Coleus and impatiens are some good plants to grow in patio containers in the shade. Gardeners grow coleus, Coleus blumei, for its colorful foliage available in a variety of cultivars with foliage in green, red, cream, yellow and other colors. The plants grow quickly and produce flower spikes in the summer. Gardeners can remove these blossoms to promote additional foliage and bushier growth.
Coleus is easy to propagate, and cuttings take root in a glass of water without the need for rooting formula. Gardeners can also start seeds indoors eight to 10 weeks prior to the last frost and then transplant the seedlings to a container outdoors. An annual in most locations, the plant dies off in the winter unless the gardener brings it indoors.
Impatiens are also easy to propagate from seed or cuttings and are widely available as established plants in garden and home improvement centers. These plants are annuals in most zones in the United States and provide blooms in a variety of shades, including white, purple, pink, red and other warm colors. Impatiens thrive in partial to deep shade, and too much sun can damage the plants.
Impatiens are sensitive to drought, so gardeners should water impatiens daily and provide well-draining soil. When outdoor temperatures reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the plants may require water more than once a day.