- If you’re searching for the best flowers for full sun then see our list of heat tolerant flowers.
- Heat Tolerant Flowers
- Botanical Beauty for Containers
- 1. Pick the Perfect Pot
- 2. Plant with a Plan
- 3. Provide Nutrient-Rich Soil
- 4. Give Them a Long, Tall Drink of Water
- 5. Groom Bi-Weekly
- 6. The Most Important Step: Fertilize, and Fertilize Again
- Be The Watcher
- A Bountiful Bottom Line
- Patio Plants: Container Gardening With Perennials
- Perennial plants for pots
- If you love the color ‘BLUE,’ learn about the best blue flowers you can grow in containers!
- 2. Hydrangea
- 3. Clematis
- 4. Cornflower (Bachelor’s Button)
- 5. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
- 6. Delphinium
- 7. Viola/Pansy
- 8. Petunia
- 9. Lobelia
- 10. Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower)
- 11. Salvia
- 12. Geranium
- 13. Grape Hyacinth
- 14. Plumbago
- 15. Evolvulus (Dwarf Morning Glory)
- 16. Bellflower (Campanula)
- 17. Aster
- 18. Balloon Flower
- 19. Iris
- 20. Angelonia (Summer Snapdragon)
If you’re searching for the best flowers for full sun then see our list of heat tolerant flowers.
All these flowers can bear the tropical heat and thrive in full sun. You can also grow them in containers. Check out!
Heat Tolerant Flowers
Beautiful pentas flowers attract pollinators like bees, hummingbirds, and sunbirds due to the nectar. Pentas is a tough heat tolerant plant that you can grow in containers. This tropical flower can be grown in USDA Zones 9-11 as perennial, below these zones grow it as an annual.
Lantana is a common tropical flower that blooms year-round in bright colors like red, yellow, orange, white or pink. It thrives in neglect and heat, it is kind of an afternoon sun plant, the more sun the better. Growing lantana is only possible as an annual plant in mild climates. Learn more about lantana here.
Plumbago is a beautiful vine-like African native shrub that thrives in minimal care in subtropical or tropical heat. Its sky blue flowers appear almost year long in right climate. For growing plumbago outside you have to live in USDA Zone 9-11, in cooler zones you’ll need to protect it in winters.
The spectacular display of large and fragrant pure white flowers that resembles morning glory and open in the evening. You can grow this vine in a large container. It flowers year-round in subtropics but if you live in a temperate region, grow it as annual. Moonflower plant can reach the height of 6-15 feet in a single season and blooms from summer to fall.
Hibiscus is one the most popular flowering shrubs due to some reasons: It is low maintenance, can be grown in pots easily, available in myriads of colors and for both temperate and tropical climates. Tropical hibiscus can easily handle the temperature above 100 F or more.
Also Read: 44 Best Shrubs for Containers
6. Portulaca (Moss Rose)
Amazing needle-like foliage and bright and colorful small flowers, the portulacas worth a place in your container garden, in hanging baskets or window boxes whether you live in tropics or in temperates. They are one of the toughest plants that never mind the rising tropical heat and drought. Portulacas are annuals everywhere except tropical zones.
7. Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
Also known as blanket flower, gaillardia is a heat resistant and drought tolerant plant belongs to the sunflower family. The blooms look so attractive and become excellent cut flowers. Grow blanket flower in full sun and provide afternoon shade in summer in peak tropical summer to save it.
Also Read: How to Grow Safflower
8. Calliandra (Powder Puff)
Basically, a small tree that is famous for its puffy flowers that attract wildlife, you can also grow calliandra in a large pot, especially in the colder zones, below 9 to overwinter it indoors as this magnificent plant can’t survive harsh winters.
There are more than 250 species of verbenas that can be grown in a variety of climates between USDA Zones 4-11. Almost all varieties require sun to thrive and bloom prolifically. Grow verbenas in well-drained soil and provide moderate but regular watering when the soil is dry.
10. Thunbergia Erecta (King’s Mantle)
Also called bush clock vine, thunbergia erecta is a shrub that is native to Africa. If grown in a subtropical or tropical climate (USDA Zone 9-11) this plant never fails from flowering. A year round prolific bloomer thunbergia erecta comes in shades of violet, purple and yellow.
