20 July 2024
Discover the best container plants for north-facing locations! Transform dull corners into vibrant spaces with thriving plants that thrive in limited sunlight.

If you’re looking to bring life and color to a north-facing location but aren’t sure which plants will thrive in the limited sunlight, look no further. In this article, you’ll discover a curated selection of the best container plants for north-facing locations. From vibrant foliage to stunning blooms, these plants will not only survive but thrive in areas with limited sunlight. Say goodbye to dull and gloomy corners and hello to a flourishing and vibrant space. Get ready to transform your north-facing area into a green oasis with this expertly chosen collection.

Best Container Plants for North-Facing Locations

Understanding North-Facing Locations

What are north-facing locations?

North-facing locations refer to areas that receive very minimal direct sunlight throughout the day. These spots typically face towards the north, away from the path of the sun, resulting in limited exposure to sunlight. As a result, these locations tend to be cooler and shadier compared to other parts of a garden or outdoor space.

Factors affecting north-facing locations

Several factors can impact the conditions and suitability of north-facing locations for growing plants. These factors include:

  • Shade: Since these areas receive minimal direct sunlight, they tend to have more shade than other parts of the garden. The degree of shade can vary depending on factors such as the presence of tall trees or nearby buildings that may cast shadows on the area.

  • Temperature: North-facing locations generally experience cooler temperatures due to reduced exposure to sunlight. This can affect the types of plants that can thrive in these areas, as some may be more sensitive to colder temperatures.

  • Moisture: The lack of direct sunlight in north-facing locations can also affect moisture levels. These areas may retain more moisture and have higher humidity compared to sunnier spots. It’s important to consider the moisture needs of plants when choosing suitable options for these locations.

  • Wind: North-facing locations may be more exposed to wind, especially if they are situated in open spaces. The wind can further affect the temperature and moisture levels, which can impact plant selection.

Best Container Plants for North-Facing Locations

Considerations for Choosing Container Plants

Light requirements

When selecting container plants for north-facing locations, it’s crucial to choose species that can thrive in low light conditions. Look for plants that are labeled as suitable for shade or partial shade. These plants have adapted to lower light levels and are better equipped to grow in north-facing areas.

Temperature tolerance

Since north-facing locations tend to be cooler, it’s important to choose plants that can tolerate colder temperatures. Opt for plants that are hardy and can withstand fluctuations in temperature. Research the specific plant’s temperature requirements and choose varieties that are suitable for your climate.

Moisture needs

As mentioned earlier, north-facing locations may have higher moisture levels due to reduced sunlight. Consider plants that can handle moister conditions without being prone to rot or fungal issues. Look for species that prefer moist soil or have good drainage to avoid waterlogging.

Space availability

Before selecting container plants, assess the available space in your north-facing location. Some plants may require more room to grow, while others can thrive in smaller containers. Choose plants that fit well within the space you have and won’t outgrow their containers too quickly.

Aesthetic appeal

While functionality is important, don’t forget about the overall visual appeal of your container plants. Consider the colors, textures, and shapes of the plants to create an aesthetically pleasing garden space. Combining different plant varieties can add visual interest and create a vibrant display.

Best Container Plants for North-Facing Locations

Best Container Plants for North-Facing Locations

Now that you have a better understanding of north-facing locations and the considerations for choosing container plants, let’s explore some of the best plant options for these areas:

1. Hostas

Hostas are known for their ability to thrive in shade or partial shade. These plants have attractive foliage with a variety of colors and textures, making them a popular choice for north-facing locations. They are low-maintenance and can add a touch of elegance to any container garden.

2. Ferns

Ferns are renowned for their ability to grow in low light conditions, making them an excellent choice for north-facing locations. They come in a range of sizes and varieties, adding a lush and tropical feel to your container garden. Ferns also work well in hanging baskets or as filler plants in larger containers.

