The Q&A Archives: Planting Annuals in shaded area

Question: I was told that annuals can grow with little sunlight. Is that true? I planted annual seeds under a tree and the area is well shaded. Will the annuals grow? or should I plant something different?

Answer: There are both annual and perennial plants with a preference for shady conditions so you can plant either. Caladium (Caladium bicolor) is a tender bulb that is often treated like an annual. The bright red, pink, white, and green leaves are the showy feature of this shade-loving plant. Each two-toned leaf is heart or arrow-shaped and displays prominently all summer. Plants are 2 3 inches tall depending on cultivar. Flowers are insignificant and rarely produced. Tubers or roots should be dug in fall and stored indoors over the winter.

Another tender bulb that is often treated like an annual is tuberous begonia (Begonia x tuberhybrida). The stunning rose or camellia-like flowers are available in pink, red, orange, lavender, yellow, or white. Leaves are thick, heart-shaped, and sometimes variegated. Plants are commonly grown in containers or hanging baskets. Just like caladium, the tubers should be dug in fall and stored indoors over the winter.

These are just a few of the many shade-loving annuals that can brighten the summer landscape. A few other annuals that tolerate shade or partial shade are: nasturtium (Tropaeolum), flowering tobacco(Nicotiana), pansy (Viola), lobelia (Lobelia), bachelor button (Centaurea), Pinks (Dianthus), bells of Ireland (Moluccella), forget-me-not (Myosotis), baby blue eyes (Nemophila), perilla (Perilla), fuchsia (Fucshia), and elephant ear (Colocasia).

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