One of our favorite rooms in this house isn't really IN this house at all. It's the front porch, which we use as an outdoor living room. Summers in North Carolina are hot, but we're blessed to have a porch that's tucked into a cool, shady spot.
There's just one problem with shade: how do you get plants to grow there? Of all places, a front porch must have some greenery!
Here are some of my favorite plants for a shady porch.
Hosta. Yes, I know, most people plant hosta in the ground, where it comes back year after year. But a single hosta plant will grow quite well in a container, and this plant thrives in the shade. Tuck a little moss around the base of the plant for a finished look.
Ivy. Ivy loves the sun, but it will grow just fine in the shade. I usually purchase the tiniest plants available and plant two or more of them in my planters. I love the way the tendrils cascade over the sides. Bonus: ivy can survive the winter, so you can have green all year round.
Here's another idea. Remember, plants need light, but they can do well with artificial light as well as sunlight. I have lamps on my front porch, and the ivy plant under the lamp does especially well.
Coleus. Of all shade-loving plants, I think coleus is the best. I just planted the coleus in these planters, and it's already lush and full. Coleus is wonderful because it comes in many shades of green, pink, and purple--I like to mix varieties. This plant is a shade-loving winner! Do note that coleus does not like cold weather. Don't plant it outside until the danger of freezing is past. Coleus will last all through the summer and until the first freezing temperatures of the autumn.
Growing plants in containers is easy and rewarding. Just remember to water as needed (more often in hot weather). For added lushness, add some Miracle-Gro to the water every now and then.