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15 Best Plants for Hanging Baskets In Shade [Gorgeous Flowers and Foliage!]

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If you live in a shady or wooded area like me, you may wonder about the best plants for hanging baskets in the shade. Thankfully, there are tons of gorgeous plants to choose from that thrive away from direct sunlight, including lovely hanging basket flowers for shade.

These options range from delicate creeping thyme to showy bleeding hearts and tropical caladiums.

15 Stunning Best Plants for Hanging Baskets In Shade

So, the real struggle isn’t finding shade-loving plants but picking which beauties to hang in your basket. If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! I’m sharing my 15 favorite shade plants for hanging baskets and hanging basket flowers for shade.

Sound good?

Let’s begin!

My 9 Favorite Plants for Hanging Baskets In the Shade

1. Begonias (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum)

bright looking yellow begonia growing in hanging pot
Begonias are a classic shade plant with breathtaking yellow flowers. (They also come in other colors – like orange, pink, yellow, and red.) We love growing begonias in baskets because they’re the perfect low-fuss plant. They don’t mind growing in the sun. But we’ve read from multiple sources that several begonia cultivars love the shade.

A long-time favorite for shaded gardens, begonias come in an endless array of spectacular colors and grow beautifully as hanging basket flowers for shade.

Many begonia cultivars grow in an arching pattern that suits hanging baskets perfectly. They tolerate partially shady spots very well. And multiple begonia varieties will bloom all summer.

This gorgeous double white begonia is one of my favorites!

2. Ferns (Pteridophyta)

green ferns growing in flower baskets
Most ferns we’ve grown are bushier plants with ample green foliage. The term ferns usually refer to either Woodsiaceae or Aspleniaceae. Neither produces flowers. But – they still liven up your home and are famously easy to grow in hanging baskets. We’ve also confirmed from several sources that ferns prefer growing in the shade. Even though they don’t produce lovely blooms, ferns are perfect filler plants for your office, patio, deck, or front porch. (And – they don’t mind colder climates.)

Ferns grow all over my forest, and I adore them. They’re stunning non-flowering plants. Their prevalence in my woods makes me feel like I’m walking through Jurassic Park. (I don’t know your opinion about dinosaurs, but that’s certainly a plus for me!)

Ferns happily grow in full shade, and I’ve transplanted a few from my forest into hanging baskets on my cabin porch. I have a few varieties growing in the woods, but my favorite to pot in my baskets are Boston ferns:

3. Toad Lillies (Tricyrtis formosana)

pink and white tricyrtis formosana flowers
Toad Lillies are the perfect plants for hanging baskets in the shade during autumn. They blossom from September to early October and produce colorful flowers with pink and white speckles. Toad Lillies are tiny plants! Their flowers are difficult to notice from afar – so plant them nearby. Since they are small and love the shade, they also make excellent ground cover crops.

If you like whimsical, unique flowers, look no further than the toad lily as hanging basket flowers for shade. These little beauties are true lilies and produce colorful, show-stopping bell or star-shaped speckled blooms.

They thrive in full shade and well-drained, moist soil. 

4. Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra spectabilis)

beautiful hot pink bleeding heart flowers in hanging pot
Bleeding hearts are tremendously leafy plants with beautiful bright colors. We’ve seen bleeding heart cultivars with white flowers – and purple flowers. We read on the Wisconsin Horticulture Extension blog that bleeding hearts detest getting waterlogged and need well-drained soil. So if you hang your bleeding hearts in baskets – ensure it has proper drainage holes!

Bleeding hearts got named for their gorgeous heart-shaped blooms. They are a fantastic choice for a hanging basket. This graceful plant bears dozens of arched, sloping stems lined with its name-sake flowers. 

These beauties do well in full or partial shade. And they generally produce red, pink, purple, or white blooms. 

5. Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana)

lovely pink impatiens flowers in the garden
Impatiens are perfect plants for hanging baskets in the shade. They make lovely flower baskets with their rose, pink, purple, and white flowers. Hang your impatiens in the shade for best results! (They detest the hot afternoon sun.)

A classic, popular bedding plant, impatiens also shine in hanging baskets. With their variety of color options and abundance of delicate blooms, these classic cuties brighten up shaded areas with elegance.

They do prefer partial shade over full shade. And while impatiens will tolerate full shade, you may not see as much blooming or fullness from the plant. Plant them in moist, well-draining soil when the garden soil reaches at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. These are one of the best hanging basket flowers for shade!

