Recipes for Beautiful Container Gardens

Use this collection of recipes to create lush, beautiful container gardens to accent your landscape all season long.

By Ruth Rogers Clausen


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1/30
Create a Classic

    Charming and old-fashioned in an elegant way, this design in its decorative terra-cotta container and will look good from spring to early fall.

    A. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Maverick Star Pink') -- 1
    B. Nemesia 'Blue Bird' -- 2
    C. Nemesia 'Compact Innocence' -- 1
    D. Petunia 'Supertunia Giant Pink' -- 3
    E. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Anne Marie') -- 4

2/30
Add a Festive Feel

    This perfect little combination is ideal for gracing the deck or patio for an Independence Day celebration.

    A. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Red Elite') -- 1
    B. Evolvulus glomeratus 'Blue Daze' -- 5

3/30
Use a Color Scheme

    Have trouble picking colors? Pick just one or two. Here, blues and purples are accentuated by the deep turquoise container to create a beautiful statement all season long.

    A. Angelonia 'Angelface Dresden Blue' -- 2
    B. Celosia 'Purple Flamingo' -- 1
    C. Calibrachoa 'Superbells Blue' -- 3

4/30
Employ Grasses

    This country-style design shows off several different calibrachoas (also called Million Bells) complemented by the osteospermum and phlox. While charming on their own, the addition of purple fountain grass creates height and drama.

    A. Calibrachoa 'Million Bells Terra Cotta' -- 3
    B. Calibrachoa 'Superbells Trailing Blue' -- 3
    C. Calibrachoa 'Million Bells Terra Linda' -- 3
    D. Osteospermum 'Lemon Symphony' -- 3
    E. Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') -- 1
    F. Annual phlox (Phlox drummondii 'Intensia White') -- 3

5/30
Use Great Foliage

    This combination is elevated to high drama with the inclusion of acalypha, a garden-worthy (but underused) foliage plant. Look for plants such as coleus or elephant's ears to make your plantings spectacular.

    A. Petunia 'Ultra Pastel Pink' -- 5
    B. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatus 'Blackie') -- 2
    C. Acalypha wilkesiana -- 1

6/30
Employ Foliage for Season-Long Power

    Even without flowers this arrangement is handsome thanks to a mix of foliage colors and textures. It'll get even better as the season progresses.

    A. Canna 'Australia' -- 1
    B. Fuchsia triphylla 'Firecracker' -- 1
    C. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie') -- 1
    D. Gerbera daisy (Gerbera 'Festival Salmon') -- 2

7/30
Create Elegance

    The soft pink color scheme and petal-filled flowers of a tree rose combine beautifully in a classic, elegant planting that will bloom all summer long.

    A. Tree rose (Rosa 'Baby Blanket') -- 1
    B. Wax begonia (Begonia 'Prelude Pink') -- 5
    C. Vinca (Catharanthus 'Coconut Cooler') -- 3

8/30
Keep It Balanced

    Purple fountain grass creates balance to the waves of blue nemesia in this gorgeous planting. Both of the plants are sized nicely for this lower-than-usual container.

    A. Nemesia 'Blue Bird' -- 3
    B. Nemesia 'Compact Innocence' -- 1
    C. Ivy-leaf geranium (Pelargonium peltatum 'Picasso') -- 2
    D. Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') - 1
    E. Zinnia 'Profusion White'-- 3

9/30
Go Classic with Black

    This dramatic combination features contrasting foliage texture and color accented by interesting flowers. The dark glazed container is perfect here.

    A. Oxalis regnellii -- 7
    B. Calla (Zantedeschia 'Black Forest') -- 1
    C. Elephant's ears (Colocasia 'Illustris') -- 1

10/30
Make a Cool-Season Stunner

    Echoing the blue container, the pansies will give a boost of color from early spring to the start of summer. When it starts to get hot, change out the pansies for heat-loving annuals such as angelonia.

    A. Pansy (Viola 'Violet Beacon') -- 5
    B. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare 'Limelight') -- 3

11/30
Add Mound of Texture

    This fun combo with traditional petunias and osteospermums is elevated by the dramatic perilla that demands attention.

    A. Perilla 'Magilla' -- 1
    B. Petunia 'Supertunia Royal Velvet' -- 2
    C. Osteospermum 'Lemon Symphony' -- 2

12/30
Make a Lively Trio

    With the air of a cocked top hat, this container garden has a sense of movement created by the angle of the umbrella sedge set off by the trailing petunia but balanced by the stocky geranium.

    A. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Scarlet Elite') -- 1
    B. Petunia 'Supertunia Mini White' -- 2
    C. Umbrella sedge (Cyperus alternifolius) -- 1

13/30
Overflow with Color

    Dripping with color and texture from flowers and foliage, a bright gerbera daisy rising out of the top becomes the highlight of this planting.

    A. Gerbera daisy (Gerbera 'Festival Orange') -- 1
    B. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') -- 3
    C. Verbena 'Superbena Burgundy' -- 3

14/30
Create Drama in a Pot

    This simple design demonstrates classic proportions with "thriller plant" (cordyline), "filler plant" (lantana), and "spiller plant" (trailing coleus).

    A. Lantana 'New Gold' -- 1
    B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Stained Glassworks Trailing Plum') -- 2
    C. Cordyline australis -- 1

15/30
Keep It Simple

    You can have a showstopping container garden even with one kind of plant, as this pot of angelonia shows. Here it makes a great color contrast with the annual phlox in the foreground.

