Covered Porch Plants – Growing Porch Plants That Don’t Need Sun

Outdoor Hanging Basket
hanging shade porch
(Image credit: njfochs)

Plants on the porch liven up the space and are the perfect transition from the garden to the indoors. Porches are often shady, though, making the choice of plant important. Houseplants are often perfect spring and summer low light plants, but there are other annuals and perennials that might be suitable as covered porch plants as well. Just be aware of their zone hardiness and be prepared to move them indoors for winter.

Are There Porch Plants That Don't Need Sun?

Seasonal color displays, mixed foliage, succulents and cacti – many of these will perform well as shade plants for the porch. Flowering plants will need at least a little bit of sunlight to bloom, but many foliage plants enjoy their best color in low light. Container porch plants for shade will still need regular water, as pots dry out faster than in-ground plants.

Low light plants like astilbe make excellent porch plants for shade. Even plants like hosta, which are usually focal points in the landscape, can be grown in containers. Some plants, like colorful caladium, may not be as brightly hued in shade conditions but will still thrive.

A wonderful way to use shade plants for the porch is in a large container. Select complementary plants with one large plant for the center, filler smaller species, and finally some trailing edge plants. A really impactful combo might be elephant ear as the focal species, surrounded by coleus as a filler and sweet potato vine trailing plants.

Flowering Covered Porch Plants

This is where the plant selection gets tougher because most flowering plants need bright light to produce blooms. Fuchsias will still develop their ballet skirted blooms, as will begonias.

Coral bells provide a diverse color and size range as well as get delicate, little flowers. Wishbone flowers make great fillers, as do delicate rose-like impatiens. Trailing lobelia and creeping Jenny have sweet, little blooms. Other plants that produce flowers are:

Larger Plants for a Shady Porch

If you want a pair of large containers flanking the stairs and need to have plants with big impact, there are still many species that will perform beautifully.

Japanese forest grass has an appealing variegated nature that is enhanced in low light. If there is some sunlight, an elegant Japanese maple is a wonderful focal point.

Dwarf arborvitae has classic good looks and ease of care. Nothing says southern charm like big hanging baskets of graceful ferns. Surprisingly, a hydrangea will even produce copious blooms and glorious foliage in shady conditions.

There are many plants that will be happy to share your covered porch.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.