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My mother has moved into a basement flat, which has a small light well in front of the windows. There are some iron hanging baskets hanging in the light wells, which are full of old leaves. I'd love to get her some colourful trailing flowers, but the only ones I can find are slightly swampy, cemetary-dwelling flowers. Please could you advise me of some bright, beautiful and not too funereal flowers that might thrive in this dark environment?
Do you want something that has Spring interest, which you can then add to for Summer interest too?
You could try some of these http://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/fritillaria-meleagris/3583.html Snake head fritillary bulbs, maybe mixed with a cyclamen or 2...to add some staggered height, then perhaps a small leafed ivy (white and green variety) and a small leafed fern like maidenhair?
Or otherwise a Lysimachia congestiflora "Persian Chocolate" like this one http://www.finegardening.com/plantguide/lysimachia-congestiflora-persian-chocolate-moneywort.aspx which needs to be kept a bit in check as can tend to take over and also maybe consider Geranium Phaeum which comes in many colours and has a lovely trailing habitat, often tolerating quite a lot of shade: http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/perennials/classid.2000002824/
Hope this helps
The classic summer bedding plant with bright flowers that grows in shade is the Busy-Lizzie (Impatiens). You can grow it in containers. Have a look on "Google". The other bright flower for pots in semi-shade is Begonia. You can buy the tubers now and start them off indoors in the warm to plant out after risk of frost. There are lovely trailing ones as well as more upright ones. If you want pots of flowers now have a look in a garden centre where they have flowering bulbs. Snowdrops are out at the moment and hyacinths.
I think that for colourful ground cover or even for hanging baskets Nasturium, they have a lovely orange and yellow flowers the self seed and come back on their own AND their edible !!!! a nice little addition to a salad with a peppery taste . I brought mine from seed lastyear and potted them indoors and once they was big enough they went outside and they died back at the beginning of winter and they will come back int the spring
Nasturtiums are lovely, but they like sun and don't flower properly in shade. The question was about plants for shade.
There is also a lime green lysimachia that lights up a shady corner by my back door. It is easy to grow and has white flowers. It a perennial and dies down in winter.
For winter interest I have added bulbs such as crocus, snowdrops and lily of the valley.
I'll have a look for that one jatnikapyar, sounds lovely.
I grow trailing fuschias on my north facing wall, don't seem to have any problems with them. Hardy (perennial) Geraniums are good in shade too.
wow - thank you all for that swift and detailed advice. Some of those look absolutely beautiful and I shall be acting on quite a few of those suggestions - the lime green lysimachia looks very promising. It IS very shady, though: I don't think any of the window boxes get any direct sunlight.