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Suggestions for year-round interest outdoor wall planter please?

I have two metal-framed semi-circular wall baskets (mangers?) attached to outside brick walls. They are lined with new coir and now filled with new a top soil, peat-free compost and perlite mix (approx.3:2:0.5). Although both get day light, one is in complete shade all day, the other only gets about 1-2 hours of sun each day. Last year I tried trailing fuchsias and bacopas but they never really grew and just slowly withered away. 

The walls are bleak 1970s brick and I would really like to fill the planters with each a mix of plants to provide contrast and year-round colour/shape. A bit of height (maybe up to 20-30 cm) and some trailing/cascading would be welcomed too, if possible. The colour/shape doesn't necessarily have to come just from flowers - stems and leaves are beautiful too.

So, knowledgeable members, any suggestions for 3-5 species each for (a) the partial shade basket and (b) the complete shade basket?

Thank you.


  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 750
    For part shade, what about heuchera, pansies, fuschia, dicentra and Lobelia erinus 

    For heavy shade, trailing violas, trailing begonias, coleus, ferns such as dryopteris and asplenium
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,427
    can we have a picture please
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,407
    I have a similar manger  and other  north facing planters and find evergreen ferns and Carex give some substance, while Primulas/polyanthus flower for quite a long time in shade, and you can add in other things in season if you wish. The Carex fan out nicely to give some height and there are some lovely varieties in different colour combinations.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 8,833
    Small-leaved ivies are more-or-less bomb-proof as trailers for shade. They're often sold with hanging basket plants at this time of year.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained

  • Thanks all for the suggestions. I like the Carex idea @Buttercupdays - unusual and not something I had considered at all.

    @Nanny Beach - I don't have a photo to hand but they are very much like these two (the trough one is in full shade) and about 1.5 meters above ground level.

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,427
    I was going to say ivy because you said you want all year round interest, the purple bugles are good in shade, yes heucheras,ferns, the ones that say "ever green" they aren't they die back in winter. a lot of the others first mentioned are not hardy, but you could add different ones as the seasons change. Bacopas like full sun.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,174
    I'd vote for ivies as well, perhaps a mix of different leaf shapes and colours.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
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