Container plants made for the shade

This container's shade-loving plants are coloured contrasting shades of green and burgundy.

Shade-loving container plants

1 & 4. Hosta ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ (60 x 90 cm/24 in. x 36 in.; pale-lilac flowers and white-edged foliage; blooms August; zone 2) 2. Astilbe chinensis var. pumila (30 x 30 cm/12 in. x 12 in.; rose-purple; July to September; zone 3) 3. Brunnera macrophylla ‘Looking Glass’ (common name: bugloss; 45 x 45 cm/18 in. x 18 in.; sky-blue blooms over frosted foliage; April to May; zone 2) 5. Heuchera ‘Sparkling Burgundy’ (coral bells; 30 x 45 cm/12 in. x 20 in.; white blooms over deep- burgundy leaf; May to July; zone 3) 6. Corydalis flexuosa ‘Päre David’ (35 x 30 cm/14 in. x 12 in.; electric-blue; May to October; zone 5) 7. Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Rose Queen’ (syn. ‘Yubae’) (bishop’s hat or barrenwort; 25 x 35 cm/10 in. x 14 in.; deep-pink; March to May; zone 4)

The silvery overlay on the brunnera foliage, along with the white edge on the hosta, provides enough light to catch your attention in a shady spot.

Shade plants

The epimedium foliage is also a bright, light shade of green and the contrasting size of the foliage plays well off the bold hosta and brunnera leaves.

A punch of burgundy provides drama and contrast with the heuchera. The flowers are all in shades of pink and blue and appear from early spring until frost.

Care: This container should continue to be attractive for at least two or three years. Cut back faded foliage in fall and tuck the container in a protected area, watering only when dry throughout the winter. Place it in a bright location in April and top-dress with a controlled-release fertilizer; water regularly as needed. When the foliage begins to fill out, move it to a shady location out of strong direct sun.