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Shade-Loving Trailing Plants

By Aileen Clarkson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Fuchsia flowers come in a variety of colors.
fuchsia image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com

Just because a spot of your garden is shady doesn't mean it has to be dull. Many shade-loving plants have bright flowers or striking foliage that can add color and contrast. Trailing, shade-loving plants can be used to cover the edge of a rock garden, dangle from hanging baskets or fall like a wave of water from a tall planter.

Trailing-Scandent Begonia

Trailing-scandent begonia (Begonia solananthera), also known as Brazilian heart begonia, can grow to 8 feet long, trailing its waxy leaves from baskets or even up a trellis. Most varieties of the trailing-scandent begonia have small leaves and bloom in clusters of pink, red or white flowers. It is a tender perennial that is treated as an annual in USDA Hardiness Zones below 10b.

False Lamium

False lamium (Lamiastrum galeobdolon), also called yellow archangel, is a perennial evergreen that is almost like a vine. Its 3-inch leaves are dark green, but a more decorative cultivar has variegated silver and dark green leaves. False lamium produces small spikes of yellow flowers in the late spring. It works well as a ground cover or trailing over the edge of a planter. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9.


Fuchsia (Fuchsia spp.), also known as ladies' eardrops, flowers almost continuously outdoors from spring to fall. There are about 100 species of this shade-loving plant. Fuchsia is well-suited for hanging baskets because of its trailing stems and bell-shaped flowers. The flowers come in pink, magenta, red, purple and white, and they can be double or single. It can grow to 6 feet or taller, but potted plants will remain more manageable. Fuchsia is a tender perennial that is hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11.

Licorice Plant

Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolatum) is a tender herbaceous perennial grown as an annual in non-tropical areas. It is hardy to USDA zones 9 to 11. Licorice plant has silver-green leaves that are covered with fine, white hairs. Its yellow and white flowers come in branching clusters. It prefers part shade in well-drained, sandy soil. Licorice plant's vine-like, bending stems grow to 3 feet long, making it an excellent ground cover or plant for hanging baskets.


About the Author


Aileen Clarkson has been an award-winning editor and reporter for more than 20 years, earning three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She has worked for several newspapers, including "The Washington Post" and "The Charlotte Observer." Clarkson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Florida.