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Read More!

6. Monkey Flowers (Mimulus ringens)

deep purple monkey flower blossoms
Monkey flowers are a rare shade-loving beauty with precious purple to blue blooms during fall. We were excited to read from the Tennessee Smart Yards blog that monkey flowers attract butterflies! We do everything we can to support our friendly pollinators – so these breathtaking flowers get extra points.

With their cheerful, interestingly shaped blooms, mimulus, aka monkey flowers, are an excellent trailing perennial to add to your hanging baskets. These delightful plants produce orange, red, and yellow speckled and trumpet-shaped flowers. 

Place monkey flowers in partial shade for the best blooms. Mimulus does well in moist soil. And mature plants even tolerate a couple of inches of standing water. 

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7. Creeping Mint (Meehania cordata)

mint - one of the best plants for hanging baskets in shade
Creeping mint is another shade-loving gem that makes an excellent groundcover crop. It’s famous for tolerating shady conditions. It’s the perfect crop if you want a lovely (and low-fuss) filler plant in a basket.

If you’re like me and love herb gardens, you’ll want to add trailing mint to your shaded baskets. I always grow them in baskets on my porch so I can easily pinch off a couple of sprigs for cooking and teas. 

Creeping mint will also look gorgeous in a hanging basket with its delicate tendrils of stems and tiny leaflets. They are wonderfully aromatic, thrive in partial or full-shade, and produce the most beautiful little purple flowers. 

8. Hostas (Hosta spp.)

violet hosta flowers growing in garden
Hostas are famously easy to grow. And they love growing in the shade! We also read on the Iowa Extension blog that hostas attract hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are among our favorite garden visitors! They’re beautiful and majestic. So – any plants that can help attract them get special attention from us.

With their wide, lovely green, and whitish-yellow striped leaves, hostas provide balance and serenity against brighter, more colorful plants. 

They’re champions of thriving in full shade. And they bloom white or lilac flowers from their upright stalks, called scapes. They grow well in filtered to full shade and thrive in humus-rich, moist soil.

9. Loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense)

rose colored loropetalum flowers growing in garden
We prefer the tiny Loropetalum cultivars for growing in baskets. They have lovely rose-to-violent flowers and thick, dark-green foliage. But did you know there are much larger Loropetalum varieties too? We read on the Mississippi Extension blog that some make the perfect landscaping hedges. They also mention October is an excellent time to plant them!

An evergreen shrub with varieties that display stunning red and purple leaves, loropetalums provide year-round elegance to your hanging basket garden. They bloom beautiful pink or red fringe flowers from late winter to early spring. While you can grow them as hedge shrubs, multiple varieties fare well in hanging baskets in partial shade.

Loropetalums grow best in moist, well-draining, slightly acidic (4.0 to 6.5 pH) soil. Once well established, they tend to be drought-resistant. And they are hardy plants overall. I love keeping these in my basket garden for that pop of year-round deep red to purple leaves. 

10. Creeping Thyme (Thymus serpyllum)

creeping thyme seedlings growing in pot - best plants for hanging baskets in shade
Don’t forget creeping thyme! Creeping thyme requires more sunlight than other plants on this list. (The North Carolina Plant Toolbox says creeping thyme needs six hours of direct sunlight.) Creeping thyme has other benefits, though. Some of the best gardening researchers we read write that it’s a suitable turfgrass supplement that bees love. If it can support bees, then count us in!

I always find that trailing plants with small delicate leaves and blooms like this thyme plant give a magical, mythical woodland feeling to a garden. This shade-tolerant plant is perfect for hanging baskets. It has a beautiful and delicate, vine-like stem and soft lilac flowers. I also love the edible and tiny leaves!

I love using my thyme for teas and in savory dishes. I just found some chicken of the woods mushrooms in my forest (score!) and cooked it with vegan butter, garlic, and fresh sprigs of my thyme plant – so delicious!

11. English Ivy (Hedera helix)

english ivy plants growing in hanging flower pots
There are two reasons we love growing English ivy in baskets. First is that English ivy is resilient and tolerates partial shade perfectly! But, English ivy also has a negative reputation as being invasive. If left unchecked, English ivy can suffocate trees and destroy property. So – grow and control them with caution! (Whatever you do – don’t let English ivy grow wild!)

If you’re going for a dreamy cottage vibe for your garden, it’s hard to pass up on growing English ivy in hanging baskets. They thrive in the shade and happily send out their lovely tendrils to curl around a porch railing or post.

