Every garden has a dark corner or two that needs brightening up. A great way to bring some color to your shady areas is to plant some shade-loving annuals. Annuals, which only bloom for one season, are usually easy to care for and quite hardy, even in the shade. In addition, most are not bothered by disease or eaten by animals. Several beautiful types of annuals thrive in dimly spaces.
Coleus (Solenostemon hybrids)
Coleus' claim to fame is its vibrantly colored foliage. Many different cultivars of coleus exist, with offer colors ranging from pinks to oranges, whites, deep purples and rich golds. Ironically, the flowers of the plant are often clipped so that the foliage can remain the star. This plant thrives in partial to full shade and will spread rapidly. Coleus can be overwintered indoors if dug up and potted, but because it is so easy to grow it is usually left to die and replanted again in early spring.
Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana)
Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana) are probably the most famous of all shade annuals. Readily available at almost any location that sells plants, this popular flower comes in hues of pink, red, purple, orange and white. Most impatiens grow low to the ground (between eight and twelve inches high) and spread very rapidly, making them perfect for planting under trees or to fill a dark corner. One of the most popular cultivars is the New Guinea, which features flowers as large as three inches across and plants that grow up to three feet tall.
Wax begonia (Begonia x semperflorens)
Wax begonia (Begonia x semperflorens) is almost as popular as impatiens. This sturdy plant can weather just about any conditions and will also spread rapidly to fill the low-light parts of your landscape. The leaves are thick and bronze or dark green in color. The flowers are also thick and come in hues of pink, salmon, white or red. Begonias are known for blooming all summer long, and can grow up to one foot in height.
Wishbone flower (Torenia fournieri)
The Wishbone flower (Torenia fournieri) is an uncommon shade-loving annual. If you can find and plant it, you will be rewarded with tall stalks of white, purple, pink, yellow or even blue flowers that resemble those of snapdragons. Some types of wishbone flowers have petals that feature two different colors. These plants can grow up to a foot tall and feature bright green foliage.