The Best Outdoor Shade Plants for Spots That Don't Get Sunlight

No sunshine? No problem.

Shade plants, pink flowers

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As the temperature rises, it’s a great time to get out there and garden. While it would be nice to have a huge sunny backyard to grow lots of different plants, that isn’t the case for many of us. But the good news is that while a lack of sunlight can be somewhat limiting, there are still plenty of good outdoor shade plants to choose from. Whether you have a small covered patio, a city balcony, or a backyard with lots of large trees, here are the best outdoor shade plants perfect for spots that don’t get a lot of sunlight. 

Caladium leaves in pink and green tones

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Kaylyn Hewitt, lead floral designer at The Bouqs Co tells me: “I am so passionate about growing in small spaces. My own small patio in California has seen many different iterations and I’ve had to work with what I have, and it has turned into something I love.”

Hewitt is a big fan of growing caladiums in window boxes. “I love the variegation on their leaves. It’s fun to play with color.” 

Patiens blooms in reds and pinks

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Impatiens are another plant that’s easy to grow in places that lack an abundance of sunlight. “I’ve gotten the most mileage out of just one tray of Impatiens. They grow to be very full in partial shade and their colors instantly brighten up a space,” Hewitt explains. 

The only issue to consider is that these flowers need some shielding from the wind. So if you live in a windy climate, it’s best to consider another shade-friendly option.

Bright red nasturtium blooms with green leaves

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The floral designer also tells me that nasturtium does well in shadier spots. So, it's a smart choice for outdoor spaces with partial sunlight. “I love how it trails in containers," Hewitt says.

The beautiful orange, red, white, and yellow blooms add a cheerful pop of color to any outdoor space. These flowers are also edible and have a mustard-like taste—making them the perfect garnish for chic summer salads.

Alocasia plant leaves, dark green

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Alocasia 'Regal Shields'

The Sill's plant expert, Paris Lalicata, loves growing houseplants outdoors in shader spots during the spring and summer months such as Alocasia 'Regal Shield.' “There are some really beautiful options you can start incorporating outdoors in full shade once temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and night.”

This tropical evergreen plant is also known by its common name—the elephant ear plant. With beautiful foliage, it has large, somewhat ruffled leaves that have a dark green hue and purple undersides. They can even grow up to five feet tall.

Monstera deliciosa plant with dark green leaves

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Monstera Deliciosa

Monstera Deliciosa is one of the most popular houseplants right now. It can also be grown outside and then brought in during the colder months. “The best practice is to always do the research on a particular plant's light requirements to make sure they are getting enough [but] not too much!" Lalicata advises. "If you live in a more tropical climate year-round, the plants mentioned can be left outdoors year-round as long as they are not exposed to frost or freezing temperatures.” 

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