Create Bold, Dramatic Container Gardens
Choose a Bold Container
Geometry at play makes for a striking gathering, with a container detailed with interlocking rectangles against an upright canna and sprawling petunias and geraniums.
A. Canna 'Assaut' — 2
B. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Designer Cherry') — 1
C. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Graffiti White') — 2
D. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Graffiti Pink') — 2
E. Petunia 'Easy Wave Shell Pink' — 1
Create an Old-Fashioned Look
In this old urn, tried-and-true plants flow into one another, creating a lovely patchwork of burgundy, green, and pink with a plant combination ideas for container gardens you know you can depend on.
A. Begonia 'Bayou Pink' — 3
B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Christmas Candy') — 2
C. Coralbells (Heuchera 'Palace Purple') — 1
D. Dusty miller (Senecio 'Silver Dust') — 3
E. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Eva') — 1
F. Dracaena marginata — 1
Video: Container Gardening Design Tips
Watch this quick video from Better Homes and Gardens® to get ideas on creating your own dramatic container garden. These are the elements you need for the perfect planter.
Dress Up an Entry
Urns are a classic way to dress up gates, doorways, or other entry points. This one is dressed up by smart plant choices—two sweet potato vines grab your eye and are brought together by a coleus that blends the two colors. A dracaena adds extra texture.
A. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Marguerite') — 1
B. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie') — 1
C. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Private Dancer') — 1
D. Dracaena marginata — 1
E. Petunia 'Celebrity Mid-Blue' — 1
Go for a Contemporary Look
A crisply modern hammered tin container plays host to a decidedly relaxed assembly of plants, making for a summery combination.
A. Spiderwort (Tradescantia 'Sweet Kane') — 3
B. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Designer Hot Coral') — 4
C. Osteospermum 'Lemon Symphony' — 2
D. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Marguerite') — 3
E. Licorice vine (Helichrysum petiolare) — 4
Add a Touch of the Tropics
Plant a Tree
Use Warm, Bright Colors
Play Up the Power of Foliage
A collection of foliage plants, grouped in vintage and new containers, pulls greens, yellows, and rust into a coordinating palette.
A. Purple fountaingrass (Pennisetum 'Rubrum') — 2
B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Glennis') — 2
C. Rue (Ruta 'Jackman's Blue') — 3
D. Croton (Codeiaeum 'Gold Star') — 3
E. Dracaena 'Florida Beauty' — 1
F. Hosta 'Bright Lights' — 1
G. Dracaena marginata — 1
Draw Your Eye Up
A tall container calls for vertical plants—but you don't necessarily have to grow up. Here, trailing stems of creeping Jenny surround mounds of petunias, verbena, and calibrachoa (also called Million Bells).
A. Calibrachoa 'Cabaret Hot Pink' — 1
B. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) — 2
C. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia) — 3
D. Verbena 'Wildfire Deep Lavender' — 2
E. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) — 1
F. Petunia 'Easy Wave Blue' — 1
Create Your Own Fireworks
Striking phormium looks great as a specimen plant. It looks even better dressed up by other plants. Here, bacopa and fescue add contrast in both color and plant size and add to the planting's bold interest.
A. Bacopa (Sutera 'Snowstorm') — 2
B. New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax 'Variegatum') — 1
C. Blue fescue (Festuca 'Elijah Blue') — 2
D. Lonicera nitida — 1
E. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Sweet Caroline Bronze') — 1
Create Drama with Vines
A pretty yellow black-eyed Susan vine scrambles up the center of this unique container garden idea, complemented by the yellow-green shades of coleus, lantana, and osteospermum. Place plants and containers such as these against exterior walls in need of a summer color boost.
A. Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia 'Suzie hybrids') — 2
B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Goldie') — 1
C. Lantana 'Landmark Yellow' — 1
D. Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii' — 4
E. Osteospermum 'Lemon Symphony' — 1
Create a Soft Look
At times unrestrained, the range of blooms found here, including petunia, nicotiana, and daisy, softens the wood timbers and helps give them warmth.
A. Calibrachoa 'Starlette Yellow'— 2
B. Coleus (Solenstemon 'Colleen') — 1
C. Petunia 'Baby Compact Coral' — 1
D. Argyranthemum 'Madeira White' — 1
E. Nicotiana 'Saratoga Deep Rose' — 1
F. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Autumn') — 1
G. Sanvitalia 'Sunbini' — 1
H. Strawflower (Bracteantha 'Sundaze Flame') — 1
Keep Your Colors Simple
Blue and yellow is a classic color combination you can always count on to create impact. Here, it's freshened up with a couple of white accents.
