20 colorful plants for shade gardens

Plant some of these beauties for great garden color, even in shade

copper plant
Photo via Proven Winners

Copper plant (Acalypha wilkesiana)

Bronze-green, red, and orange hues splash these long oval leaves like watercolors that have run. More colorful than many flowers, copper plant is hardy only to 40°, so it’s often used as an annual. But we grow it in a big caramel-colored pot that basks on a lath-covered patio in summer, then gets moved indoors for winter.

The tender evergreen shrub has thrived in its 16-inch-diameter container for about three years now—pretty good for Menlo Park, California, where winter temperatures regularly dip into the 30s. It grows 18 to 36 inches tall.

Sunset climate zones 24 or H2; or indoors.

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