vigorous-growing ground cover for banks or hillsides.

Double Impatiens

in
Double Impatiens

Abundant, delicate, roselike flowers contrast beautifully with dark green foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in hanging baskets, at garden's edge or anywhere a splash of color is desired. Flowers available in solid or bicolor forms, in shades of pink, red, orange and white.

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Patty M.'s collection

Plant type: 
perennial
Light: 
sun
Zone: 
7 - 1
Plants: 

Euphorbia

Euphorbia

Dark green leaves provide a striking contrast to the amazingly numerous small white flowers. Plant has a dense, mounded habit. Its small size makes it excellent for limited space plantings. Easy to grow and ideal for containers.

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Caladium

in
Caladium

Large white leaves are boldly patterned with bright green veins, adding a beautiful highlight to shaded areas of the landscape. Outstanding in containers or in garden plantings with impatiens, hostas and ferns. Though generally grown as an annual, can be carried over for many years by  bringing indoors before frost and growing as a houseplant over the winter. Prefers medium light and warm temperatures.

Calibrachoa

in
Calibrachoa

A profusion of miniature flowers in lovely pastel shades of apricot pink. Attracts hummingbirds. Cascades beautifully from containers and window boxes, trails over stone walls, and is wonder for massing at garden's edge. Plants also perform well in partial shade, especially in hot-summer climates.

Double Impatiens

in
Double Impatiens

Gorgeous double flowers resemble small roses and contrast beautifully with the rich foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

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Kim D.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
sun
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

Green-Leaf Wax Begonia

in
Wax Begonia Green-Leaf

Vibrant blooms cover the bright foliage of this tender perennial. Perfect for combination pots, containers and window boxes, or makes a bold display when planted in large groups. In northern climates, treat as an annual; in frost-free areas, divide each spring. Prefers well-drained, humus-rich soil.

Coleus

in
Coleus

Brilliant chartreuse leaves have burgundy veins and markings. An upright grower that adds a unique punch of color when used alone or in combination with other plants in the garden or containers.

Elephant's Ear

in
Elephant's Ear

Begonia

in
Begonia

This begonia is grown for its outstanding foliage with prominent silver markings that highlight the dark leaves. Try it in containers on its own or mixed with other shade dwellers. At the end of the season can easily make the transition to an indoor plant that can be overwintered.

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Wilma C.'s collection

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

Double Impatiens

in
Double Impatiens

Gorgeous double flowers resemble small roses and contrast beautifully with the rich foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Bacopa

in
Bacopa

Cascading sprays of tiny flowers cover mounded plants. Outstanding as an airy filler in combination plantings or mixed containers, and wonderful in hanging baskets, as a small-scale ground cover, or at garden's edge.

Licorice Plant

in
Licorice Plant

Attractive felted leaves bring a chartreuse glow to the garden. Plants form a low mound and stems cascade or spread to fill in nicely over the course of the summer, providing consistent color and texture to mixed containers, hanging baskets or at garden's edge. Combines equally well with vibrant colors or pastels. Foliage will be more lime-green and less yellow in shaded locations. Prefers well-drained soil. 

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Cora P.'s collectioin

Plant type: 
annual
Light: 
shade
Zone: 
n/a
Plants: 

Impatiens

in
Impatiens

Abundant flowers contrast beautifully with the rich green foliage. Highlights the shaded garden and is especially lovely in mixed containers, hanging baskets, at garden's edge, or anywhere a splash of color is desired.

Lotus Vine

Lotus Vine

Beautiful, fine-textured silvery foliage contrasts with vibrant red or orange flowers. Stunning as a trailing accent in mixed containers and window boxes, and a lovely seasonal ground cover at garden's edge or along walkways.

Licorice Plant

in
Licorice Plant

Attractive felted leaves bring a chartreuse glow to the garden. Plants form a low mound and stems cascade or spread to fill in nicely over the course of the summer, providing consistent color and texture to mixed containers, hanging baskets or at garden's edge. Combines equally well with vibrant colors or pastels. Foliage will be more lime-green and less yellow in shaded locations. Prefers well-drained soil. 

Bacopa

in
Bacopa

Cascading sprays of tiny flowers cover mounded plants. Outstanding as an airy filler in combination plantings or mixed containers, and wonderful in hanging baskets, as a small-scale ground cover, or at garden's edge.

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