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Our Favorite Annual Hanging Baskets for Sun and Shade

Updated: May 7

Hanging baskets are the perfect way to make the most of your space and add dimension, texture, and color to your yard, porch, or balcony. Here are some of our favorites annual hanging baskets for both sun and shade!

Hanging Baskets for Sun



A summertime staple, geraniums are versatile and heat tolerant. They have a mounding or semi-trailing habit and are available in a variety of colors. Their preferred location is morning sun and some afternoon shade - they can also thrive in full sun as long as you don't let them fully dry out. To encourage new, full blooms all summer, feed every 10-14 days and deadhead spent blooms.


The number of Begonia varieties out there is truly astounding. One of our favorite full-sun varieties (that can also grow in part shade) is Dragonwing Begonia. One of the most popular plants for porch pots and combos, this plant also does great in a hanging basket. With blooms that will flower from spring through frost, it’s no wonder this is a timeless classic. Dragonwing Begonias are heat tolerant, can handle a few skipped days of watering, have a nice branching habit, and require no pruning or dead heading. Available in pink and red at Painters this season.


Another favorite Begonia, the Giant Wax Begonia, is a hybrid cross between wax and angel wing begonias. It's vigorous, bushy, and heavy-blooming. With a tidier upright habit, it makes for a fabulous 'thriller' component to a combo pot as well as making a full basket on its own. It appreciates full to partial sun and evenly moist soil, and will bloom spring through fall. Big color, big size, big impact!


The beautiful trailing habit and abundant fan-shaped flowers of this unique plant are sure to intrigue you and your guests all summer long. Sometimes know as the 'Fairy Fan Flower' this annual will live up to its name as it spills over the side of your hanging basket. In a hot and humid climate this annual will offer blooms from early spring until first frost. Its thick stems provide an extra layer of drought tolerance making it a perfect choice for hanging baskets, which tend to dry out quicker than pots. It does not need to be pinched back, requires little in the way of fertilizing, and can bounce back from a few skipped days of watering.


Petunias are a timeless garden favorite, offering big impact with bright blooms in a limitless array of colors from early spring to first frost. These plants are easy to care for but do not like to dry out and may require twice daily watering on hotter days. While petunias can tolerate part sun they give off their best show in full sun. There are endless varieties to choose from - we typically grow Cascadias (large blooms, cascading habit), Shockwaves (very long bloom season, small profuse blooms are more weather-hardy), and E3 Wave (vigorous and lush) cultivars in a vast range of colors. The only question is which color will you pick?


Also known as Million Bells, Calibrachoa is a full-sun annual with a gorgeous mounding and trailing growth habit available in single or double blooming and a multitude of colors. The blooms are similar to that of its cousin, the petunia, but miniature! And what its flowers lack in size they make up for in abundance. These bright blooms also attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your front porch or garden. Like the petunia, million bells enjoy full sun to part sun, but you’ll get the most blooms in 6+ hours of full sun. Calibrachoa's flowers will go strong through the heat of summer and it does not require deadheading to stay in bloom. Keep their soil evenly moist but be wary of overwatering! Occasional feed helps too!


This annual flowering succulent offers some of the brightest blooms in an array of pinks, oranges, yellows, and purples, and is a great choice for someone who prefers low maintenance plants. Its flowers open and close with the sun, so be sure to keep this plant in a full sun spot to enjoy the bright pops of color that emerge anew every morning. Because it is a succulent, this plant can tolerate high heat, drought conditions, and requires less frequent watering than other annuals on this list. This low maintenance plant only requires water when the top 1/2-1" is completely dry.


Lantana is a profuse flowering plant that will provide a long-lasting show of color. Plus this beauty is a tried-and-true butterfly favorite! Versatile and easy to grow, it blooms best in full sun (6+ hours per day) and is quite tolerant of hot and dry conditions which makes it an excellent choice for a hanging basket. Deadhead spent flowers regularly to promote new blooms, and if plants become leggy by midsummer, cut back by up to one-third.

Hanging Baskets for Shade



Purple Swedish Ivy and Variegated Swedish Ivy

Popular as a houseplant for years, Swedish Ivy grows well as an annual hanging basket for shady or partially shady spaces. The variegated variety has bicolored foliage and is also an excellent filler or spiller for container combinations. Both varieties have textured and fragrant foliage with small tubular blooms in optimal conditions. Swedish Ivy is easy to grow, heat tolerant, and nontoxic to pets and humans.


Torenia, also known as Wishbone Flower, is a delightful shade-loving alternative to those full-sun Million Bells! The colorful blooms are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds as well as people! Semi-trailing and tolerant of heat and humidity, this annual will brighten up shady areas with several colors to choose from. And the summer-long blooms require minimal deadheading. If plants become leggy by midsummer, cut back by up to one-third.


Streptocarpella, also known as a False African Violet, or Nodding Violet, has airy, dainty blooms all season and is loved by hummingbirds and Painter's staff alike! Choose from lilac-blue or white. Streptocarpella is a beautiful, easy-care choice for brightening up shady spots. It's also a great filler with other plants in shady combination pots or baskets. And shade is essential: some early morning or late evening sun is fine, but bright, full sun will burn the foliage. Water with tepid water or apply water to the base to avoid cold-water damage on the leaves. Then after the summer season is over, move it indoors to bright indirect light for a happy houseplant! (Avoid putting it outside too early in the season and bring it inside before nights get chilly in the fall.)



As we said before, there are so many varieties of begonias! These Hula Series Begonias, Non-Stop Begonias, and other large-bloom, trailing begonias appreciate dappled sun to part shade (Dragonwing and Bigleaf Begonias can also be grown in the same conditions). The ultra glossy trailing foliage and non-stop blooms all season make for a lovely hanging basket - combined with this begonia's durability and heat and drought tolerance, it's a true winner!


There are almost as many names as there are varieties of this shade-loving plant. Tradescantia, also commonly known as Wandering Jew, Wandering Dude, and Wandering Jewel, is a trailing annual or houseplant. It appreciates lightly moist soil and part shade. Darker-leafed varieties can tolerate more sun. Pinching back and pruning encourages bushier growth, and you can let them go and watch them reach 3-4' in length by fall! It's the perfect patio plant as it can be overwintered indoors to be enjoyed year after year!


These hybrid impatiens enjoy part shade, so make for a beautiful addition to a shady porch. New Guinea impatiens are perfect for someone who likes a tidier look as they do not trail but have a nice upright, mounded habit and will fill out a basket beautifully from spring through autumn. Available at Painters in a variety of colors, you can also consider pairing them with trailing plants like Dichondra Silver Falls or Sweet Potato Vine if you do want to add some spilling plants to your basket. These easy-to-grow plants are low maintenance and require moderate watering. They do appreciate a liquid feed every two weeks or so.



And of course, our absolute favorites for shade, and what Painters is known for: FERNS!

Read all about choosing your favorite or the best fit for your space in our Blog: Which Tropical Fern is Right for Me? Note that we are almost out of the Macho Ferns and getting low on the Kim Queens - may even sell out of the Bostons by the end of this weekend!


Updated from the 2022 Blog: Hanging Baskets for Sun

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