Great Container Gardens

If you want to create beautiful container gardens but don't know here to start, check out our slide show of 25 recipes you can follow for success. Our collection of container garden recipes is sure to inspire you.


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Boxed Fancies
1/27

    Create a cottage-garden feel by using soft shades of pink and purple and plants that have loose, open shapes. Here, petunias, licorice plant, and verbena do the job perfectly. This planting grows best in full sun.

    A. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie') -- 1
    B. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare) -- 1
    C. Petunia 'Carpet Lilac' -- 2
    D. Verbena 'Aztec Pink Magic' -- 1
    E. Wishbone flower (Torenia 'Summer Wave Blue') -- 1
    F. Salvia 'Lady in Red' -- 1
    G. Petunia 'Ramblin White' -- 1
    H. Petunia 'Pink Daddy' -- 1

2/27

    A beautiful window box can be simple or complex. Here, colorful petunias in interesting galvanized pots have just as much impact as a many-hued combination. This planting grows best in full sun.

    A. Petunia 'Wave Pink' -- 1

3/27

    Use contrasting colors to create drama. Here, shades of purple mix well together -- and make a stunning contrast for a salmon geranium. This planting grows best in full sun.

    A. Lobelia erinus -- 3
    B. Petunia 'Blue Velvet' -- 1
    C. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Fantasia Salmon') -- 2
    D. Viola 'Sorbet Purple Duet' -- 2
    E. Lavender pink Petunia  -- 1

4/27

    Create a container that will attract attention by using bold colors and tropical plants. Here, a tree-form hibiscus adds even more appeal. This planting grows best in full sun.

    A. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis -- 1
    B. Japanese bloodgrass (Imperata cylindrica 'Rubra') -- 3
    C. Salvia (Salvia splendens) -- 3
    D. New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens 'Celebration Deep Red') -- 3

5/27

    Bright shades of yellow catch the eye, even across the yard. Here, golden sunflowers with their big, bold blooms make an impact. This cheery container grows best in full sun.

    A. Dwarf sunflower (Helianthus 'Elf') -- 3
    B. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum 'Yellow Chimes') -- 6
    C. Celosia 'Fresh Look Yellow' -- 3
    D. Marigold (Tagetes 'Janie Bright Yellow') -- 4
    E. Lysimachia 'Outback Sunset' -- 3
    F. Potato vine (Solanum jasminoides 'Variegata') -- 2

6/27

    Great container gardens appeal to several senses. Here, a hybrid rose and thyme offer scents as good as their looks. This planting grows best in full sun.

    A. Miniature rose (Rosa spp.) -- 1
    B. Creeping thyme (Thymus spp.) -- 3
    C. English ivy (Hedera helix) -- 3

7/27
Container Gardening Made Easy

    Plant the garden of your dreams - in containers! In Container Gardening Made Easy, you'll find container planting plans for each season and every style, plus everything you need to know about successful care: design tips, pot and plant selection, and easy care advice.

8/27

    Plan properly if you need to keep a container in a tough spot. Here for example, canna, lantana, and maidengrass stand up to heat and humidity to look good all summer long. This planting grows best in full sun or partial shade.

    A. Canna 'Pretoria' -- 2
    B. Lantana 'Lucky White' -- 4
    C. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Dappled Dawn') -- 1
    D. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Dark Frills') -- 2
    E. Vinca major 'Variegata' -- 3
    F. Melampodium paludosum -- 1
    G. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita') -- 1
    H. Maidengrass (Miscanthus sinensis) -- 1

9/27

    Use ornamental grasses to add height and texture to any planting. Here, purple fountaingrass adds extra color, too. This planting grows best in partial shade.

    A. Purple fountaingrass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') -- 2
    B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Sun Velvet Red') -- 3
    C. Plectranthus 'Variegatus' -- 2
    D. Impatiens 'Dazzler Pink' -- 2
    E. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare) -- 2

10/27

    With fantastic foliage, you don't even need flowers. Look for plants that have colorful foliage, such as the coleus used here. This planting grows best in partial shade.

    A. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Black Dragon') -- 3
    B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Wizard Jade') -- 3
    C. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Dress Me Up') -- 3
    D. Ruellia brittoniana -- 1

11/27

    Here's another example of how you can create a great bloomless container with interesting foliage. A purple phormium contrasts delightfully with a golden-variegated plectranthus. This planting grows best in partial shade.

    A. New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) -- 1
    B. Plectranthus 'Easy Gold' -- 2
    C. Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) -- 2
    D. Silver thyme (Thymus 'Argenteus') -- 1
    E. Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) -- 1
    F. Philodendron 'Prince of Orange' -- 1

12/27

    Planting in a great pot can make all the difference. Here, an old rusty wheelbarrow makes a charming container garden. This planting grows best in full sun.

    A. Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) -- 1
    B. Perilla 'Magilla' -- 3
    C. Diascia 'Diamonte Lavender Pink' -- 3

13/27

    Repeating an element is one of the most effective tools of garden design. It applies to containers, too. Here, purple New Zealand flax and coralbells go together, as well as the arching form of the flax and the fiber optic grass. This planting grows best in partial sun.

    A. Fiber optic grass (Scirpus cernuus) -- 1
    B. Coralbells (Heuchera 'Amethyst Mist') -- 1
    C. New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) -- 1
    D. Variegated geranium (Pelargonium 'Happy Thought') -- 1
    E. Calamondin (Citrofortunella microcarpa) -- 1

14/27

    You don't need lots of color for a gorgeous container garden. Here, different shades of green and interesting textures combine delightfully. This planting grows best in full shade.

