Styling your outdoor space is an opportunity to create a welcoming and inviting area that is an extension of your home, all while showcasing your aesthetic. The right plants can set the tone and create the ideal atmosphere. We rounded up a fantastic selection of plants to make it easy to find the best plants for garden planters.
Creating a Stylish Garden Planter
Garden planters can add greenery and vitality to a space or help define an area. Selecting the right plants can help set the mood while making a space flow and function as intended. It can be hard to know what plants to choose with so many options, but we make it easy to find what you want and need with our large selection of plants.
Best Shrubs For Garden Planters
Crape Myrtle is a shrub that is rather adaptable and low maintenance. This plant can be evergreen or deciduous depending on the variety, but all Myrtle plants have glossy foliage and sweet-scented flowers. This continuous blooming shrub will have flowers from spring through fall and can grow up to 4 feet, so when grown in a container, it can help divide a space or create privacy. Myrtle needs full sun and well-draining soil.
Add an unexpected burst of color to a porch or patio by featuring Loropetalum. This easy-care shrub has brilliant foliage in hues of green, burgundy, or purple and also boasts equally striking flowers. The flowers have thin, ribbon-like petals that create a wispy look. Loropetalum will typically grow a few feet tall and make a bold statement when used in a garden planter.
Jasmine is a fragrant flowering plant that can have a variety of growth habits depending on the type. This plant can be a shrub or a vine, and some types are evergreen, so even after the flowers fall away, the plant will still provide lush color and visual interest. Plant Jasmine in a container or hanging basket to incorporate the lovely blooms and rich, floral scent into your outdoor space. Vining varieties do well with a trellis that will allow the grasping vines a secure area to hold onto and put the flowers and glossy foliage on full display.
Best Perennials For Garden Planters
Fully, frilly flowers in pink, red, and purple hues help the Dianthus stand out and give this easy-care plant its striking good looks. The blooms are anchored by thin, bluish-green foliage. This perennial makes an excellent potted plant due to its relatively low care needs. Place the container in a sunny spot and remove spent flowers to keep this beauty looking its best.
The Dead Nettle is a showstopper that features both darling blooms and beautiful foliage. It can be hard to decide which is more striking, but fortunately, you don’t have to choose. Tubular flowers cover this spreading perennial from spring through summer. Small, heart-shaped leaves feature serrated edges with dark green margins surrounding a light, silvery-green interior. This plant reaches about a foot in height, making it a wonderful filler when used in a garden planter.
Sedum, also known as Stonecrop, is a perennial that has thick, succulent-like foliage. The leaves can be broad and flat or narrow and needle-like. The foliage of this mounded plant is a stunner, but many varieties of Sedum also bloom. Flowers emerge in the summer, and some types will maintain their blooms until the fall. Sedum is very easy to maintain and can introduce a lush and laid-back vibe when used in a planter.
Towering stalks reach 1 to 2 feet tall, making Phlox a great pick to feature in a planter. This easy-to-grow mounding perennial blooms during the summer while some varieties flower earlier in the spring. Flowers are typically white, pink, or purple, and many varieties feature a darker center or eye. Phlox adds a bright burst of color to a space, and it is known to attract pollinators.
Hosta is a hardy plant that is all about foliage. This easy-care perennial thrives with very little care and pushes out spectacular leaves in shades of green, yellow, and silvery blue. The broad leaves come to a point, and some varieties feature ruffled edges. The foliage first appears in early spring and will stay in place until the first frost. Some varieties bloom during the summer, and the delicate flowers dangle from long stems.
Another option that delivers in terms of height and blooms is Larkspur. Showy flowers grow in bunches along the top of stems that can reach from 1.5 to 5 feet tall. Flowers can range in color from blues and purples to pinks. Larkspur normally blooms in early to late summer. This statement plant can be an excellent focal point or used as a thriller in a container.
Hens and Chicks
Sometimes referred to as houseleeks, Hens and Chicks are part of the Sempervivum group of succulent plants. These succulents grow in a rosette formation, and offshoots or baby plants form alongside the parent. Hens and Chicks need full sun and well-draining soil, although these adaptable plants can grow in rock crevasses. These perennials are much hardier than most people expect, and they will emerge ready to go each spring, but the plants can also be brought indoors to overwinter.
