108 Container Gardening Ideas
Enjoy nonstop color all season long with these container gardening ideas and plant suggestions. You'll find beautiful pots to adorn porches and patios.
Take glorious fall color right up to your door by mixing the blazing tones of orange and yellow with cool shades of purple and blue. First, encircle a copper container with a bittersweet wreath (fresh or faux). To contrast with the orange berries, add "Lemon Ball" sedum and the regal hues of purple cabbage. Spice up the center with "Calypso Orange" ornamental peppers and "Cosmic Yellow" cosmos. Crown the look with a halo of Mexican bush sage. Stack pumpkins on the steps for additional color. Provide full sun and moderate water and the display will flourish through the fall. When it's done, just plant the sedum in your yard to continue the show.
The plants in this LSU-themed container all thrive in part sun and moist potting mix.
Let's hear it for elephant's ear! Its oversize leaves—the secret to this stately combination—create drama through scale. And they allow you to fill in the blanks with tiny, colorful flowers.
Tougher than Clint Eastwood, lantana parties in heat, chortles at drought, and blooms in a slew of sunny colors from spring to fall. Plus, its nectar-laden flowers attract pretty butterflies like moths to a flame.
The high-drama, low-maintenance container spotlights 'Variegated Spreading Salmon' SunPatiens, but leaves room for a foxtail asparagus fern and a 6-inch pot of 'Neon' pothos.
In the largest pot, working from back to front and tallest to shortest, densely plant 'Liberty Classic Yellow' snap-dragon, 'Bouquet Rose Magic' dianthus, and 'Tickled Pink' veronica. Place 'New Look' dusty miller and 'Lemon Ball' sedum in the front to trail over the edge. Pack a powerful, single-note punch in the two smaller pots by planting 'Supertunia Vista Bubblegum' petunia in the midsize container and more sedum in the smallest.
Similar pots: wayfair.com
Watch: No-Fail Formula for Container Gardens
Southerners used to have to choose between geraniums that could handle high temps and humidity and those that produced lots of flowers. But Calliope series geraniums were developed to offer the best of both worlds. This one's called "Dark Red."
Pair your tulips with Lavender Blue' and 'Purple Wing' Plentifall pansies, acorus, heuchera, variegated ivy, and 'Tiger' fern (a selection of Boston fern).
Check Etsy for similar pots.
Heat-tolerant geraniums, calibrachoas, and mecardonias in bright red, yellow, and purple shout a welcome in a cheerful way.
Take advantage of seasonal sales at your local nursery, and stock up on popular plants. Keep them in their nursery pots, and display them in galvanized buckets on the porch until you are ready to plant them in your garden. Recreate this look with gerbera daisies, salvias, shasta daisies, daylilies, and sweet potato vines.
Similar galvanized pots here.
Are you dreaming of a summer vacation, but the only thing on the horizon is more heat and humidity? It may not be a balmy getaway, but bringing the Tropics to your doorstep is a breeze with this combo: giant-leaved, sunny ‘Maui Gold’ elephant’s ear; heavily blooming, fiery orange SunPatiens; velvety, fragrant citronella plant; purple iridescent Persian shield; and a heavenly skirt of angel vine spilling down the sides.
Similar pot here.
Consider using a cast-concrete pool for a miniature garden. Because these pools are made to accommodate plumbing, there are already holes in the bottom that allow for drainage.
Red ‘Freida Hemple’ caladiums, a spider plant, and a ‘Little Gem’ Southern magnolia decorate a large pot in the corner and hide the downspout. Smaller pots of the same caladiums tie together the grouping.
Use plantings to enliven your outdoor table. This shallow bowl of mixed succulents makes a great centerpiece.
Use textural plants for extra drama. This homeowner added spiky and vertical plants, such as ornamental grasses and caladiums, to her pots.
Let your plants spill out of their container. A generous planting of golden variegated sweet flag (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’) fills this kettle, with golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’) trailing out and onto the gravel below.
Use containers to fill bare spots in your garden. This concrete planter, tucked into a planting of dianthus, is filled with tiny textured succulents, pulling you in for a closer look.
Add charm with hanging ferns—a quintessential feature for any Southern porch. Cheery containers also add inviting color to this porch.
Add color to your outdoor party with potted plants. There’s no need for a patterned tablecloth here. Potted petunias add all the color you need under the glass-top dining table.
Don’t ignore edibles when selecting your planting materials. Different varieties of lettuce have beautiful color and texture. Here, several leafy edibles mix with violas and mums.
Repeat your plants in containers and flowerbeds. Pots of violas climb these front steps, seeming to spill out into the flowerbeds for a lush, fluid look.
Coleus and lantana fit right in with the South’s increasing appetite for hot, cheery, assertive colors that stand up to heat and humidity.
Keep more invasive herbs, like mints, contained in pots in your kitchen garden.
