Bedding plants are used to create dense areas of texture and color in the garden, completely covering the ground with a bed of flowers or plants. Since so many of the plants used for bedding require full sunlight, it can be a little tricky finding bedding plants for a shady area. There are a number of plants, however, that will thrive in a shaded spot, producing a lush and green bed.
Pansies (Viola x Wittrockiana) are low-growing plants that are often used in annual flower beds. Pansies are popular for their range of flower colors, from white to black, purple, red and everything in between, even multicolored. Pansies will grow in just about any light conditions, from full sunlight to partial shade and full, deep shade. A little bit of sun will help produce more flowers, though the plant will still grow in complete shade. A member of the violet family, pansies are tolerant of most soil types, although sandy, loose soils should be supplemented with organic material. Pansies should be watered frequently during the growing season to keep the soil moist to the touch. These pest-free flowers should be grown in USDA zones 7 to 10 for best results.
Baby primrose (Primula malacoides), also called fairy primrose, is a low-growing flowering bedding plant notable for its rich green oval leaves and clusters of small flowers, available in colors ranging from red to purple, white and pink. The frost-sensitive baby primrose does best in a neutral, well-drained loamy soil in USDA zones 8A to 10A. The plant is quite tolerant of shade and can be cultivated in partial or deep shade, with great results. Baby primrose should be watered frequently to keep the soil moist. The plant produces its sweetly fragrant blooms in early spring, and if grown indoors, often early winter.
Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are a dainty, upright perennial that boast oval shaped green leaves and delicate clusters of blue or lilac bell-shaped flowers. A native of North America, Virginia bluebells are best suited to USDA zones 4A to 9A. The spring blooming plant is tolerant of a range of low light conditions, from partial, dappled sunlight to complete shade. Virginia bluebells should be grown in soil that is neutral or acidic and well-draining. Water the plant frequently to keep the soil evenly moist. Rarely reaching heights above 2 feet, the Virginia bluebell is an excellent plant for a low, natural looking woodland flower bed. Virginia bluebells also look lovely in a container.