3. Camellias

Camellias are known for their stunning flowers and are good options for north-facing locations that receive limited sunlight. Their glossy leaves and exquisite blooms bring a touch of elegance and beauty to any container garden. Choose camellia varieties that are specifically suited for cooler climates.

4. Heucheras

Heucheras, also known as coral bells, are versatile plants that can tolerate both shade and sun. They come in a variety of colors, ranging from lime green to deep purple, making them a great addition to any container garden. These plants also provide attractive foliage that adds texture and interest.

5. Geraniums

Geraniums are popular container plants that can thrive in north-facing locations. They come in a wide range of colors and are known for their vibrant blooms. Geraniums prefer partial shade and can brighten up any container garden with their cheerful flowers.

6. Begonias

Begonias are another excellent choice for north-facing locations as they can tolerate low light levels. These plants feature beautiful foliage and produce stunning flowers in various colors. Begonias are versatile and can be grown in hanging baskets, pots, or mixed with other plants in larger containers.

7. Lamiums

Lamiums, also known as dead nettle, are ground-covering plants that thrive in shade or partial shade. They have variegated leaves and often produce small, delicate flowers. Lamiums are perfect for adding texture and color to container gardens while requiring minimal maintenance.

8. Impatiens

Impatiens are well-known for their ability to grow in shady areas, making them a suitable choice for north-facing locations. These plants produce vibrant flowers in various shades and can thrive in containers, hanging baskets, or window boxes. Impatiens are also relatively low maintenance and provide continuous blooms throughout the season.

9. English Ivy

English Ivy is a hardy vine that can tolerate shade and is an excellent option for trailing down containers or adding vertical interest. It has attractive, glossy leaves and can quickly fill in spaces within the container garden. English Ivy is a great choice for creating cascading or trailing effects.

10. Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are versatile plants that can grow in both sun and shade. While they prefer full sun, they can still thrive in north-facing locations with some indirect light. These plants produce vibrant flowers in shades of orange, red, and yellow. Nasturtiums are also edible, with both the flowers and leaves adding a peppery flavor to salads or garnishes.

Best Container Plants for North-Facing Locations

Additional Tips for Success

To ensure success in growing container plants in north-facing locations, consider these additional tips:

Providing supplemental lighting

If your north-facing location receives very little natural light, consider supplementing it with artificial lighting. LED grow lights or fluorescent lights can provide the necessary light spectrum for plant growth. Position the lights close to the plants and ensure they receive 12-14 hours of light per day.

Choosing the right container

Select containers that have good drainage to prevent waterlogging. Avoid dark-colored containers, as they can retain heat and potentially harm the plants. Opt for light-colored or glazed containers that can reflect sunlight and keep the soil temperature moderate.

Using well-draining soil

Choose a well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for container plants. This will help prevent waterlogged roots and ensure proper moisture levels for the plants. Consider adding perlite or vermiculite to the soil mix to improve drainage further.

Regular watering and fertilizing

Check the moisture levels in the containers regularly and water the plants as needed. While north-facing locations may retain more moisture, it’s important not to overwater the plants. Fertilize your container plants regularly with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to provide them with essential nutrients.

Protecting plants during extreme weather

North-facing locations may be more susceptible to cold winds or frost damage. During extreme weather conditions, consider moving your container plants to a more sheltered area or provide them with additional protection, such as covering them with frost cloth.

Monitoring and addressing pests or diseases

Regularly inspect your container plants for any signs of pests or diseases. North-facing locations with higher humidity levels may be more prone to certain diseases such as powdery mildew. Act promptly if you notice any issues and treat or remove affected plants as necessary.

Best Container Plants for North-Facing Locations


By understanding the characteristics of north-facing locations and considering the specific needs of container plants, you can successfully create a beautiful and thriving container garden in these areas. Remember to choose plants that are suited for low light conditions, have the ability to tolerate cooler temperatures, and have appropriate moisture needs. With the right choices and proper care, you can enjoy the benefits of container gardening in your north-facing locations all year round.

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