Planters are a wonderful way to add unexpected color to places such as porches, decks, below windows or in those corners of your garden where it is difficult to grow plants. Planters are also an excellent way to bring cohesion to your garden and create a portable way to grow edibles such as strawberries, herbs or vegetables. Most plants and flowers do very well when exposed to partly sunny conditions in containers.
Bulbs are the best way to add early spring color to your containers. Once they die down, plant annuals on top of them. In the winter, set aside the container in a dark area, then bring it back out in the spring for the bulbs to bloom again. Tulips, with their tall stalks of brightly colored, graceful blooms, are a popular spring bulb, as are sunny, cheerful daffodils. Hyacinths add beauty and fragrance to any planter garden. Crocuses are the earliest spring bloomers and may even poke up above a thin layer of snow if you have your planter outdoors that early. All spring bulbs do very well in part sun.
Annuals are the perfect flower for your planter, especially if you plant them around and over your spring blooming bulbs. Impatiens are prolific bloomers in partial sun, and many varieties will spread quickly and even trail over the sides of your planter. Lobelia is another popular trailing plant and a great choice if you want to add the color blue to your planter. Pansies and primroses are both extremely popular with home gardeners and will thrive in part sun, blooming all summer long with brightly-colored flowers.
Many home gardeners love to plant edibles in planters, making it very easy and convenient to pluck an herb for a special recipe, grab some peppers or lettuce for lunch or even feast on strawberries while sitting on the porch. All of these plants can grow in containers and in part sun, especially in hot climates, although some varieties of herbs need full sun in order to really grow well. Herbs that are known to grow well in part sun include mint, chives and sage. Vegetables that grow well in part sun include most leafy vegetables and even some tomatoes.
Vines make a very attractive addition to any planter, especially those that trail. In addition, most vines thrive in part sun. Ornamental sweet potato vines, with their large, pretty leaves, are becoming a popular choice for planters. English ivy is a traditional planter choice that does equally well in part sun or even full shade. Morning glory, which can become invasive if unconstrained, is a smart choice for a planter where it is free to bloom without spreading unchecked.