These easy-growing plants don't need much light to thrive on your porch or deck.

By Jenny Krane
Updated June 11, 2020
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If you’ve got a porch or deck that spends most of the day out of direct sun, it can be a little tricky to find plants for hanging baskets that will brighten up the space. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to grow anything there; you just need to find the right plants for shade. English ivy, coleus, and impatiens all will thrive in a shady spot, while adding colorful flowers and interesting foliage. Marguerite daisy and annual lobelia help add extra flowers when it's cooler, but expect them to fade as summer heat intensifies. The rest of the plants will fill in by then to keep this arrangement looking lush all season long.

Tria Giovan

B: ‘Rebel Rouser’ coleus

C: ‘Versa Green Halo’ coleus

D: ‘Compact Royal Jewels’ lobelia

E: ‘Infinity White’ New Guinea impatiens

F: ‘Glacier’ English ivy

Denny Schrock

The marguerite daisy in the center of this arrangement adds height and dark green foliage to the mix. While most varieties feature light pink or purple flowers, ‘Butterfly’ has sunny yellow blooms. This species attracts pollinators, so get ready to welcome a few butterflies and bees. Marguerite daisy thrives in full or part sun, well-drained soil, and can grow up to 18 inches tall.

Buy It: 'Butterfly' Marguerite Daisy, ($10, White Flower Farm)

Edward Gohlich

There are many types of coleus, but all are known for their colorful and eye-catching foliage. ‘Rebel Rouser’ is a sun-loving, blended-leaf coleus that adds a punch of lime green, and 'Lime Time' has similar colors and loves the shade. Coleus is great for containers, but be sure to check the light requirements for each variety since there are so many; some need full sun, part sun, or full shade. Plant in well-drained soil. Depending on the variety, coleus can reach just 6 inches tall, or over 3 feet.

Buy It: 'Lime Time' Coleus, ($35, The Home Depot)

Dean Schoeppner

Coleus ‘Versa Green Halo’ has showy green foliage with cream in the center. This exotic-looking mounded variety adds a pop of light foliage among the surrounding dark green leaves and stems. Having just one plant with lighter leaves included in this hanging basket for shade makes it stand out. This variety grows up to 24 inches tall and can tolerate a range of lighting conditions, from full sun to full shade.

Buy It: 'Versa Green Halo' Coleus Seeds, ($4, Seed Empire)

Peter Krumhardt

Lobelia erinus ‘Compact Royal Jewels’ is an annual variety of blue lobelia with stunning purplish blue flowers. This plant complements the yellow marguerite daisies well and will spill over the sides of the basket. It thrives in part shade and well-drained soil, but expect the flowers to slow down when the weather turns hot.

Buy It: Blue Lobelia seeds, ($3.85, Etsy)

Peter Krumhardt

New Guinea impatiens have succulent stems and attractive foliage that create a wonderful backdrop for their large blooms. There are also many foliage variations of New Guineas. This particular variety has solid-colored dark foliage that makes the crisp white blooms stand out. 'Infinity White' impatiens can thrive in part or full shade, well-drained soil, and grow up to 14 inches tall.

Buy It: 'Infinity White' New Guinea Impatiens, ($35, The Home Depot)

Doug Hetherington

This versatile foliage plant grows well in a hanging basket and even as a houseplant, should you wish to move it indoors when cold weather returns at the end of the season. In this hanging basket arrangement, two English ivy ‘Glacier’ plants on either side create dramatic trails of cream-edged leaves. 'Glacier' can tolerate full shade, prefers well-drained soil, and only grows up to 6 inches tall (but it can spread up to 14 inches).

Buy It: 'Glacier' English Ivy, ($15, Amazon)


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