Perennial plants are a beautiful and long-term addition to an outdoor area that can help add visual interest and set the tone in terms of the overall look and aesthetic. Growing perennials in planters provide more options and flexibility. The container can be placed in a highly visible area, like a patio or porch, to create a focal point or move the container throughout a space depending on the bloom cycle. Feature one type of perennial for a bold statement or integrate perennials with other plants to create a striking combination. If you’re searching for the right plants, look no further; we make it easy to find the best perennials for planters.
What Are Perennial Plants?
Perennial is a term used to describe a wide variety of plants, and essentially perennials are plants that live for 2 or more years. The plant may retain its foliage or continue to bloom all year, or the plant may die back or go dormant in the fall, and new growth will appear in the spring. Some perennial plants can live for decades, while others may only last for a few growing seasons.
Some gardeners in colder climates choose to grow perennials as annuals, or rather, they grow the plant outdoors in the warmer months, and the plant dies back once the temperatures turn chilly. Still, other gardeners may opt to bring some perennials indoors to grow as houseplants until the plants can be returned outside.
Choosing Perennials for Planters
Perennials are hardy plants that make beautiful additions to containers. In warmer areas, these plants can live outdoors year-round. In colder climates, the containers may need to overwinter indoors. Always check the appropriate zones and plan accordingly. Whether you want a vining stunner, a flowering beauty, or fantastic foliage, you are sure to find the right perennial for your space.
Clematis is a vigorously growing vine, and some varieties can reach up to 15 feet long. Vining plants can make a wonderful and unexpected container plant. Grow this naturally climbing perennial in a container with a trellis or feature it in a hanging basket. Clematis has fragrant flowers in red, purple, violet, blue, or white shades.
Coral Bells is a perennial that is all about foliage. Large leaves are slightly ruffled and available in green, deep purple, or burgundy. Contrasting veining or variegation provides additional interest. Small flowers will appear in the summer, but this plant is all about the dramatic foliage that livens up any planter.
The foamflower really has it all: beautiful foliage, striking flowers, and it attracts pollinators like bees. Large, lobed leaves feature dark burgundy variegation throughout the center and light green along the margins. Small, white feathery flowers bloom on tall, thin stalks in the spring. This plant grows as an evergreen in warmer climates so that the stunning foliage will be on display all year long.
Creeping Jenny is a tender perennial with reaching stems covered in rounded chartreuse foliage. This plant is a prolific grower that makes an excellent addition to a container because the vines will dramatically spill over the edge and cascade down. This plant may put down roots wherever sections of stem come into contact with the ground, and it is considered invasive in some areas. Pruning is not usually necessary, but trim back to maintain the size if the Creeping Jenny starts to outgrow its space.
Coneflowers stand out because the petals almost bend backward to display the cone and these clumping flowers make a stunning addition to a container. This plant blooms in the summer and continues to flower through the early fall. Coneflowers are available in various colors and sizes, but all varieties attract bees and butterflies. Admire the blooms while growing in a container, or trim some to use as cut flowers.
Lupine is a flowering perennial known for its tall flower spikes, and they make a surprising and exciting container plant. These beauties can grow 2 to 3 feet high and feature flowers that grow in evenly spaced rows, giving the flower spike a uniform appearance. This plant blooms from early spring through summer.
Delicate feathery fronds add texture and visual appeal to a planter. Combine several ferns into one container to create a full and lush statement, or space several smaller potted ferns throughout an area to create a cohesive vibe. Ferns are mounded plants, and most varieties have shallow root systems, allowing them to handle life in a planter easily.
Hellebore, commonly referred to as Lenten Rose, is an absolute stunner. This flowering perennial blooms in the winter or early spring and adds color and vitality to a space when other plants are not doing much of anything. The flowers display awe-inspiring shades of pink, purple, maroon, and even black.
Add height and greenery to a container with ornamental grasses. Tall blades of grass gently arch away from the center, creating a full and dense plant. Some varieties send up flowers for additional texture and color. Tall types of grass can anchor a corner and act as a thriller in a planter, while shorter varieties provide an unexpected burst of greenery.
Growing Ornamental Grasses in Pots
The stunning flowers of Bergamot, also known as Bee Balm, bloom from spring through summer and completely overtake the plant. The blooms have uniquely shaped and variegated petals in vivid shades of pink and purple that will definitely give you a reason to stop and admire them. These perennials typically grow to about 1 foot tall, so they are perfect for containers used on tabletops or in combination with other plants in a large container.