Annual Shade Plants

pink begoniasAnnual plants, or annuals, get their name from the fact that their full life cycle only lasts one year. In order to regenerate a bed of annual plants, they must either be allowed to propagate via natural seeding, or be manually reseeded/replanted. If you’ve got potted plants, or a garden you enjoy rotating from one year to the next, this type of plant is a great choice.

For those who enjoy indoor plants, or who have shaded areas in their yard they wish to brighten up, there is a variety of annual plants which thrive in the shade. This article explores some great options for choosing shade loving annuals.


This plant is fantastic for shaded gardens, as it doesn’t require any direct sunlight to stay healthy. It thrives both potted and in the ground, so its blue-lavender blossoms bring a cool beauty to any setting you choose. Lobelia is conveniently tolerant to cooler weather, so it blooms most heartily in Autumn or early Spring.


Begonias are about as versatile and low-key as lobelias when it comes to the conditions they require to thrive, but they do need regular watering. They fare well either inside or out, but they do prefer warmer weather. Begonias are celebrated for their gorgeous leaves and the wide variety of colors and patterns in their flowers.


Impatiens produce a bright blossom in shades of orange, pink, light purple, and white. It’s good to give them a lot of growing space, as they’ll flourish easily with a bit of rich soil and fertilizer. Unlike other shade loving annuals, impatiens can tolerate partial sunlight, and can even be “trained” to tolerate moderate exposure if you wish to relocate them.



In regions that experience freezing temperatures in the winter, ferns are generally treated as annual plants. Ferns actually reproduce via spores instead of seeds, and they can last longer than a year in a stable environment. These feathery shade lovers enjoy a light mist to stay hydrated, and they can do great both inside and out as long as they don’t freeze.


This gorgeous multi-colored flowering plant will add a burst of joy anywhere you choose to place it. A cousin to the snapdragon, torenias produce a cupped blossom resembling an open mouth. While they can be potted, you may prefer to plant them outside because they’re a favorite of every gardener’s friend- hummingbirds!


  • Lobelia’s lavender blooms require minimal sunlight, making this a great choice for shaded yards or indoor flower pots.
  • Begonias, with their rainbow of blooms, will thrive both inside and out with adequate watering.
  • Impatiens are avid growers who can be trained to enjoy both shade and direct sunlight.
  • Ferns may not produce flowers, but their feathery foliage livens up any space with a regular spritz from the water bottle.
  • Torenia’s cup-shaped blossoms will bring joy- and hummingbirds- to your yard.

Whether it’s a tabletop, a kitchen window, or a shady corner of your yard, these beautiful flowers will bring color and fragrance to the area with minimal upkeep. With a stable climate and a bit of care, you can enjoy these shade loving annuals for several months. Read more about how JC’s can assist you with your landscaping projects!


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