    A. Angelonia 'Angelface Blue' -- 3

16/30
Enjoy a Stately Planter

    Using an inspired mix of shrubs and tropical bulbs, you can easily change out this combo each year by replacing the caladiums.

    A. Caladium 'Fannie Munson' -- 2
    B. Caladium 'Postman Joyner' -- 3
    C. Podocarpus elatus -- 1
    D. Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva' -- 1

17/30
Add Beauty to an Evergreen

    Adding cheery annuals is a fun way to dress up a plain evergreen for dose of summer-long color.

    A. Boxwood (Buxus microphylla 'Green Gem') -- 1
    B. Verbena 'Superbena Purple' -- 3
    C. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Mississippi Summer') -- 3
    D. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Glacier') -- 3

18/30
Create a Summertime Gem

    Cheerful and bright, this design will hold its good looks for months thanks to tough plants like Profusion zinnias and white angelonia.

    A. Angelonia 'Angelface White' -- 1
    B. Zinnia 'Profusion Orange' 1
    C. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Wild Lime') -- 1

19/30
Pay Attention to Texture

    We love the texture in this planting. An ornamental grass plays beautifully against a chunky coleus and cascading calibrachoa.

    A. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Black Star') -- 1
    B. Calibrachoa Superbells 'Cherry Red' -- 3
    C. Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') -- 1

20/30
Try Different Textures

    Informal but colorful, this display would look great in a country- or cottage-style garden thanks to its soft colors and intriguing mix of textures.

    A. Celosia 'Purple Flamingo' -- 1
    B. Cigar plant (Cuphea ignea 'Dynamite') -- 1
    C. Calibrachoa 'Superbells Trailing Light Blue' -- 3
    D. Beefsteak plant (Iresine 'California') -- 1
    E. Dahlia 'Gallery Salvador' -- 1

21/30
Add Layers of Interest

    The layering is fun in this combo; a stately ornamental grass rises above mounding plants that contrast the trailing creeping Jenny and sweet potato vine. By midsummer, the pot will be completely covered with a lovely golden skirt of leaves.

    A. Maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Morning Light') -- 1
    B. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatus 'Margarita') -- 2
    C. Wax begonia (Begonia 'Vodka') -- 2
    D. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Olympic Torch') -- 1
    E. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea') -- 2

22/30
Create Cottage Charm

    The loose, billowy feeling of this gorgeous container garden is a perfect cottage-garden accent.

    A. Verbena 'Escapade Bright Eye' -- 3
    B. Plectranthus argentatus -- 2
    C. Parrot's beak (Lotus berthelotii) -- 3

23/30
Draw the Eye Up

    Overflowing with abundance, this colorful display demands attention. Late-blooming pineapple sage becomes the crowning glory in late summer when it bears its bright red blooms.

    A. Ageratum 'Blue Horizon' -- 3
    B. Bacopa (Sutera 'Snowstorm White') -- 3
    C. Calibrachoa 'Superbells Trailing Rose' -- 3
    D. Swan River daisy (Brachycome 'Mauve Delight') -- 3
    E. Petunia 'Explorer Rose' -- 1
    F. Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) -- 2

24/30
Maximize Color

    Use wonderful color combinations to create a feeling of abundance. Accent it with texture, such as here where gaura provides nice verticality and creates a fun contrast with the spreading petunia.

    A. Lantana 'Bandana Cherry Surprise' -- 1
    B. Petunia 'Rose Double Madness' -- 3
    C. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare 'Icicles') -- 1
    D. Gaura lindheimeri

25/30
Tuck It In

    Container gardens don't need to be big to make a big impact. This very colorful and eye-catching arrangement fits well in just about any spot.

    A. Nemesia 'Sunsatia Pear' -- 1
    B. Nemesia 'Sunsatia Raspberry' -- 1
    C. Nemesia 'Sunsatia Lemon' -- 1
    D. Nemesia 'Sunsatia Cranberry' -- 1
    E. Pansy (Viola 'Karma Blue Blotch') -- 1

26/30
Enjoy Sweet Scent

    A perfect accent for an herb garden -- or next to your favorite chair on a deck or patio, the scented geranium will delight with its scent and its contrast to fragrant sweet alyssum.

    A. Scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens 'Grey Lady Plymouth') -- 1
    B. Sweet alyssum (Lobularia 'Wonderland Purple') -- 3

27/30
Be Sweet & Romantic

    This little planting is filled with shades of pink. Though young in this photo, the plants will grow and fill in the container by summer.

    A. Satin flower (Clarkia 'Grace Salmon Red') -- 3
    B. Verbena 'Babylon Purple' -- 3
    C. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum 'Solstice Red') -- 3

28/30
Go Crazy!

    Container gardens don't have to be restrained. This striking collection displays beautiful foliage textures and colors of foliage against pink and cerise flowers.

    A. Dusty miller (Senecio 'Silver Dust') -- 3
    B. Ivy-leaf geranium (Pelargonium 'Crocodile') -- 3
    C. Scented geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum) -- 3
    D. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare 'Variegatum') -- 5
    E. African daisy (Arctotis 'Cerise') -- 3
    F. Salvia patens -- 2

29/30
Mix It Up

    A change from the usual russets and yellows of fall combinations, this design stands out for originality and style.

    A. Mum (Chrysanthemum 'Pobo Lavender') -- 1
    B. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Glacier') -- 1
    C. Sedum sieboldii -- 1
    D. Flowering cabbage (Brassica oleracea 'Ruby') -- 1
    E. Aster novae-belgii 'Crimson Brocade' -- 1
    F. Wood fern (Dryopteris marginalis) -- 1

30/30
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