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When I first started growing plants in containers it was because my backyard was tiny, now I have a larger backyard but still enjoy keeping container gardens around the house. They make such a lovely statement, especially at the entrance of your home. Here are some tips on how to start a container garden at home and how to keep it healthy and thriving.

container garden and person planting flowers on a container outdoors. Colorful flowers, foliage and a deck area

Outdoor planter ideas using containers

In my containers, I love having at least one standout bloom. It might be a flowering plant that will cascade over the sides of the pot, like a calibrachoa or supertunia (in a vibrant hue), a showstopper, like a dahlia, or a petunia with a really interesting face.

Don’t underestimate the power of foliage. Coleus, Heucheras, and Rex begonias are all favorites, depending on whether my space gets sun or shade. 

I also tuck edibles into a lot of my containers. Lemongrass often stands in for a spike or ornamental grass. A variety of basil plants, like the variegated pesto perpetuo, add really nice foliage. 

Also different flavors of sage, creeping rosemary, and parsley provide interesting textures. The smell from your container garden will be amazing with some of these edible herb additions.

outdoor plants on containers, wooden chair with a blanket on it. colorful flowers outdoor container garden

Before we get to the inspiration, here are some tips for planting up a container

  • Choose good-quality potting soil. 
  • The thriller, filler, and spiller rule works pretty well, especially if you’re new to container design. Learn more about the here
  • When choosing plants, make sure they’re suited to the conditions they’ll be displayed in – sun vs. shade.
  • Don’t be afraid to pack in the plants, but be sure they still have some room to grow.
  • Read the plant tags carefully, so you know what type of care the plant requires throughout the season, as well as how tall and wide it will get.
  • Make sure when you’re planting you fill in any air pockets with extra soil.
  • Be sure your pots have drainage.
  • Don’t forget to water regularly, especially during those long, hot days of summer. Pots can dry out quickly. Sometimes you may need to check on plants twice a day.
  • Fertilize every few weeks, according to the package’s directions.
  • Trim back scraggly plants, so they’ll grow back lush and full.
  • Deadhead, when required. (This is why I love calibrachoas—they are self cleaning!)

Now for the fun part. I’ve gathered a variety of ideas for both the plants you can choose and the containers to go with them.

Plants growing on container gardens on a wooden deck, colorful plants and flowers

Choosing a color palette for container arrangements

Consider changing the look of your outdoor planters yearly. Sometimes one superstar plant will determine the color palette for your container, other times you may choose the same color for all the planters.

Outdoor planter ideas for shade

Finding annuals for shade can be tricky. That section of the nursery always seems to be smaller than the one for full sun. 

However, there are shade plants that make a big impact despite their darker destination. Some examples are Rex begonias and hostess. 

Sneak some edibles into your ornamental containers

We mentioned this earlier. I love planting edibles in my ornamental gardens, whether they’re in pots or in the ground. 

Some container favorites include lemon thyme, chocolate mint, parsley (flat leaf and curly), creeping rosemary, lemongrass, and sage. 

There are some beautiful varieties of Swiss chard, like ‘Peppermint’ and ‘Rainbow’, as well as ornamental qualities in a variety of lettuces.

outdoor bike with baskets used as container garden, blue bike, colorful flowers, plants, outdoor, purple, green and yellow flowers

Choose unique foliage to add to container arrangements

There is some gorgeous foliage that can be added to planters. I love the seemingly infinite varieties of coleus, as well as Rex begonias, Polka dot plant, and hostas at the garden center. 

Sometimes they can shine all on their own, or compliment the flowers you’ve chosen to include.

Don’t be afraid to add perennials to your containers

The breadth of choices increases exponentially if you throw perennials into the mix of planter ideas. An example of a perennial flower or plant to add are heucheras, because they come in so many beautiful colors, from purple to caramel. 

When I change up the container for fall, I either leave it in or pop the plant somewhere else in the garden.

There’s many tips for stunning patio planter ideas. And wow, you just can’t believe how much little elbow grease will pay off all summer long! 

The transformation in your outdoors will take everyone’s breath away every time they pass by.  

adding perennials to a container garden, colorful flowers

More tips for outdoor planters ideas

Raised garden beds are also used for growing plants and flowers. Raised garden beds are also a wonderful way to get involved with nature and grow your herbs, and/or vegetables you love and consume. Learn about 6 ways your garden could be saving you money.  

Tips for a Successful Raised Garden Bed

I have seen several raised garden beds filled with the most beautiful flowers. Calling in monarch butterflies and bees pollinating beautifully.  

We hope you take delight on gardening this year, get your kids and your family involved and enjoy the harvest to the fullest.

What are some of your favorite outdoor planter ideas to grow on containers?