A. Petunia 'Easy Wave Blue' — 1
B. Angelonia 'Angelface White' — 3
C. Lobelia 'Techno Heat Light Blue' — 3
D. Osteospermum 'Vanilla Symphony' — 1
E. Sanvitalia 'Sunbini' — 2
Play Off Your Container
Use creative planters to create contrast. Here, soft silvers and purples accent the deeper-toned container. The minimal blooms make way for a selection of interesting foliage.
A. Lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina 'Big Ears') — 2
B. Sedum 'Vera Jameson' — 1
C. Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' — 1
D. Veronica 'Blue Charm' — 1
E. Ruby Grass (Melinus 'Pink Crystals') — 1
Eat What You Grow
Bold container gardens don't just have to look good—they can taste great, too! Here, a calamondin offers a beautiful focal point for sage and rosemary.
A. Calamondin (Citrus mitis 'Calamondin') — 1
B. Blue fescue (Festuca glauca) — 2
C. Rosemary (Rosmarinus 'Prostratus') — 2
D. Tricolor sage (Salvia officinalis 'Tricolor') — 2
Revive an Old Urn
A container as classic as an urn doesn't have to be filled with the same old petunias and geraniums you're used to seeing. A smart mix of plants can give it a whole new feel.
A. Bacopa (Sutera 'Snowstorm') — 1
B. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Ceridwen') — 1
C. Tuberous begonia (Begonia 'Nonstop Bright Rose') — 1
D. Tuberous begonia (B. 'Nonstop Yellow') — 2
E. Tuberous begonia (B. 'Go-Go Red') — 3
F. Asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Myersii') — 1
Create a Grouping
A wild assortment of plants, each in their own container, assures visual interest in this container composition. Plus, you can keep the display looking fresh by moving the containers around or adding others.
A. Coralbells (Heuchera 'Lime Rickey') — 1
B. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Asterisk') — 2
C. Chamaecyparis 'Fernspray Gold' — 1
D. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Vancouver Centennial') — 1
E. Tuberous begonia (Begonia 'Nonstop Orange') — 1
F. Reiger begonia (Begonia 'Spectrum Jutta') — 1
G. Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana' — 1
H. Oakleaf hydrangea Hydrangea quercifolia 'Little Honey' — 1
I. Plumbago auriculata — 2
J. Heuchera 'Starry Night' — 1
Create Cottage-Style Charm
Pinks and greens spell summer in this lush arrangement, accented with unusual choices such as sedum and hens and chicks. Another way to interest, which this container does, is to mix up foliage shapes and sizes.
A. Hydrangea macrophylla 'Pia' — 2
B. Rose (Rosa 'Anne Boleyn') — 1
C. Sedum sieboldii — 2
D. Begonia 'Pink Minx' — 2
E. Hens-and-chicks (Sempervivum tectorum) — 6
F. Tradescantia zebrina — 2
G. New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax) — 1
H. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Abel') — 2
Vary Plant Shapes
This grouping of four containers works well because there are contrasting plant shapes. An upright mandevilla contrasts with the mounding purple heliotrope, which complements the trailing forms of thyme and nolana.
A. Mandevilla 'Alice du Pont' — 1
B. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Fantasia White') — 1
C. Heliotrope (Heliotropium 'Marine') — 3
D. Thyme (Thymus 'Argenteus') — 5
E. Dianthus 'Devon Cottage Miss Pinky' — 3
F. Nolana 'Blue Eyes' — 2
G. Lantana 'Lucky Yellow' — 1
H. Geranium (Pelargonium 'Graffiti Double White') — 1
Add Layers of Interest
An elevated ironwork container stands partially hidden behind the lush blooms of a skirt of petunias. A layer of foliage plants rises above, which creates even more interest.
A. Alternathera 'Purple Knight' — 1
B. Calibrachoa 'Blush Purple' — 6
C. Plectranthus argentatus — 1
D. Vinca major 'Variegata' — 2
E. Dracaena marginata — 1
Bright, Drought-Tolerant Container Garden
You don't have to stick with one style per container. Check out this drought-tolerant container garden that mixes tropical and Mediterranean plants.