Colorful Plants for Containers

Q: I live in North Georgia (zone 7b) and I would like to place 2 large pots (container garden) on either side of our front door with a variety (about 3) of easy to care for, but colorful plants. The front of our house stays in the shade for the better part of the day. Any suggestions on what plants I should use?

Hardiness Zone: 7b

Marnita from Cumming GA

A: Marnita,

For easy-to-care for annuals that do well in shade, you have plenty of choices. Impatiens makes a good choice because a large variety of colors and heights are available. Browallias, coleus, wax begonias and dwarf salvias are colorful annuals all tolerant of shade, too. Because your pots are large and they are going to be placed in a prominent location, plants with contrasting leaf sizes and colors will help keep things interesting all summer long. As long as you choose plant combinations that all have similar light, soil and moisture requirements, they should be easy to take care of. For the most dramatic effect, the tallest plants are usually placed in the center. Bushy plants are then placed around the front or on either side of the tall plant to soften the lines of the pot. The rest is filled in with trailing plants that can cascade down from the edges of the pot.


For a perennial combination that makes a dramatic statement in large pots or urns, try this trio. These three plants all prefer an acidic soil and a shady location.

Pieris shrub-get the Pieris hybrid 'Forest Flame' (This would be your tall plant. New leaves are a dramatic red color that changes to cream and then to green when mature. It has heavy clusters of white, beadlike flowers). Hardy to zone 5.

Lamium maculatum-variety 'Beacon Silver.' This plant would represent your bushy plant. Its leaves are silver with a green border and it has pink flowers. Hardy to zones 4-9.

Clematis alpina. This would represent your trailing plant (you can keep drape it around the pot like garland). The flowers are usually blue or violet, but there are also white varieties. Hardy to zones 3-9.

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February 28, 20060 found this helpful

Hi Marnita,

You're probably looking for tall plants that are visible from the road, but if short ones will do, I would suggest Hosta. They come in all kinds of shades and variagations, and they do well in the shade. Just make sure to give them plenty of water.

Good lluck!

Nancy from Pennsylvania

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