Grow Mandevilla as annual in cooler climates, it is a fast growing heat resistant tropical climber that blooms heavily, flowers are pink, white or red in color and give a tropical look to any garden.
With its brush like puffy flowers that appear throughout the year, bottlebrush is without a doubt one of the best large flowering shrubs. Bottlebrush can be trained in large containers, although it requires space. If grown in a cooler zone, bring the bottle brush plant indoors before the first frost to overwinter it.
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It’s a sad sight to see. And it happens every year.
Planters and containers that were once rich with color and foliage slowly fade and fail, becoming worn out and tired-looking by the time mid-summer rolls around.
And the higher the temperatures climb, the more those pretty blossoms and plump leaves shrivel and disappear.
Well, this doesn’t have to be your tale of woe this year. You can help your containers to flourish with vibrant good health all summer long just by doing one little thing differently.
Sounds good, right? It is! But first, let’s take a look at all of the steps that will help your pots and containers to put on a peacock-worthy display throughout the season this year.
Botanical Beauty for Containers
In today’s world, nurseries and garden centers have such an amazing selection of lovely, healthy plants that it’s pretty easy to create an attractive-looking container. The tough part is to keep them looking good from spring right through to autumn.
Here’s a brief review of the steps that you can take to create and maintain a brilliant display all summer long.
1. Pick the Perfect Pot
The first step for a robust planter is to choose the correct pot size. This is determined by a few different factors.
A planter that’s too small will crowd roots, resulting in a scarcity of water, oxygen, and nutrients that are vital for healthy, vigorous growth.
Containers that are too big can result in overly moist soil, cutting off oxygen and drowning the roots. And the cool, moist soil often found in planters with too much room is also a welcome mat for plant problems. Fungal growth such as powdery mildew and leaf spot are common visitors, as are damping off and root or stem rot.
Bedding plants, seasonal kitchen herbs, annuals, and bulbs can all be arranged a little closer and tighter than plants in the ground, to make an impressive and healthy visual display.
So, if the recommended spacing is, say, 10-12 inches, item that thrive in containers can be planted about 6-8 inches apart.
And as a general rule, if their normal growth is 10-12 inches tall, you’ll want a pot that’s a bit more than half that size, or around 6-8 inches in diameter. For plants that grow from 24-36 inches in height, a larger container around 24 inches in diameter would be appropriate.
Your pot will need drainage holes with adequate drainage material on the bottom, to allow excess water to flow away easily.
Inverting a smaller plastic pot over the drainage holes will work if adding more weight is an issue, as will using packing chips or peanuts – although there is some controversy about styrene from styrofoam leeching into edibles.
This controversy arose after the 2011 publication of the National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens, reporting that “Styrene is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen…” It also reported finding low levels of styrene in packaged food was primarily due to leaching from the polystyrene containers they were packed in.
But the report also concluded that these low levels from leaching are still considered to be within acceptable standards for human health. The greatest risk comes from long term occupational exposure in industries that use a lot of this material.
Gravel, pebbles, pieces of broken pottery, nut shells, pinecones, sticks, and coffee filters can all been used for drainage.
As a rule of (green) thumb, container plants don’t like to have wet feet – that is, having their roots sitting in water makes them unhappy.
A soggy root environment will cause most bedding plants to sulk and underperform. Or the roots may simply rot, which is not conducive for pretty planters!
Drainage is also needed to provide aeration for potted roots, as it’s harder for them to “breathe” and access oxygen in a container than it is for plants in the ground.
Are you a succulent gardener? Check out our guide to the best containers for these plants.
2. Plant with a Plan
For many of us, the garden center has the same effect as a candy shop does on kids. “I want some of these, and six of those, and oh, I need a whole flat of the pretty pink ones…” And as we all know, impulse buying does not always mean we’ve made the best choices!
So, a little discernment (and self-discipline!) will help in selecting plants that will produce the best results for your location.
Choose plants that will thrive in your particular climate and light conditions. And if you like to mix plants together in one pot, select ones that have similar requirements for water and light.
Adding some foliage plants will help to fill out your pots, and they also provide an element of unity – pulling the overall picture together for greater visual appeal.
The addition of plants with varying heights and bloom times will also add a dynamic visual interest to your potted gardenscape, changing as the season progresses.
