Top 10 Shade Loving Plants For Your Balcony

For those of us who want to create green oases on their balconies, shade-tolerant plants are key. With limited direct sunlight, your options for planting might seem scarce, but let me reassure you that from our experience of having a balcony garden for a few years, there are plenty of options.

In general, plants with thick, soft, or large leaves are better suited to low-light conditions, while those with narrow or finely divided leaves usually prefer brighter spots. While there are always exceptions, it’s a helpful rule of thumb if you’re looking at plants in the garden centre.

In this article, we’ll show you our top 10 plants for shady balconies. So let’s get started.


Hydrangeas bring lush, voluminous blooms to shady balconies. With extravagant flowers in a wide variety of colours, they’ve become one of our favourite plants.

If you choose to add a hydrangea into your garden, make sure to choose a big enough pot for your plant to keep it healthy for years to come. Take a look at our complete pot-buying guide by clicking here if you’d like more information.


Clematis vines offer a stunning display of flowers in various colours and shapes, brightening up the shady corners of your balcony. They’re very generous plants, often blooming in early summer and then again in late summer, giving colour to your space for months at a time. We’d recommend choosing Clematis Montana for full shade or Clematis Macropetala for partial shade.


Begonias are reliable bloomers, adding pops of colour to shady balconies from early summer until the first frost. Their compact size makes them perfect for small containers, so they’re an easy addition to any sized balcony, or even a window box.


Hellebores are prized for their early blooms, adding delicate flowers to the shady corners of balcony gardens from winter to spring. Originating from woodland edges, they thrive in areas of dappled shade and provide beautiful blooms before most other plants have flowered, making them a great choice for your balcony if you appreciate seeing colour all year round.


With their colourful foliage that lasts year-round and tolerance for various light conditions, Heucheras are a must-have for shady balconies. They’re most commonly used for ground cover and filling spaces between other plants, which is great for adding texture and interest to the containers on your balcony.


Brunneras are known for their heart-shaped leaves and delicate forget-me-not-like flowers, brightening up shady spots in your balcony garden. Like Heucheras, Brunnera are great plants for filling spaces, providing beautiful foliage year-round.


Ferns are classic choices for shady areas, as they add luscious greenery and an interesting texture to any balcony garden. Ferns require very little maintenance, just needing to be well watered and with the occasional prune to remove dead leaves after winter.


Herbs are a great choice for balcony gardens, adding beauty and flavour to your space. They thrive in shady spots and are perfect for both cooking and garnishing, meaning that you can have some produce from your work, even if you don’t have the space to grow vegetables.

Some shade-loving herbs include wild garlic, watercress, tarragon, lovage, Japanese parsley, coriander, mint, parsley, chives, woodruff, and wasabi. We grew many of these herbs on our shaded balcony, and they yielded plentiful harvests—far more than we could ever use!

Bulbous Lilies

Bulbous lilies bring bold blooms to shady balconies with their stunning flowers. Supermarkets usually sell them for a few pounds during the spring, which make them a cheap and easy buy to brighten up your balcony.

After they’ve finished flowering, we’d recommend cutting of the head of the plant to focus its energy back into the bulb so that you get an even more beautiful display next year.


Caladiums are prized for their exotic foliage, bringing tropical vibes to shady balconies with their vibrant colours. You can plant the tubers in early spring and see beautiful blooms in the summer, making them a great plant for quick colour in your garden.


With the right plants, shady spots on your balcony can still be vibrant and lush with foliage and bright blooms. If you’ve also got sunny sections of your balcony garden, we’d recommend that you see our top 10 perennials for your balcony garden, so you can have blooms coming back year after year.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in making the most out of your garden space, check out our complete guide to vertical gardening here.

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