Best Shrubs For Planters

Shrubs are versatile plants that can introduce color, texture, and even sweet-smelling flowers to an outdoor space. Growing shrubs in containers can introduce a whole new level of versatility. The ability to move the plants to an area with ideal conditions will allow the shrubs to thrive. Another perk of container-grown shrubs is the option to move the potted plant to showcase the flowers or foliage. For instance, you can place potted shrubs that are blooming on a deck or entertaining space and relocate the plant to another area when the blooms fall away.

The right plant depends on your yard, the amount of time you have to maintain the plants, and the aesthetic you want to achieve. Here are some of the best shrubs for planters.

Considerations When Selecting Shrubs for Planters

Shrubs can grow to be rather large plants, so consider the size of the mature plant when selecting a shrub to be grown in a pot. Dwarf shrubs tend to stay under 2 feet tall, making them less likely to become top-heavy and fall over. The smaller size also makes them lighter and more manageable, making it easier to move the potted shrub if necessary. We suggest using a heavy container, like terracotta or concrete, that will anchor the plant and keep it upright if there is a strong gust of wind.

Finding the Best Shrub For Planters

Finding the right plant for your space can be challenging. Try to narrow things down by considering the size of the mature plant, if and when it blooms, the amount of care necessary, and the general appearance of the plant. Browse our selection of shrubs to find the best potted plant for your yard.

1. Lilacs

Enjoy striking, fragrant blooms anywhere with a container-grown lilac. Dwarf varieties of this deciduous plant will grow 2.5 to 3 feet high, while conventional varieties can grow to 6 feet tall. Either type is an ideal size to conceal an electrical meter or other utilities, use as a barrier, or dress up a dull patio corner.

Tiny trumpet-shaped blooms grow in clusters surrounded by broad green foliage that comes to a point. Lilacs bloom in the spring and retain their foliage through the fall. The Bloomerang variety reblooms throughout the growing season, so the delicate, fragrant flowers can be appreciated all summer long.

Growing Lilacs in Pots


2. Gardenias

After introducing this beauty into your yard, Gardenia may be your new favorite plant. Gardenias boast large, pillowy, fragrant blooms from spring through fall. The flowers are framed by glossy green foliage. This potted plant makes a lovely addition to a front porch, deck, or patio. Try to keep it close by so you can admire the beautiful flowers and enjoy their fragrance.

Growing Gardenia in Pots


3. Loropetalum

Add a bright burst of unexpected color to your outdoor space with Loropetalum. This evergreen mounded shrub continues to make a bold statement all year long thanks to the broad foliage, usually in hues of green, burgundy, or plum. The foliage is beautifully paired with flowers in hot pink or white. The blooms boast thin, feathery petals giving this plant an even more unique appearance. Established Loropetalum will get up to 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide, making this plant an excellent option to add color to a space and use as a border around a patio.

Growing Loropetalum in Pots


4. Hollies

Holly is commonly associated with holiday decor, and while this shrub certainly lends an outdoor space a festive vibe during the winter, this showy evergreen can dress up a space all year long. Some varieties are tall and narrow and maintain a shorter height, while others are wider and can grow rather tall, so select a type that will fit your space and can comfortably live in a container.

Use this potted plant to divide an area or to decorate a small porch or the space between overhead garage doors. The glossy, dark green leaves give this deer-resistant plant an elegant appearance.

Growing Hollies in Pots


5. Hydrangeas

The low-maintenance Hydrangea is everything you could want in a potted plant. Large, beautiful blooms in various saturated colors engulf the shrub continuously during the summer and fall. Leave the blooms on the shrub for an intense display, or remove some to use as cut flowers.
Most varieties grow 2 to 3 feet tall and just as wide, so the plants leave an impression without being too big to live in a container comfortably. Move the container to a highly visible spot when the blooms start to open so that you can enjoy the flowers.

Growing Hydrangeas in Pots


6. Arborvitae

Enjoy greenery throughout the year with a potted Arborvitae. These ornamental evergreens are members of the cypress family, and they have feathery foliage that varies from light to dark green depending on the type. Most Arborvitaes naturally have a tall and narrow shape, so they are perfect for smaller areas in need of greenery, like a porch or balcony.

Growing Arborvitae in Pots


7. Elderberry

Elderberry is an adaptable shrub that can do very well with little care. Once mature, this deciduous shrub will reach about 5 feet tall, depending on the type. The foliage can be yellowish-green or even black, providing a burst of color. Clusters of delicate blooms make the Elderberry a focal point during the spring. The unique foliage is plenty of reason to add an Elderberry to your space, but this shrub also produces berries for even more appeal.

Growing Elderberry in Pots


8. Spirea

Add visual interest and attract pollinators to your space when you plant Spirea in a container. This compact shrub is low maintenance and boasts a variety of foliage colors ranging from yellow, green, and blue, depending on the type. Spirea is a deciduous, mounded plant that blooms. Position the container so the flowers will be on full display.

Growing Spirea in Pots


9. Viburnum

Viburnum is a stunning shrub that introduces color and visual interest throughout the year. Large varieties can grow 8 feet tall, while smaller Viburnum may max out around 4 feet, so select a spot and a container to accommodate the plant. Viburnum is all about color. The foliage can be green or silvery blue and may transition to red during the fall. Fragrant springtime flowers give way to striking red, black, or blue-colored berries during the winter.

Growing Viburnum in Pots


10. Butterfly Bushes

The tiny flowers of a Butterfly Bush make a big impact because they form in a cone-shaped cluster. The entire shrub will be covered in white, purple, pink, or even red blooms during the summer and fall. Place the container in a sunny spot and enjoy the butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds that will drop by to visit this lovely shrub.

Growing Butterfly Bushes in Pots


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 Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 07-01-2022

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