The Best Annual Flowers for Shade

Annual flowering plants complete their life cycles within one year. This includes germination, flowering and producing seeds. Many varieties of annual plants that produce flowers grow best in sunny locations, though there are varieties that tolerate shady conditions. A gardener who wants to plant an annual flower garden in the shade can choose from a variety of plants that will brighten the area with colorful blooms.


Jacobinia (Justicia carnea) is also called flamingo plant because of its cluster-like plumes of rosy pink flowers that resemble a flock of pink flamingos. These annual flowers bloom in the summer throughout fall. Jacobinia will die to the ground in areas where temperatures fall into the 20s, and re-sprout in springtime. It is an attractive addition to shady flower gardens and containers, and as a taller background plant. Jacobinia attracts hummingbirds to its blooms. The plant grows slowly, reaching heights of 3 to 6 feet with a spread of 2 to 3 feet. It tolerates growing in full to partial shade in a variety of well-draining acidic or alkaline soils. Jacobinia has low drought tolerance and requires regular applications of water for proper growth and flowering. The plants also have a low tolerance for salt spray.


Impatiens (Impatiens) makes a colorful addition to shady gardens. It grows well in both partial and full shade conditions. Depending on the cultivar, the flowers bloom in a wide array of colors, including pink, red, orange, white, purple, lavender and mixes of several. It grows well planted in containers and hanging baskets, along borders or in annual flower gardens. Butterflies are attracted to the blooms. The plants grow at a medium rate of speed and reach up to 1 foot tall and wide at maturity. Impatiens has no drought tolerance, and requires regular applications of water, especially in hot, dry regions. It tolerates a wide range of soils that drain, but grows best in soil rich with organic matter.


Pansy (Viola wittrockiana), also called viola, grows best in partial shade, making it an attractive addition to annual flower gardens, along borders, and in hanging baskets and containers. Pansies grow best when planted during the cool temperatures of spring. Hot climates shorten the lifespan of pansies, as they are intolerant of hot, dry conditions. A variety of cultivars produce spring flowers ranging in white, blue, purple, lavender, yellow and orange as well as bicolors. Plants grow 4 to 10 inches tall and have an average spread of 6 inches. Pansies grow best in well-draining soil mediums rich in organic matter, and require regular watering as plants have a low tolerance for drought.

Keywords: shade-loving annuals, shady annual flowers, shade-loving plants

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.