36 Great Containers for Gardening
Create a perfect cottage container garden in a window 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
Use contrasting colors to create drama in your container for gardening. 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
Create a container for gardening 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
Perennial Container Gardens
You can add perennials to any container garden for year-after-year beauty. Stick to the well-known rule of having a spiller, a thriller and a filler plant in each container.
Bright shades of yellow catch the eye, even across the yard, in this sunny container for gardening. 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
Related: Top Butterfly Container Garden Ideas
Plan properly if you need to keep a container for gardening 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
Use ornamental grasses to add height and texture to any container for gardening. 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
Succulent Container Gardens
We'll never get bored of succulents—they come in so many shapes and colors! Succulents make the perfect low-maintenance container garden. Learn the secrets to a successful succulent container.
With fantastic foliage, you don't even need flowers in a container for gardening. 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
Here's another example of how you can create a great bloomless container when planting a container for gardening 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
Repeating an element is one of the most effective tools of garden design. It applies to containers for gardening, 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
Video: Container Garden Design Tips
Watch this quick video for tips on creating your own stunning container gardens.
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
Here's another example of how mixing shades of green can look great in a container for gardening. 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
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
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. This container for gardening grows best in shade.
A. Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus) — 2
B. Begonia ‘Cocktail Vodka’ — 2
C. Wishbone flower (Torenia ‘Clown Mix’) — 3
Choosing the Right Pot
Sometimes the container itself is just as important as the plants you put in it. Learn how to choose the right pot for your next container garden.
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
Favorite scented plants fill a terra-cotta pot tucked into a sturdy basket. Herbs and scented geraniums, in particular, offer a vast array of tantalizing fragrances, depending on the plants you choose.
B. Heliotrope Heliotropium spp.
C. Scented geranium ‘Attar of Roses’ Pelargonium
D. Lavender lavandula angustifolia
E. Sweet alyssum Lobularia maritima
F. Plectranthus ciliatus ‘Vanilla Twist’
The irresistible textures of this display will encourage you to place it near a bench or entryway, where it can easily be seen and touched.
A. Northern sea oats Chasmanthium latifolium
B. Fiber optic grass Scirpus cernuus
C. Ageratum ‘Artist Blue’
D. Silver sage Salvia argentea
E. Chenille plant Acalypha hispida
F. Lavender lavandula angustifolia
G. Helichrysum petiolare ‘Lemon Licorice’
A bright punch of color makes a splash in this sensational planter that blooms from spring into fall. A 1-inch-deep layer of pea gravel in the bottom of the container facilitates drainage.
A. Salvia farinacea ‘Victoria Blue’
B. Zinnia ‘Profusion Orange’; ‘Profusion Pink’
C. Osteospermum ‘Symphony’
D. Sweet alyssum Lobularia maritima
F. Lobelia erinus ‘Compact Blue’
Salad Container Garden
A container garden that's equal parts functional and beautiful, this salad container garden gives you fresh produce at your fingertips.
Careful plant selection turns up the volume in this potted scheme. Rustling grasses tease eardrums, while other plants attract bees and birds that add their own sounds to the garden.
A. Ornamental millet ‘Purple Majesty’ Pennisetum glaucum
B. Gaura lindheimeri
C. Butterfly weed Asclepias tuberosa
D. Heucherella ‘Quicksilver’
E. Variegated sweet potato vine Ipomoea batatas
F. Trailing snapdragon Antirrhinum majus
G. Chartreuse sweet potato vine Ipomoea batatas
An aged wooden box outfitted with a plastic liner features edible picks that are mild to peppery in flavor. Edible flowers are best eaten by the petals, rather than whole, so you can savor their typically delicate flavors.
A. Miniature rose Rosa
B. Dill Anethum graveolens
C. Grape tomato
D. Mint Mentha spp.
F. Parsley Petroselinum crispum
H. Nasturtium Tropaeolum
I. Sweet potato vine Ipomoea batatas
J. Sage Salvia ‘Tricolo’
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
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
Drought-Tolerant Container Garden
You can have a garden even if you're an avid traveler. Learn how to create a container garden that will withstand your summer vacation.
Mix plants that have attractive flowers with plants grown for their foliage and you'll have an extra-appealing container for gardening. 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
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
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
Ornamental grasses add texture to any container for gardening. 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
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