A note about English ivy! English ivy can choke out other plants pretty quickly, so ensure they get well contained in their baskets.

12. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

lovely golden creeping jenny trailing and growing - best plants for hanging baskets in shade
Creeping Jenny is the ultimate ground cover crop that grows quickly – but tremendously low to the ground. If grown in baskets, it flowers over the brim like a raging jungle of green and yellow! Creeping Jenny tolerates shade like a champion – and is also surprisingly hardy.

With its thick vines of yellow-green button-like trailing foliage, creeping Jenny is one of my favorite ornamentals on this list. It works wonderfully as a stand-alone in a basket or a layered assortment. It may struggle in full shade, so make sure this cascading beauty grows in only partial shade.

I think this plant looks gorgeous against weathered barn wood and stone materials. We’re building a barn from reclaimed lumber, and I’m 100% planning on hanging creeping Jenny in baskets under the windows. 

And speaking of stone, if you have any retaining walls that need beautifying with trailing plants like creeping Jenny, check out our article on 13 Stunning Cascading Plants for Retaining Walls and Hanging Baskets!

13. Trailing Lobelia (Loberlia erinus)

lovely sapphire lobelia flowers growing in basket
Check out these deep purple and blue blossoms. We’ve read from some sources that Lobelia flowers love the full sun. But some sources also say lobelia cultivars tolerate partial shade. We’ve also noticed the existence of endless Lobelia varieties ranging from sky blue to pink. Each Lobelia cultivar appears to be as colorful as they are floriferous.

Trailing lobelia, particularly the true blue-flowered variety, is a beloved favorite for growing in hanging baskets. Growing their delicate blue flowers over the sides of the basket, they produce a show-stopping display of color and gracefulness. 

They grow well with morning sun and afternoon shade. They don’t tolerate cold well, so expect these lovelies to start dying back in the fall outside of Mediterranean climates. These are gorgeous hanging basket flowers for shade!

14. Coral Bells (Huecheras spp.)

coral bells ornamental plants growing in pots - best plants for hanging baskets in shade
Coral bells are another shade-loving plant. And they look beautiful in hanging baskets! They are relatively tiny (shorter than 12 inches) and come in a massive barrage of colors. We’ve seen coral bells with dashes of red, yellow, brown, green, purple, orange, and everything in between.

Another stunning evergreen pick, coral bells are shade-tolerant and will add texture and vibrant foliage to your hanging basket garden. Their leaves are round and sculpted along the edges, and the color of the foliage changes with the season.

Foliage colors vary from soft red, gold, purple, green, peach, and yellow. Colors tend to darken throughout the season, depending upon the variety. So, if you’re looking for a dynamic plant to add to your mix, coral bells are an excellent choice.

15. Caladium (Caladium x hortulanum)

caladium plant with pink and green leaves
Caladium sports some of the most exquisite green leafage on this list. Notice the thick green foliage with pink highlights. They are the perfect low-fuss plant for hanging in baskets in the shade. We’ve also seen caladium plants with thick white and green leaves.

Caladiums add a tropical feel to basket gardens. They feature large, striking striped, and speckled red, green, pink, and white leaves. The attraction of this plant is its vibrant, robust, and breathtaking foliage.

As a plant native to the dense tropics of the Amazon River basin, they do best with lots of heat and moisture but indirect sunlight.

What Are Your Best Plants for Hanging Baskets In Shade?

And voila – a diverse list of plants perfect for a shaded or semi-shaded hanging basket garden! Remember when choosing your plants to accommodate not only shade requirements! Also, consider the soil type and temperature needs of each plant. 

For example, the caladiums are a bit needier and thrive on lots of moisture and heat, while the hardy evergreen loropetalums are more cold and drought-tolerant. 

Did you see a new and fascinating plant on this list? Or an old favorite? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading. And happy gardening!

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2 Comments

  1. So very helpful, a big thank you. We are having a pergola built and I want to have two hangers in there so your article is just brilliant for me.
    I live in Jersey, Channel Islands. Very mild and our back garden is a suntrap. Attracting birds and bees is my priority and I haven’t used any chemicals for over 35 years.
    Happy gardening!
    Jenni XX.

    1. Hi Jenni! I am so pleased to hear that this article helped you! That’s precisely why we do what we do. 🙂 Happy gardening to you, too, and I hope you have a fantastic week!

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