Annual Flowers – Shade Tolerant Annuals

Date March 20, 2012

Impatien Annual Flowers

Red Impatiens – Annual Flowers

Most of the annuals we grow like sun. But there are some annuals that also do well in shade. They bloom in half sun as well in the full shade of your garden. To be more precise about annuals, all the annuals bloom for one season from seed to flower and seed and then complete their life cycle by the end of the season. Contrary to this, perennials live for three years or more.
Before we discuss shade tolerant annual flowers for your garden, we shall first look into the definition of shade. Any plant that casts their own shadow for at least 6 hours a day are considered to be growing in full sun light conditions. If a plant is able to bloom by sustaining 4-6 hours of sun light a day then they are called light shade annuals. Annuals which bloom sustaining 2-4 hours of sun a day are named as medium shade annuals. Full shade annuals are those which sustain sun for 2 hours or less.
If you are planning to plant shade tolerant annual flowers under large deciduous tree you should study the area during the day to determine how much sun light is filtering through the branches and leaves of the tree. In many cases there is more sun light reaching the ground than people realize. If this you true for your area you can use shade tolerant annuals. Keep in mind that the large trees also take nutrients from the ground and that you will need to keep a closer eye on watering and fertilizing. Below are some annuals for shade which you can grow in your garden.

Light Shade Annuals:


Crystal palace blue and lobelia blues brothers are the annuals which bloom in the medium shade. These easy and convenient annuals pellets are bound to become the seed of choice. They are one of the best edging plants.


This awesome two colored annual blooms in two different varieties. They are happy face hybrid mix and lemon drop hybrid. They love the shade as well heat and gives your garden gorgeous look blooming in colors like, blue, mix of plum, white color and blush pink. Good as edges and can be planted in containers and window boxes.


It blooms in various colors like rose, pink, red and white. Its followers are 2″ long and 1 ” wide. Nicotiana’s heaven secret grows to a height of 20-24″ giving your garden an elegant look. These can be planted across the borders of your garden where there will be little shade.

Cleome, queen mixed colors:

These are also called as spider flowers. This well-branched plant grows with open heads in soft pastel colors.  These flowers make a far-reaching statement in your garden. Good to plant in both your interiors and exteriors.


Popular as black-eyed Susan vine, this plant blooms trumpet shaped flowers. This flower bears triangular to hear shaped leaves. It blooms flowers in colors like creamy-white, orange-yellow, dark eye and orange colors.

Mimulus seeds:

This annual is grown for its special two-lipped and tubular shaped flowers. Mimulus blooms are mostly spotted with contrasting colors and are generally available in orange-red, red and yellow colors.

Partial Shade:

Balsam seeds:

This antique look annual is discovered in Southeast Asia and is very popular flower in Japanese gardens. This elegant plant sprouts in only 4-5 days and flowers early by growing up to 12-24″ tall. Its flowers bloom close to the center of the stem. You can cut the leaves of this annual to have a good view of the flowers.

Begonia, Non – stop mix:

Begonias grow and blooms freely creating ample colors in the garden. This annual is famous for their mass plantings and formal designs. Keeping up its name, begonia nonstop mix blooms continuously from June to frost. It enjoys partial shade and gives double- blooming flowers.


Impatiens can be grown in full shade or in part sun and are considered the queen of the shade annuals. They bloom in different colors varying from pure whites to deep burgundies and bold oranges to soft pinks. This annual is available in 11 different varieties. With a mind refreshing look of colorful pallets bringing a stylish look to your garden. While purchasing these at the nursery, make sure you are purchasing the right one you are looking for, they are easily mixed and hard to notice if they are all not yet in bloom.


Coleus having outstanding weather tolerance this annual is prized for its beautifully colored foliage. They can be planted in urns, tubs and garden beds. This annual can be used for bringing a charm to your garden borders and terraces. Coleus wizard mixed colors does magic when grown in containers and shady beds. Coleus resist flowering and contain only large shaped leaves. Although they can grow well in most soil conditions they do best when planted in evenly moist soil.

Elephant Ears:

If you are interested in a tropical look this annual is for you.  This annual grown from a bulb and has huge green leaves.

Pansies and violas:

These small country cousins are tougher to face heat of the sun and cold of shades. It blooms all over the season. Viola amber kiss blooms flowers in flame orange petals that are pierced with whiskered yellow center. They can be grown in flower beds around your garden and in containers across the borders.

Dusty Miller:

Dusty Miller is priceless. It grows with velvety and silver foliage and gives an elegant look when you grow them in the middle of your garden surrounded by different colors. They perform their best when grown in full sunlight.

If you would like help with your annual flowers and color program, please contact us, Niwa Design Studio, at 952-470-1882.

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