10 Gorgeous Hanging Basket Flowers For Shade

Are you looking to add some life and colour to those shady corners of your garden? Hanging baskets are a great way to fill empty corners as well as bring dimension to small spaces. 

You will be pleased to know that there is a huge variety of hanging basket flowers for shade-loving plants and all are perfect for making your decorative displays stand out from the crowd. From deciduous flowers that are ideal for creating short-term displays to evergreen shrubs that will persist and help you provide a more permanent arrangement. 

Read on to find out about the abundance of options to choose from. 

Types of Shade Loving Hanging Basket Plants 

The plants in my list have a number of different physical appearances and here below, I have grouped them based on their visual characteristics. This will enable you to decide which plants are most suitable for your hanging basket and those that you simply just love the look of. 

Upright Plants

Some plants grow much taller than they do wide or produce elongated shoots that protrude from the rest of the foliage. Upright plants may be a good option if you wish to add some height to your hanging basket. 

Trailing Plants

Trailing plants are a common choice for hanging baskets due to the eye-catching, cascading effect they produce. Trails may be a combination of leaves and flowers or just leaves. 

Flowering Plants

Flowering plants are popular for hanging baskets, especially those in the shade. There is an abundance of flowers to choose from, all providing striking colours and patterns. Flowering plants are typically annuals or perennials. 

Evergreen Plants 

Evergreens are a popular, low-maintenance choice. Their green foliage lasts throughout the year and provides interesting textures that can be a centrepiece or act as a backdrop for other plants. 

10 Varieties of Shade Loving Flowers for Hanging Baskets

Here below are my favourite 10 shade-loving plants and flowers for hanging baskets. As well as a description of each, I highlight their ideal positioning and level of care to help you decide which plant is best for you.

1. Fuchsia

Fuchsia
Credit: Dominicus Johannes Bergsma by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Fuchsia spp. 

  • Ideal Position: Partial shade 
  • Difficulty: Relatively easy to care for 
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic and edible 

Fuchsia boasts vibrant pink and purple flowers that are tear-drop shaped, making them a popular choice for hanging baskets as they trail over the edges. They can reach around 2 and a half feet in both height and width. 

Native to South and Central America, fuchsia grows best in zones 8, 9 and 10. They bloom from late spring to frost and can be combined with other plants or as a stand-alone focal point. 

Fuchsia grow best in dappled sun or partial shade, in a location that protects them from harsh winds and direct sunlight. They like rich, moist soil and should be deadheaded in the spring to keep the plant looking its best. 

2. Red Trailing Queen

Red Trailing Queen
Credit: W. Bulach by CC 4.0

Scientific Name: Coleus scutellarioides

  • Ideal Position: Partial sun to high shade
  • Difficulty: Low maintenance  
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic 

The red trailing queen is so-called due to its vibrant, red foliage. Its velvety, heart-shaped leaves have a white-to-green border and bright pink centres surrounded by deep red. 

The unique, eye-catching foliage can serve as a backdrop for other plants or be a stand-alone centrepiece. 

Native to Asia, this plant grows best in Zone 11. It can grow over a foot tall and up to 3 feet in width. Red trailing queens prefer rich, moist soil and should be planted in a shady spot. 

Pruning dead and young plants will encourage them to grow large and compact and will help to prevent leggy growth.

3. Bizzy Lizzy

Bizzy Lizzy
Credit: Gauravggs by CC 4.0

Scientific Name: Impatiens spp. 

  • Ideal Position: Full to partial shade
  • Difficulty: Low to moderate maintenance   
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic 

Bizzy Lizzy makes excellent shade-hanging basket plants due to their voluminous blooms. Delicate pink, red, purple, orange, white, and bicolour flowers stand out among the glossy green foliage. 

Native to the tropics of Africa and Asia, this ornamental plant is best grown in zones 10 and 11. This perennial blooms from June through till the frosts. Shady locations with dappled sunlight will see the best blooms. 

Plant bizzy Lizzy’s in moist, nutrient-rich soil. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 65oF and 70oF. 

