You may have more plant options for a shade loving container garden than you think. Check out this recipe for a colorful pot in a shady spot. 

Partial Sun Container Garden

We have a bit of a challenging yard for doing much gardening since we have full sun in our back yard and nearly full shade in most of our front yard. After having removed some baby pines from in front of our garage, last year I wanted to fill in the space with some large pot container gardens.

Off we went to Lowes to find some pots and plants that might work for our fairly shady spot. I suppose it’s good that I forgot to post on this one last year, as now you get to see both freshly potted and full grown – like a little low tech time lapse.

So many full shade options don’t have a lot of color, so after much looking, I took a chance on a few partial shade plants along with the full shade options.

Here’s what I used:

  • Plastic soda bottles
  • Potting Soil
  • Dusty Miller
  • Coleus
  • Begonia
  • Grasses
  • Dahlias (not a good choice, do not use in shade)

Partial Sun Container Garden Mix

Since my pots were fairly large, I filled them half way up with empty plastic soda bottles. This helps with drainage and ensures that your filled pot isn’t crazy heavy.

Then I filled the pot the rest of they way up with potting mix, stopping a few inches from the top.


While still in their plastic containers, I set the plants into my pot to try to decide the best arrangement and what combinations would look best.


Once I had a layout I liked, I removed each plant individually from their original plastic containers, loosened the root ball for that plant, created a hole in my potting mix where I wanted each plant, and then planted each plant.


Once everything was planted, I gave it a thorough watering.


I liked the way my pots looked when freshly potted, but they only got better as the summer went on. Aside from the Dahlias that is, they did not survive my shady pot spot. I couldn’t believe how full all of the other plants grew. We watered periodically throughout dry spells, but for the most part, these were extremely low maintenance. They lasted through fall the middle of fall and the first frost.


I’m slightly wiser this year as I go into planning my container gardens, and here are some other plants that I’m considering for my shady spots this year.

  • Begonias
  • Coleus
  • Coral Bells
  • Hostas
  • Hellebores
  • Impatiens
  • Primula
  • Viola

I’m still up in the air on what I’m going to do with my pots this year, but I have a few weeks until I really start thinking about planting anything. How about you? Do you have any favorite container garden recipes?

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