Summer flowering bulbs like gladiolas, canna lilies, arums, and caladiums will extend the season, providing fresh color and interest while earlier bloomers take a rest.
3. Provide Nutrient-Rich Soil
How good is it to be a fully grown adult and still be able to play in the dirt?!
However, we’re not serving up mud pies anymore. As garden stewards, we need to provide a nutrient-rich environment to ensure that our bedding plants thrive.
Amending your soil with about 20-25% finished compost or well-rotted manure improves the soil in a few different ways. It develops the soil’s tilth, or body structure, which helps with the retention of moisture and nutrients, and reduces soil compaction.
Container soil is best when it has some moisture-retaining materials in the mix, such as perlite, vermiculite, sphagnum moss, or peat, at about 20% of the volume. It also needs nutrient-rich materials such as compost or manure.
Amending your soil with about 20-25% finished compost or well-rotted manure improves the soil in a few different ways. It develops the soil’s tilth, or body structure, which helps with the retention of moisture and nutrients, and reduces soil compaction. Plus, it can act as an equalizer for soils that have lost their pH neutrality.
Use a large bin, wheelbarrow, or a layer of plastic on the ground to mix up all of your ingredients in batches large enough to accommodate several pots. And if you purchase a growing mix, ensure that the texture is light and loose enough to provide ample drainage while still retaining some moisture.
If you like to recycle last year’s container soil, replace at least half to two-thirds with fresh soil, recycling any depleted dirt into your compost bin.
Of course, you should never recycle or compost any soil that has had diseased or failing plants grown in it. Spores, fungus, mites, and other unfriendlies can live on in the soil long after the plants have been removed – and they can be nestled in the dirt even with plants that look healthy. A safer option is to use fresh soil for each pot.
4. Give Them a Long, Tall Drink of Water
By the time summer arrives, containers in a sunny location require frequent, even daily, watering when it’s hot out.
However, not all pots require watering at the same time. Differences in light exposure, pot size, and plant size determine how often water is required.
Strong, healthy plants need strong, healthy root systems, which are developed by deep, slow watering. Light watering will develop small, shallow roots just under the surface. This leaves the larger roots at the bottom deprived of moisture, which causes plants to become dehydrated and fail.
Water slowly to ensure the entire root ball, including the deepest roots, gets a good drink, or just until water starts to emerge from the drainage holes.
5. Groom Bi-Weekly
During the growing season, give your containers a light grooming session every couple of weeks.
Deadhead spent blossoms, cut back straggly stems, and if needed, replace any plants that have given up.
Container gardening has no more pests or problems associated with it than ground plantings. But due to their close quarters and reduced air circulation, the spread of fungi and pests can be rapid.
To keep remaining plants free of infestation, any diseased specimens need to be removed pronto.
A few of the most common problems to be on the alert for are:
Most troublesome on roses, black spot also targets fruiting plants and is common in moist, humid conditions. It appears as brown or black spots on stems and leaves, causing leaves to yellow and fall off.
Remove any diseased leaves and stems, clean up all plant debris from the soil surface, and destroy it (i.e. don’t dispose of it in your compost pile).
Water in the morning to allow the leaves to dry thoroughly, and avoid watering on cool days. Some control can be found with regular spraying of new foliage with neem oil.
Also known as gray mold, botrytis blight is another fungus that overwinters on plant debris. It favors cool, rainy weather and can infect numerous ornamentals as well as vegetables, berries, and other types of fruit.
Avoid overhead watering and remove and destroy any plants that may be infected.
Caused by overwatering and cool temperatures, damping off causes plants to rot at the base of the stem and keel over. Avoid overhead watering and move the planter to a warmer spot if possible.
This fungus looks like a dusting of powder all over the plant leaves. It is particular about its weather conditions, showing up when days are warm and nights are cool. It will target flowers, ornamentals, and veggies, and is particularly fond of cereal grains.
Difficult to control, some prevention can be accomplished with regular spraying of new foliage with neem oil.
Plant rust looks like spots of rust on leaves and stems. Fond of hot, humid, and damp conditions, rust will cause plants to wilt and decline.
Rust spores are spread by wind and water, so prompt removal from containers is needed. Avoid overhead watering late in the day, and overwatering in general.
As the summer progresses, you can also freshen your containers with the addition of late-season performers like mums, autumn sedums, asters, calendula, and violas.
