Potted plants are an ideal way to add a dash of color to your porch. If your porch is located in a shaded area or is covered by a roof, you will want to choose flowers, plants and herbs that thrive in cool, shady spaces. Use containers that are large enough to allow your plants room to grow, and make sure that each container has holes on the bottom to ensure proper drainage.
Known for its bell-shaped, mix-colored flowers of red, white, magenta, pink and purple, the fuchsia (Fuchsia x hybrida) is an ideal hanging plant for a shaded porch. Fuchsias reach a height of 18 to 36 inches and produce flowers all summer long. Plant fuchsias in a growing medium that is made from equal parts of potting soil, sand, peat moss and vermiculite. During the growing season, water fuchsias when their soil surface appears dry. Reduce watering during the fall and winter when the plants become dormant.
Impatiens are one of the more common and popular shade-tolerant potted plants. These attractive flowers come in a variety of colors including shades of rose, white, pink, red and purple. Impatiens reach a height of 12 to 18 inches and thrive when planted in well-drained, moist soils. The plants that are grown in full shade will grow taller and produce fewer flowers, while impatiens that receive two to four hours of filtered sun each day will produce more blooms. Water potted impatiens when the top layer of soil appears dry.
Commonly used as a ground cover, the wandering Jew (Zebrina pendula) also makes an attractive potted plant that thrives when placed in areas of full shade. The wandering Jew reaches a height of 6 to 12 inches, has purple or red variegated leaves and produces a pink flower that blooms regularly throughout the year. Plant wandering Jews in moist, slightly alkaline, loamy soil and water them daily.
Although pansies love the sunshine, they also thrive when placed in cool, shady areas of a patio or porch. The delicate-looking blooms of the pansy come in a variety of both solid and variegated shades of pink, purple, blue, mahogany, yellow and a deep shade of near-black. Plant pansies in well-drained organic soil and water the plants when the top soil has become dry. Do not overwater pansies as they do not grow well in wet soil conditions.
Most herbs require full sun exposure, but there are a few shade-loving herbs that grow well in pots on shaded porches. Lemon balm, mint, parsley, sweet woodruff, ginger, spicebush, chives and anise hyssop are all herbs that tolerate shade. Plant these herbs in moist soil that is rich in humus and water them when the top layer of the soil becomes dry.
- Iowa State University Extension: Annuals for Shade
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Plants for Shade
- Gardening Know How: Plants for Creating Shade Containers
- North Carolina State University: Fuchsia x Hybrida Fuchsia
- Iowa State University Extension: Growing Impatiens in the Home Garden
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Zebrina Pendula Wandering Jew