Potted plants are a great way of decorating your outdoor space, especially if you don’t have much in the way of a garden, grass, or instead have a paved garden or patio. You can move your pots about to chase the sun, shade, or if you’re just looking to give your garden a refresh without having to dig up the lawn.
Not only that, but it makes caring for your plants even easier if you’re a bit of a plant-newbie, as each plant is standalone so you can give them the specific care they need and they’re less likely to get forgotten behind larger foliage or plants. That being said, these plants will depend on you for water and nutrients so don’t go too crazy collecting plants and pots until you’ve got your garden routine down to a tee.
But what are the best plants for your outdoor pots and containers?
Pots give you the option to grow most anything from bedding plants to herbs, small trees to shrubs and vegetables. We’ve listed some of the best for you to choose from.
What are the easiest outdoor pot plants?
There are two main types of plants, perennials, and annuals. If you’re looking for a plant that’s easiest to care for, choose a perennial or evergreen plant as they’ll continue to grow year after year. They tend to have a shorter flowering period compared to annuals but annual plants will grow, flower, and die in a particular season. They may drop seeds that'll grow new plants in the spring but otherwise, they will need to be replaced with new plants year on year. Not ideal if you're not particularly green-fingered.
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The majority of plants for containers are annuals, but there are some great hardy perennial options. We’ve listed just some of the best easy-care annuals and perennials that you can enjoy year-on-year or all year round.
What are the best plants for outdoor pots?
Best plants for pots:
1. Alstroemeria – ‘Indian Summer’
The 'Indian Summer' alstroemeria will add a little sunshine to your patio with the sunset coloured blooms. Make sure to position in a sunny or semi-shaded spot with fertile, moist soil. Annual or perennial: Hardy perennialFlowering months: June - November
2. Chrysanthemum – Hardy Patio Mixed
Add a blast of colour to your pots come autumn with these late bloomers. These neatly domed plants are perfect for patio pots and grow best in a position of full sun.Annual or perennial: Hardy perennialFlowering months: September - November
3. Agapanthus – Blue and White Collection
This collection includes the blue 'Queen of the Ocean' and white 'Polar Ice' agapanthus for a beautiful display. The architectural seed heads continue to grow well into autumn and thrive in sun or semi-shaded spots.Annual or perennial: Hardy perennialFlowering months: July - September
4. Begonias – Sweet n Spice Collection
The Begonia Sweet n Spice Collection is made up of 'Sweet Spice Appleblossom' and 'Sweet Spice English Rose' for gorgeous, wonderfully fragrant, and weather-resistant blooms. House your begonias in a sunny or semi-shaded position that is protected from strong winds.Annual or perennial: Perennial but not frost hardyFlowering months: July - October
5. Coleus – Coleus Collection
We love these flamboyant foliage plants that'll make a serious statement thanks to the five different varieties included in the collection. You should pop these plants in a sunny or semi-shaded position, and these can even be grown as houseplants if you want to bring some greenery indoors.Annual or perennial: Tropical perennials grown as annualsFlowering months: July - October
6. Busy Lizzies – ‘Accent Mixed’
Busy Lizzies are a versatile plant thanks to their neat and compact habit and ability to grow in sun or shade. They'll keep blooming through sun and rain and well into the autumn too.Annual or perennial: Half-hardy annualFlowering months: June - October
7. Lavender – Hidcote
Get your patio smelling and looking heavenly with a pot of English lavender. It'll add a pop of colour whilst adding a traditional touch.Annual or perennial: PerennialFlowering months: July - August
8. Clematis – Little Lemons
Clematis 'Little Lemons' is a super-dwarf plant with a neat, bushy habit - perfect for potting! Plus, when the flowers fade at the end of the season, they're replaced by fluffy seed heads that provide a new lovely display.Annual or perennial: AnnualFlowering months: May - September
9. Cosmos – Cosmos Astrosanguineus ‘Chocamocha’
The 'Chocomocha' cosmos not only has deep velvety blooms in rich cocoa shades - it smells like chocolate too. A must-have for chocoholics, it's great for your garden pots thanks to its compact nature.Annual or perennial: Half-hardy perennialFlowering months: July - October
10. Grasses – Architectural Grasses Collection
Grass displays in and out of the home have grown in popularity in recent years, and adding these architectural grasses to your pots will help add texture and a sense of calm.Annual or perennial: Hardy perennialFlowering months: August - September
11. Hydrangeas – ‘Runaway Bride’
Not only is this one of the most floriferous and vigorous hydrangeas, it was awarded RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2018. Add this award-winner to your outdoor pots for a little spectacle of your own.Annual or perennial: Hardy perennial shrubFlowering months: July - September
12. Hardy Geraniums – Rozanne
This 'Rozanne' geranium was voted Plant of the Centenary at the 100th Chelsea Flower show and won the RHS Award of Garden Merit. With multiple badges to its name, this is a must-have in our books!Annual or perennial: Hardy perennialFlowering months: June - October
13. Hostas - Hosta ‘Francee’
Hosta 'Francee' produces heart-shaped, olive-green leaves with neat white margins and spikes of lavender-blue flowers in the summer months. Best positioned in partial or full shade, this plant is another winner of the RHS Award of Garden Merit.Annual or perennial: PerennialFlowering months: July - August
14. Pansies – Pansy Frizzle Sizzle
With a vibrant mix of bold colours and frilled petals, these pansies are great in containers and will create a rather striking display for your autumn garden. They thrive in cool conditions and are relatively fuss-free.Annual or perennial: Hardy biennial/ perennialFlowering months: November - May
Can you use any outdoor pot for plants?
Outdoor pots have been designed to withstand the elements, so most any outdoor pot will do! However, there are two things to consider when picking the right one for your plant.
Size: It goes without saying that your pot will need to be big enough to house your new plant. However, you should make sure to choose one that's slightly larger to give your plant plenty of room to spread out its roots, get enough nutrients from the soil, and help the plant grow and reach its full potential. Choose a pot that's a couple of inches bigger in diameter than your plant.
Drainage: You'll want your plant pot to have good drainage to reduce the chance of the roots rotting, your plant from being overwatered by your hand or the elements, and to help your plant grow to be its best. Look for plant pots with holes at the base that'll provide drainage to help prevent the soil getting too wet. You might also want to consider pots made from natural materials, such as stone and terracotta, that are water-permeable.
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How to pot your outdoor plants?
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Eleanor Weaver is a Commercial Content Writer for titles such as Yours, What’s The Best and Mother&Baby.
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