Recipes for Beautiful Container Gardens
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'): 1B. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Glacier'): 1C. Sedum sieboldii: 1D. Flowering cabbage (Brassica oleracea 'Ruby'): 1E. Aster novae-belgii 'Crimson Brocade': 1F. Wood fern (Dryopteris marginalis): 1
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': 5B. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatus 'Blackie'): 2C. Acalypha wilkesiana: 1
Video: Container Garden Design Tips
Watch this quick video to get more ideas on how to put together beautiful container gardens.
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: 7B. Calla (Zantedeschia 'Black Forest'): 1C. Elephant's ears (Colocasia 'Illustris'): 1
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': 1B. Zinnia 'Profusion Orange': 1C. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Wild Lime'): 1
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': 2B. Celosia 'Purple Flamingo': 1C. Calibrachoa 'Superbells Blue': 3
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': 3B. Calibrachoa 'Superbells Trailing Blue': 3C. Calibrachoa 'Million Bells Terra Linda': 3D. Osteospermum 'Lemon Symphony': 3E. Purple fountaingrass (Pennisetum 'Rubrum'): 1F. Phlox drummondii 'Intensia White': 3
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': 1B. Fuchsia triphylla 'Firecracker': 1C. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie'): 1D. Gerbera 'Festival Salmon': 2
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'): 1B. Begonia 'Prelude Pink': 5C. Vinca (Catharanthus 'Coconut Cooler'): 3
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': 3B. Nemesia 'Compact Innocence': 1C. Ivy-leaf geranium (Pelargonium 'Picasso'): 2D. Purple fountaingrass (Pennisetum 'Rubrum'): 1E. Zinnia 'Profusion White': 3
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'): 5B. Licorice plant (Helichrysum 'Limelight'): 3
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
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': 2B. Caladium 'Postman Joyner': 3C. Podocarpus elatus : 1D. Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva': 1
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 'Green Gem'): 1B. Verbena 'Superbena Purple': 3C. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Mississippi Summer'): 3D. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Glacier'): 3
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'): 1B. Nemesia 'Blue Bird': 2C. Nemesia 'Compact Innocence': 1D. Petunia 'Supertunia Giant Pink': 3E. Ivy (Hedera helix 'Anne Marie'): 4
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'): 1B. Evolvulus glomeratus 'Blue Daze': 5
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'): 1B. Calibrachoa Superbells 'Cherry Red': 3C. Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum 'Rubrum'): 1
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': 1B. Cigar plant (Cuphea ignea 'Dynamite'): 1C. Calibrachoa 'Superbells Trailing Light Blue': 3D. Beefsteak plant (Iresine 'California'): 1E. Dahlia 'Gallery Salvador': 1
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'): 1B. Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatus 'Margarita'): 2C. Wax begonia (Begonia 'Vodka'): 2D. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Olympic Torch'): 1E. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'): 2
Create Cottage Charm
The loose, billowy feeling of this gorgeous container garden is a perfect cottage-garden accent.
A. Verbena 'Escapade Bright Eye': 3B. Plectranthus argentatus: 2C. Parrot's beak (Lotus berthelotii): 3
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': 3B. Bacopa (Sutera 'Snowstorm White'): 3C. Calibrachoa 'Superbells Trailing Rose': 3D. Swan River daisy (Brachycome 'Mauve Delight'): 3E. Petunia 'Explorer Rose': 1F. Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans): 2
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': 1B. Petunia 'Rose Double Madness': 3C. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare 'Icicles'): 1D. Gaura lindheimeri: 1
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': 1B. Nemesia 'Sunsatia Raspberry': 1C. Nemesia 'Sunsatia Lemon': 1D. Nemesia 'Sunsatia Cranberry': 1E. Pansy (Viola 'Karma Blue Blotch'): 1
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'): 1B. Sweet alyssum (Lobularia 'Wonderland Purple'): 3
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. Godetia (Clarkia 'Grace Salmon Red'): 3B. Verbena 'Babylon Purple': 3C. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum 'Solstice Red'): 3
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'): 3B. Ivy-leaf geranium (Pelargonium 'Crocodile'): 3C. Scented geranium (Pelargonium tomentosum): 3D. Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare 'Variegatum'): 5E. African daisy (Arctotis 'Cerise'): 3F. Salvia patens: 2
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': 1B. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Stained Glassworks Trailing Plum'): 2C. Cordyline australis: 1
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'): 1B. Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'): 3C. Verbena 'Superbena Burgundy': 3
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'): 1B. Petunia 'Supertunia Mini White': 2C. Umbrella sedge (Cyperus alternifolius): 1
Add Mound of Texture
This fun combo with traditional petunias and osteospermums is elevated by the dramatic perilla that demands attention.
A. Perilla 'Magilla': 1B. Petunia 'Supertunia Royal Velvet': 2C. Osteospermum 'Lemon Symphony': 2