Best Annuals For Garden Planters
The African Daisy goes by many names, including Cape Marigold, Barberton Daisy, Veldt Daisy, Transvaal Daisy, and Gerber Daisy. This upright plant is known for large, colorful flowers and foliage. Long, lush petals can be rounded or come to a point and encircle a matching or contrasting center. Enjoy blooms from spring through fall and deadhead the plant to promote even more flowering. African Daisies are a perennial commonly grown as annuals, and this plant can handle life indoors during the winter months.
The mesmerizing foliage of Coleus is a showstopper. Bright colors, stunning variegation, and intricate patterns are plenty of reasons to take a moment to admire this beautiful mounding annual. This plant can be used as a thriller or a spiller in a container, and most varieties prefer part to full shade, although some hybrid varieties can handle more sunlight. Coleus is easy to maintain and generally does not require much care. This plant does bloom, but the flowers are relatively insignificant compared to the foliage, so the flower spikes can be removed to promote more foliage growth.
The unmistakable look of the Egyptian Papyrus will stand out when featured in a container on its own or part of a combination planting. Thick, upright stems are topped with frilly fronds of greenery that appear to burst open and give this plant a fun and playful look. Egyptian Papyrus grows about 30 inches tall, so this plant adds height to a planter, but the visual interest is at the top, so this plant makes a fantastic thriller when used with lower-profile plants. This tall plant needs part to full sun and has average water needs, making it a low maintenance addition to an outdoor space.
Other Plants Great For Garden Planters
Fiber Optic Grass
Ornamental grass is a great way to add texture to a container, and Fiber Optic Grass is an excellent candidate for your outdoor area. This plant features a fountain of long, slender greenery, and throughout the summer, tiny white flowers bloom at the very tip of the stems, creating a look similar to optical fiber. This mounded grass will reach 14 inches tall, and it requires part to full sun. Fiber Optic Grass is a perennial in zones 8 through 10, and it grows as an annual in other zones.
Fountain Grass is a showy ornamental grass that requires very little care and will introduce color, texture, and height. The blades of grass are accented by feathery plumes that bloom in the summer. This plant can reach up to 36 inches tall, making an excellent thriller when used in a container. Grow in part to full sun and water when the top several inches of soil dry out.
Low maintenance and high visual impact are possibly the two most prominent features of sunflowers, making these plants a great pick for garden planters. The bright flowers provide a burst of color, while the height can easily take on a bigger area. Sunflowers are known for being tall, but there are many options available, and some come in at 2 to 3 feet high, making them a better fit for planters. Sunflowers in planters pair nicely with filler and trailing plants.
Bright yellow followers with a dark purplish eye that grow along a vigorously reaching vine are the hallmarks of the Black-Eyed Susan Vine. This fast-growing plant can easily extend by 8 feet in a single growing season, but it is easy to grow on a trellis. Feature this plant in a container with a trellis or place it in a hanging basket so the vines can cascade down. Black-Eyed Susan Vine blooms from spring through fall and requires full to partial sun. Fertilize container-grown plants every couple of weeks to support healthy growth.
It’s not common to see Thistle in a garden planter, but this unconventional pick easily takes on the thriller role in a container. Tall stems reach 3 to 4 feet tall and throughout the summer are dotted in spherical, spikey-looking blooms. The spiny foliage adds even more texture and visual interest. The height creates a natural barrier that can block off the edge of a deck or patio.
Beardtongue is a peculiar name but a stunning plant. This medium to large, upright perennial boasts trumpet-shaped flowers during the summer and green foliage with hints of burgundy. As a native plant to North America, Beardtongue is very easy to maintain and will thrive once the plant has had time to acclimate.
The long, dangling vines of the Creeping Jenny easily overflow the edge of a garden planter and cascade down, creating a curtain of greenery. Each long stem is dotted with rounded leaves that grow in pairs. This robust plant is a fast grower that requires plenty of water until established. Creeping Jenny is a hardy plant that grows as a perennial in USDA zones 3 through 10.