Newbie- need help!

marie2140September 21, 2009

I am new to gardening. I need help!!! I have an apartment with a nice large balcony which faces North and has a giant tree in front of it so I get no direct sunlight. I want to plant colorful flowers in pots all around the patio (lots of color!) I also have a long planter on my front porch which is currently empty due to no sunlight. (My veggies all died) This spot gets sunlight for about 1-3 hours a day max. (noon)

Any ideas on what to plant on the balcony and on the front porch?

Any help is appreciated!! '

I love Gerber daisies but not sure if those would grow. :o/

The list I have found so far online is this....

Begonia September plant!!!!

English Daisy (October!!)

Primrose (Fairy)


Primrose Polyanthus

Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata)

Columbine (Aquilegia sp.)

Foxglove (Digitalis sp.)

Other flowers that flourish in partial to medium shade include bulbs such as daffodils and narcissus (narcissus species), Siberian irises (Iris sibirica), tulips (tulipa species) and grape hyacinths (Muscari racemosum), so long as they receive sun when they send up buds and begin to bloom. Rhododendrons and azaleas also do well in medium shade.

Hepatica (Hepatica sp.)

Also known as liverwort or liverleaf, Hepatica produces long-lasting, daisy-like flowers of white, pale pink, or lavender that appear in early spring. This perennial prefers moist growing conditions.

Bleeding Heart

Toad lilies (Tricyrtis sp.)


Several types of lilies are also at home in the shade. Canada lily (Lilium canadensis), daylily (Hemerocallis sp)

Other favorites for dense shade include the Violet and Viola species, Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis)


Lily of the valley (small flowers)

Sonset Lantana (not purple) and confetti lantana

calla lily



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Here's my list of favorites for the balcony:
Winter (September-October planting)- wax begonia, impatiens, cyclamen, fairy primrose, obconica primrose, and polyanthus primrose. Delphiniums, leopard's bane, foxglove, common bleeding heart, and columbine do well as winter annuals in bright shade, but only bloom once in the spring.
Summer (February-April planting)- wax begonia (with fast drainage), wishbone flower, coleus, wandering jew, cigar plant, polka dot plant, crossandra, and ornamental sweet potato. Ixora, orange cestrum, and brazilian plumeflower are good summer-blooming shrubs for the shade.
Good bulbs for bright shade are common calla lily, caladiums, summer snowflake, grape hyacinth, and Dutch hyacinth--French-Roman hyacinth are even better here, but are hard to find. Most other bulbs need more sun than you are describing. Cannas will grow in complete shade, but need several hours of sun to bloom.
I can't honestly recommend trying to grow Lilium canadensis, toad lily, Siberian iris, hepatica, lily of the valley, and wild blue phlox here.

As for the front porch, an area with just a couple of hours of direct sun at the hottest part of the day is really hard to fill. Best bets are probably Mexican firecracker, yellow dot, hearts and flowers, trailing ruellia (Ruellia squarrosa), or Mexican honeysuckle, all summer flowering. Winter color can be provided by Chinese pink, nemesia, polyanthus primrose, or red-leaf wax begonia.
Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 7:33PM
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softmentor(z9/sunset13 CA desert)

North and shaded leaves you very few choices because of so little sun. I don't think eatables will grow. Best 2 for color are inpatients and coleus
Consider indoor plants that you can rotate into a sunny window too.
good luck

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 10:25PM
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