Plants for Shady Window Boxes

A window box is a small garden that is held in place on a window by brackets or braces. These types of garden containers are excellent for someone who lives in an apartment or other small space that may not allow for a flower bed. Many window box flowers can grow well even when they do not get a lot of sun.

Tuberous Begonias

Tuberous begonias (Begonia acerifolia) are annuals that prefer plenty of shade and well-drained soils. They are native to South America and southern Africa. The plants are often used in containers on decks and can make an excellent window box plant. They have showy flowers that bloom in the summer and range in color from red, orange, yellow, white, salmon and pink. The plant typically grows up to 10 inches tall.


Ivy (Hedera) is a creeping evergreen plant that can climb as tall as 100 feet off of the ground. It has palm-shaped, lobed, dark green leaves. The plant can become invasive if it is allowed to expand. Ivy can survive in a wide variety of climates and soils. It is drought and shade tolerant and should be cut back when used in a window box to prevent it from overtaking other plants.


Impatiens (Impatiens scapiflora) are also referred to as touch-me-nots. They are annuals native to Europe and North America and are frequently used as container plants. The flowers bloom throughout the summer and range in color from purple to white and pink. The plant prefers shade and well-drained soil. It makes an excellent shady, window box plant as long as the bottom contains drainage holes to prevent over-watering.


Forget-me-nots (Myosotis scorpioides) have small, five-lobed flowers that are pink, white or blue with yellow centers. They are annuals that bloom in early spring and prefer full shade. The plants grow under a foot tall which makes it an excellent plant for containers. The plants need plenty of moisture and rich soils. Forget-me-nots are native to Europe and Asia and have been propagated to regions all over North America.

English Daisy

The English daisy (Bellis perennis) is an herbaceous perennial that is native to Europe. The leaves are small and rounded and grow close to the soil. The flowers are white, pink or red with a yellow center; they fold up at night and reopen during the day. It is often considered a weed on lawns because it will return after it has been mowed down. It adapts well to most soil conditions and can tolerate shade.


Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are annuals that can tolerate most climates and conditions. The face of the flower resembles that of a dragon and will snap shut when squeezed. They bloom from early spring through fall and range in color from purple, red, pink, orange, white and yellow. The plants can grow up to 3 feet tall and prefer moist, well-drained soils. Snapdragons tolerate shady conditions as well as full sun.

Keywords: shady window boxes, window box plants, shady window boxes

About this Author

Melanie Hammontree is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists and has been writing since 2004. Works include publications with "Hall County Crime Examiner," "Player's Press" and "The Gainesville Times." Hammontree has a Master of Business and is working on a Master of Journalism from the University of Tennessee.