The best annuals for shade include begonias, angel wings, lady's eardrops, impatiens, polka dot plants, wishbone flowers, flowering cabbage plants, flowering kale plants, asparagus ferns, duranta, coleus and Swedish ivy. They grow well with some amount of filtered or early morning sunlight.
Some shade-loving annuals for dry areas are balsam, cleome, English daisies, forget-me-nots, flowering tobacco, foxgloves, lobelia, pansies and sweet alyssum. These plants can bloom with a minimal amount of watering.
Many annuals prefer morning sun to dry dew and prevent fungus damage. For spots that receive morning shade and afternoon sun, gardeners can look at geraniums, giant red mustard, Mexican heather, sweet potato vine and Swiss chard. Certain begonias, such as Bonfire and Dragon Wing, also perform well under these conditions.
Annual plants add color, textures and shapes to shady spots in the garden, such as under trees and along the east side of buildings. They can grow in beds or pots, and they tend to produce a longer season of blooms than shade-loving perennials. Some plants are perennials in their native landscape but must be treated as annuals when used in cooler climates. These plants do not complete their full life cycle, so they must be replanted each year.