While summer thoughts may usually lean toward hot sunny days and bright tropical flowers, there is beauty to be found the deep, cooling shade. Take a respite from the blazing sun and plant up a pot that will thrive in the shade.
Choosing Your Plants
Choosing plants for a shade planting is all about the foliage. Flowers take a back seat to colorful, highly textured leaves. A great example are these Begonia hybrid called ‘Pegasus’. Growing to a full height of 12 to 18 inches, the Pegasus begonia sports a silver and dark green leaf top, with a dark burgundy underside. Its flowers are inconsequential in relation to the stunning foliage.
This subtle color pairs beautifully with Fuchsia magellanica. Often referred to as a hummingbird fuchsia, these flowers attract pollinators and bloom all summer in cooler shade temperatures. Fuchsia do not like temperatures over 90 degrees—they’ll drop their flowers, and you’ll have to wait for new buds to grow. Keeping your fuchsias in locations that only receive morning sun and are shaded through the hot afternoon will keep them looking great all summer long.
Finally, we have the centerpiece of the planter: Nephrolepis obliterata, better known as the Kimberley Queen fern. Native to Australia, the Kimberley Queen can grow to three feet tall and four feet wide, making it a showstopper of a centerpiece. It is also highly tolerant of changes in temperature and moisture, making it an easy plant to care for.
Watch Your Creation Grow
Arranging these plants in a simple symmetrical design allows each to shine in their own way while still playing up their inherent contrasts. Water well regularly, and allow your shade to shine this summer with your own foliage-based plantings.