It's the rare garden that doesn't have some spots with partial shade. Gardeners often have trouble picking plants to grow there. It's easy to find full sun flowers or plants that love lots of shade. But you can find many varieties of plants that thrive in that hybrid of zones, where dappled, filtered sunlight rules. There are always the standards, like hostas, impatiens or begonias. But there are also others that are not quite so common and add color and texture to your garden.
Firecracker plant (Cuphea ignea), also known as the cigar plant or cigar flower, is aptly named for its explosion of color each summer. The firecracker plant is a tropical perennial, grown as an annual above USDA Hardiness Zone 10. It's a subshrub that grows 3 feet tall and wide, with dark-green, lance-shaped leaves and bright red or orange tubular flowers. The flowers are favorites of hummingbirds and will bloom from spring until fall. The drought-tolerant firecracker plant likes full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.
Wishbone flower (Torenia fournieri) is a 12-inch annual bedding flower native to southeastern Asia. Its bicolor blue, purple, pink or white flowers are trimmed with white or yellow markings in the shape of a wishbone. The wishbone flower happily grows in partial shade; too little light will produce leggy plants. Give your wishbone flower plenty of water and place it in the cooler side of your garden. It will bloom all summer until the first frost.
Lobelia (Lobelia erinus) makes a powerful statement with its intense, indigo blue flowers. Lobelia, which grows 6 to 12 inches tall and wide, is happiest in partial shade and moist soil. Gardeners use lobelia as a border plant or in containers, because it sprawls and trails over edges. A native of southern Africa, lobelia will rebloom in late summer if you shear off the top 1 or 2 inches.