This species is guaranteed to brighten up any shady corner and bring joy to your hanging basket display. Just be sure to prune regularly to encourage bigger blooms. 

4. Ferns

Ferns
Credit: W. Carter by CC: 1.0

Scientific Name: Pteridophyta spp.

  • Ideal Position: Full to partial shade
  • Difficulty: Easy to care for    
  • Toxicity: Generally, not toxic but some species are mildly toxic 

Rather than flowers, ferns are known for their luscious green, textured foliage. They are commonly grown in hanging baskets as their fronds spill over the edges, creating a full and bushy effect. 

Evolving over 300 million years ago, ferns thrived in damp, tropical forests. Most fern species are evergreen, and depending on your climate can maintain their green leaves all year long. They are best grown in zones 4 to 8. 

Ferns are shade-loving plants that are maintained very easily. They are cold-tolerant and hardy plants that will generally thrive so long as you keep their soil moist. They are also a good companion plant for Hostas since they enjoy similar shaded and moist conditions.

5. Monkey Flowers

Monkey Flowers
Credit: Matt Lavin by CC: 2.0

Scientific Name: Mimulus ringens 

  • Ideal Position: Partial shade  
  • Difficulty: Easy to care for    
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic 

Monkey flowers are so-called due to their resemblance to a monkey face. The blooms can be a variety of colours including yellow, red, orange, blue, and purple. The petals may be plain or spotted. 

Some monkey flower species grow upright, but other trailing varieties are ideal for hanging baskets. Butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other pollinators are highly attracted to these flowers. 

Native to boggy environments in North America, the monkey flower does best in zones 3 to 9. 

They should be grown in moist and shady environments because they detest drying out. Some mature species can tolerate heavily saturated soil.

6. Begonia

Begonia
Credit: Stephen. C. Dickson by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Begonia spp. 

  • Ideal Position: Partial shade  
  • Difficulty: Easy to care for    
  • Toxicity: Toxic to people and animals 

There are several varieties of begonia plants, all of which look very different. Single-bloom flowers are female and look smaller and daintier. Double-bloom flowers are male and grow larger. Flowers can be pink, purple, yellow, red, orange, and white. 

The pointed, heart-shaped leaves often show intricate colour patterns of green, pink, red, and purple. Begonias grow large and in an arching pattern, making them perfect for filling hanging baskets. 

Begonias are native to the tropical and subtropical regions of South and Central America, Asia, and Africa. Although it varies between species, zones 9, 10, and 11 are best for this plant as they are not particularly frost-hardy. 

Best planted in the shade with rich soil that is kept moist. They will bloom continuously from summer up until frost. 

Just be careful of any falling petals or foliage as every member of the begonia family is toxic. They contain a substance called oxalate, which is mostly concentrated in their roots and if ingested can cause swelling, sores, and vomiting. 

7. Toad Lilies

Toad Lilies
Credit: Beeflower by CC: 3.0

Scientific Name: Tricyrtis formosana

  • Ideal Position: Full to partial shade   
  • Difficulty: Relatively easy to maintain     
  • Toxicity: Toxic if ingested 

If you’re looking for unique and whimsical flowers, the toad lily may be the right choice for you. They bloom from September to October, showcasing star-shaped white flowers covered with pink speckles.

The plant itself can grow around 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. However, the intricate flowers themselves are only 2 inches in size. Toad lilies are native to Asia where they grow at the shaded edges of forests.

Toad lilies are best grown in zones 4 to 9. Despite their delicate size, they are hardy plants that can tolerate both hot and cold climates. They favour areas that are fully or partially shaded. 

Like most lily plants, toad lilies are toxic. If any part of the plant is consumed it can cause nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. 

8. Hosta

Hosta
Credit: Ron Clausen by CC: 4.0

Scientific Name: Hosta plantaginea 

  • Ideal Position: Partial shade   
  • Difficulty: Low maintenance      
  • Toxicity: Toxic to animals but edible for humans  

Hostas have large, broad leaves that are green and yellow striped. They bloom during the summer months, bearing purple and white flowers on the ends of long stems. The flowers last only around 3 weeks. 