Integrate planters into your hardscape. This poolside scene includes a trough-like container built right into the bank.
Use textural leaves for a more modern look. An assortment of plants in shades of green anchors this backyard corner and adds depth in the small space.
Frame colorful plants with a textured background. These vibrant ‘Molten Orange’ coleus provide a pop of color among textural grass plantings.
Transplants of cilantro, parsley, and chives are at their best in late winter months, both in containers and in the ground. Plant them in a shallow box, as pictured, and use them as an outdoor centerpiece.
Potted boxwoods offer formal elegance with little maintenance. This large American variety creates a living wall in a line of concrete planters.
As much as we love pansies and violas, they’re vertically challenged. Give them a lift by perching pots on benches and tables or placing them on your steps.
This pink ‘Dragon Wing’ begonia drips with flowers throughout the summer and into fall. Combine it with ‘Silver Falls’ dichondra for a splash of color against shimmering foliage.
Mix varieties of the same plant. Dwarf English boxwoods growing in the ground surround a terra-cotta pot planted with an American boxwood.
Get creative with your containers. This living gate rolls open to let you in and rolls closed for privacy. The structure starts with a galvanized horse trough filled with soil and planted with arborvitaes. A wooden brace attached to an old piano dolly on the bottom allows the container to move with little effort.
If you’re not yet color confident, choose one flower you love in a favorite shade, and stick with it. For more texture and interest, add foliage that complements the color of your flowers.
Cluster containers in one space for high impact. Look at the group as a whole composition, and plant it as a cohesive unit with complementary and repeated colors.
The natural hues of the sweet potato vine and pennisetum make the trio of pink geraniums, petunias, and angelonias pop.
Adding a bicolored viola to this planter ties together the two solid-colored varieties.
Daffodils are container-friendly options for spring plantings. Pair them with other spring bloomers with similar condition requirements such as grape hyacinth.
'Caliente Pink' geraniums, 'Surfinia Rose Veined' petunias, and 'Techno Heat Light Blue' lobelias create a soft and feminine color palette for this doorstep welcome.
The cascading form of ivy geraniums makes them ideal for hanging baskets and window boxes. This basket is filled with the ‘Sophie Cascade’ variety.
Impatiens are one of the best options for flowers that take heat and humidity. Lush mounds of potted impatiens border this pool.
Boxwood’s willingness to be clipped, shaped, and trained makes it the perfect candidate for a classic topiary.
Unlike cut blooms, a living flower arrangement planted in a container gives you color and beauty for months. Combine plants that thrive in the same growing conditions and offer colors and textures that complement each other.
Go tropical with Mandevilla. A prolific vine, it twines around any structure, and its large blossoms are knockouts.
The colorful foliage of caladiums has tons of drama. Pots containing three different caladiums add color and variety to this entry in summer. From left to right: ‘June Bride,’ ‘Pink Gem,’ and ‘Aaron’
Window boxes needn’t be hung only below windows. This charming barn gets even more character from being accented by window box plantings.
Forgiving succulents are both heat and drought tolerant, so they'll look great all summer long.
This shade-loving combo adds color to any entry.
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Go-to grasses and can't-fail lantanas mark the advent of a bright new season.
- Get the Planting Guide
When filling a show-stopping window box, don't hesitate to use small evergreen shrubs or perennials, which last throughout the seasons. In the fall, turn to mums, kales, pansies, violas, and snapdragons for color, and then add a few daffodil or tulip bulbs for a pop in the spring.
Easy and versatile, collards have graced Southern gardens and tables for generations. A cousin to kale and cabbage, these nutritious, leafy greens thrive in the cooler weather of fall and early spring.
To create a poinsettia tree, follow these instructions: First, cut the larger blooms, leaving about 6 inches of stem. Sear them quickly to stop sap from dripping out. Sap should bubble under the candle flame, and the ends of the stems will turn black. You may also need to sear the points where larger leaves were removed along the stems. Insert each seared stem into a water-filled florist tube. Stems are hollow and will absorb water after being seared. Place the stems into the base of the ivy topiary. Then repeat this process with the medium-size and smaller poinsettia blooms, cutting the stems so they're about 4 inches long. Insert blossoms into the topiary, working your way toward the top. Once it's complete, care is simple—just add water to the tubes every few days, as needed.
Make a statement with a large overflowing container against a blank wall, parking court, or at the edge of a terrace and fill with 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia, coleus, 'Supertunia Vista Bubblegum' petunia, and geranium.
Yellow acorus, lime green euphorbia, purple viola, variegated ivy, and pink Lenten rose make this container pop. Combine lenten roses with these three great plants for maximum curb appeal:
- Hostas: Their wide leaves hide the foliage of fading bulbs.
- Daffodils: Early-blooming types continue the show.
- Black mondo grass: It's dark, grassy foliage provides excellent contrast.