    A. Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) -- 1
    B. Canary Island ivy (Hedera canariensis) -- 3
    C. Sanvitalia 'Little Sun'  -- 3
    D. Plectranthus 'Variegata' -- 3

15/27

    Here's another example of how mixing shades of green can look great. As the season progresses, the sweet potato vine and licorice plant will trail down and cover the pot. This planting grows in sun or shade.

    A. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita') -- 2
    B. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare 'Limelight') -- 2
    C. Bacopa (Sutera cordata) -- 3

16/27

    Don't be intimidated if you don't have full sun. A mix of colorful annuals, such as the ones shown here, will bloom all summer long -- even in full shade.

    A. White Begonia B. x tuberhybrida -- 2
    B. Browallia speciosa -- 2
    C. Impatiens 'Super Elfin Salmon Blush' -- 2
    D. Lobelia erinus 'Regatta Lilac' -- 1
    E. Hedera helix -- 1

17/27

    Keep in mind that containers can do double-duty. Here, a combination of low-growing plants works perfectly as a centerpiece for a party or as an accent on a wall, bench, table, or other structure. It grows best in shade.

    A. Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus) -- 2
    B. Begonia 'Cocktail Vodka' -- 2
    C. Wishbone flower (Torenia 'Clown Mix') -- 3

18/27

    Swap plants out through the season to create different looks. Here for example, this bleeding heart looks beautiful in spring. Once it fades, plant it in the garden and grow fragrant purple heliotrope in the container instead. This planting grows best in shade.

    A. Dicentra spectabilis -- 1
    B. Impatiens 'Ole Starburst' -- 3
    C. Variegated ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea 'Variegata') -- 3
    D. Bacopa (Sutera cordata 'Abunda White') -- 1

19/27

    Container gardens can be focal points in the landscape. A single plant can work the same way for the container garden, as this deep purple pseuderanthemum shows here. This planting thrives in sun or shade.

    A. Pseuderanthemum atropurpureum -- 2
    B. Lobelia erinus 'Periwinkle Blue' -- 3
    C. Basketgrass (Oplismenus hirtellus 'Variegatus') -- 3
    D. Plectranthus 'Uvongo' -- 3
    E. Elephant plant (Portulacaria afra 'Variegata') -- 3

20/27

    Add even more interest to your container plantings by using them to attract butterflies. Here, butterfly favorites, including lantana, will appeal to you as much as they do your winged visitors.

    A. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Kiwi Fern') -- 2
    B. Cat's whiskers (Orthosiphon stamineus) -- 3
    C. Purple trailing Lantana -- 3
    D. Silver thyme (Thymus 'Argenteus') -- 1

21/27

    Mix plants that have attractive flowers with plants grown for their foliage and you'll have an extra-appealing container. Here, purple summer snapdragon and golden coleus will look great all summer. This planting grows best in sun or part shade.

    A. Alternanthera 'Red Thread' -- 2
    B. Million bells (Calibrachoa 'Million Bells Terra Cotta') -- 3
    C. Summer snapdragon (Angelonia 'AngelMist Deep Plum') -- 2
    D. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Blond Bombshell') -- 1

22/27

    Use variegated foliage to create more visual drama in your container gardens. Here, a simple coleus does the trick, and is enhanced by the dark purple potato vine. This planting grows best in partial shade.

    A. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Green Earrings') -- 3
    B. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie') -- 1
    C. Bacopa (Sutera 'Abunda Blue') -- 5

23/27

    Incorporate unusual plants to give your container gardens extra zing. Here, tall lion's ear adds to an already-beautiful combination. This planting grows best in sun.

    A. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita') -- 1
    B. Caricature plant (Graptophyllum pictum) -- 1
    C. Silver sage (Salvia argentea) -- 1
    D. Lion's ear (Leonotis menthaefolia) -- 1
    E. Million bells (Calibrachoa 'Million Bells Terra Cotta') -- 2

24/27

    Here's another example of using a bold plant to create drama. Here, silvery cardoon's size, color, and texture make an impact. It grows best in full sun.

    A. Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) -- 1
    B. Diascia 'Sun Chimes Red' -- 4
    C. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Rose Queen') -- 3

25/27

    Ornamental grasses add texture to any container planting. Here, purple fountaingrass rises up like fireworks out of a collection of bold, beautiful plants. This planting grows best in full sun.

    A. Purple fountaingrass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') -- 2
    B. Dusty miller (Centaurea 'Colchester White') -- 1
    C. Diascia 'Sun Chimes Coral' -- 4
    D. Alternanthera 'Red Thread' -- 2
    E. Caricature plant (Graptophyllum pictum) -- 1

26/27

    Create simplicity and elegance with single-color plantings. Here, shades of silver mix and look particularly wonderful under the moonlight. This planting grows best in full sun.

    A. Silver sage (Salvia argentea) -- 1
    B. Dusty miller (Centaurea 'Colchester White') -- 1
    C. Cat's whiskers (Orthosiphon stamineus) -- 1
    D. Bacopa (Sutera 'Snowfalls') -- 1
    E. Nemesia 'Vanilla Sachet' -- 1
    F. English ivy (Hedera helix 'Ivalace') -- 2

27/27
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