The long-lasting and magnificent display provided by Hostas makes them great for hanging baskets as the leaves spill over the edges whilst the flowers grow upright, adding height to the basket. Their ‘off-ground’ position will also protect them from the common slug and snail infestations that these plants are notorious for.

Native to Asia, hostas thrive in the shade. They grow best in zones 3 to 9 and favour rich, moist soil. Cooler temperatures around 30oF to 40oF are ideal for this plant, although they are cold hardy and can survive colder climates. 

The shoots, leaves and flowers of hostas are edible for humans and are a common delicacy in Japan where they are boiled, fried or eaten raw. However, hostas are toxic to cats and dogs. If consumed it can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. 

9. Creeping Jenny

Creeping Jenny
Credit: David Stang by CC: 4.0 

Scientific Name: Lysimachia nummularia 

  • Ideal Position: Partial shade   
  • Difficulty: Low maintenance      
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic 

Creeping Jenny is an ornamental, evergreen perennial. They are perfectly suited to hanging baskets as their foliage trails delicately and will quickly spill over the edges. They have long branches covered with small, green, rounded leaves. 

They work well used as a background plant or filler and are most often planted alongside other flowers. 

Creeping Jenny is so-called because is it naturally a ground cover shrub that grows and spreads very quickly. Although it only grows around 4 inches tall, it can reach 18 inches in width. 

Native to the British Isles, this plant thrives in partial shade. It grows best in zones 4 to 9 and requires fertile soil that stays moist. From May to August, creeping Jenny will bloom, producing small, bright yellow flowers. 

10. Trailing Lobelia

Trailing Lobelia
Credit: City Transport Info by CC: 1.0

Scientific Name: Lobelia erinus 

  • Ideal Position: Partial shade   
  • Difficulty: Easy to care for       
  • Toxicity: Toxic if ingested 

Trailing lobelia is a popular hanging basket flower thanks to its cascade of flowering stems. It blooms from summer till autumn, producing dainty flowers in a range of blue and purple shades. This plant is compact and makes a great filler for hanging baskets.

Native to South Africa, trailing lobelia is a perennial but is grown as an annual in the United States. It is most hardy in zones 10 and 11. Trailing lobelia is best grown in partial shade with fertile and moist soil to prevent drying out. 

All species of lobelia are considered to be toxic in varying degrees to both animals and humans. Consumption of the plant can cause vomiting, hypothermia, rapid heartbeat, coma, and potentially death. 

Shade Loving Hanging Basket Plant Care 

Although the plants on this list are all different species and have different care requirements, there are a few tips that can be applied generally, to help you keep your plants happy and healthy. 

Preparing your Hanging Basket 

Most hanging baskets are made from a metal frame lined with a fibrous and porous material, such as moss. These linings are both well-draining but also retain enough moisture to keep the plant well-hydrated. 

Other hanging baskets are made from plastic and have drainage holes in the bottom to prevent waterlogging.

Watering Requirements 

When watering, ensure the water drips out from the basket as this means all the roots will have received sufficient moisture. 

During the warm months of summer, you should check daily to see if your plants need more watering by seeing if the soil is dry to the touch. Ensure that the soil is kept moist but not wet consistently. 

Position

All plants on this list thrive in the shade, be it partial or full. However, all plants require at least some sunlight in order to photosynthesize and shouldn’t be kept in full shade constantly. 

Soil Requirements

Use a lightweight potting mix that has been specifically made for hanging baskets. Store-bought mixes will be well-draining and often contain fertilizers already mixed in. 

Fertilization 

Plants in hanging baskets should be regularly fertilized due to leaching. Choose a water-soluble or fast-acting fertilizer that can be added to your watering can and applied to the soil every 1 to 3 weeks during the summer months. A general-purpose 5-5-5 fertilizer will be sufficient.

Hanging Baskets for Shade FAQ

What are the most hardy shade-loving plants?

Both ferns and hostas are extremely hardy plants and can withstand cold temperatures, often surviving the winter freeze. 

Citations 

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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.