And now, for the trick we’ve all been waiting for…
6. The Most Important Step: Fertilize, and Fertilize Again
That’s it. When practiced regularly, this is the one simple tip that will significantly improve the performance and appearance of your planters and containers.
The addition of a slow-release fertilizer is always a good idea, and every planting should be finished off with granules that will feed slowly. A better idea is to give your containers a diluted drink of water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks, and even weekly for small pots that require frequent watering.
Every time a container is watered correctly, to the point of water coming from the drainage holes, it flushes nutrients out of the pot and away from the roots. This is problematic…
The reason is simple. Every time a container is watered correctly, to the point of water coming from the drainage holes, it flushes nutrients out of the pot and away from the roots. This is problematic, because unlike plants grown in the ground that can expand to find food, the roots are limited to an area within the container walls, with no access to fresh dirt and nutrition.
The answer is to supplement with a diluted solution of an all-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. A general purpose fertilizer of 24-8-16 (24% nitrogen, 8% phosphorous, and 16% potassium) will maintain and feed your plants in pretty much any environment, but specific formulas (such as for tomatoes or annuals) may be selected to cater specifically to your chosen plantings.
Take care to heed the word dilute. Too much fertilizer is just as bad (if not worse) than too little, and will cause plants to grow and display fast and bright – but they’ll also burn out and fail quickly, too.
Over-fertilizing can cause plant leaves to turn yellow or brown, and damages roots. “Burning” is caused by the naturally occurring salts in fertilizers, which draw moisture out of the plant. Too much, and the most susceptible areas of the thin tips and edges will brown first, followed by the entire leaf.
To find the Goldilocks zone for fertilizing containers, take the recommended dosage for the product you’re using, and divide it by how frequently you’ll be fertilizing. For example, if the recommended amount is one “scoop” per month, divide the amount by 2 for bi-weekly feedings, and by 4 for weekly fertilizing. Mix into a full watering can and apply to moist soil.
Quick and easy, just as tips and tricks should be!
As a side note, while the majority of nutrients are supplied by the roots, some absorption can occur through the leaves with water soluble foliar fertilizers. Nurseries will often use a nitrogen-rich mix to promote leaf growth of seedlings, while a high phosphorous solution will encourage blooming.
If leaves are showing signs of distress, a foliar spray can quickly supply nutrients. However, they can be a bit tricky to use in mixed containers as different species have different requirements.
And, if the formula is too strong, leaf burn or scorch can easily occur. Plus, only a small amount of nutrients can be applied in one application, limiting its efficacy.
Be The Watcher
As caretaker of your lovely container gardenscape, you’ll also want to keep an eye on your plants to see how they’re responding to your care and maintenance regime. If they’re not flourishing, they’ll communicate their needs by their appearance.
Here’s a roundup of a few common signs to look out for:
The most common causes of wilting are either too little or too much water.
If your plants are drooping due to dry soil, water slowly until it’s been absorbed by the dirt and starts to drain from the pot.
If it’s from too much water, cut back on watering until the soil is dry to the touch before watering again.
Lackluster Performance & General Decline
Leeching nutrients from the soil with each watering is often the cause of underperformance. Increase your fertilizing schedule with diluted applications, as per Tip #6 above.
Low Blossom Show
Annuals that are all leaf and no flower benefit from a fertilizer that’s higher in phosphorous. Look for formulas with a high middle number (i.e. phosphorous), such as 10-20-10, to boost bloom production.
By the time mid-summer rolls around, many annuals can be all stem with only a few flowers at the ends of branches. Both leggy annuals and perennials can be renewed by cutting back, which forces new growth.
Cut stems back by two-thirds on only half of the plant at a time, so as to retain some color. New growth will appear in a couple of weeks, at which time the remaining half of the plant can be cut back. And regular deadheading will help to reduce the appearance of scrawny, chicken-leg plants.
Yellow or Brown Leaves
This can have a few different causes. Inadequate nutrition due to leeching as well as over-fertilizing are often culprits, as are inadequate moisture levels.
Check your water and fertilizer routines and adjust as needed.
Do this for your containers from mid-May through the end of August and you’ll be richly rewarded with robust, full plantings of lush foliage and delightful color for the entire growing season.
A Bountiful Bottom Line
With the application of just a few simple steps at the start of the season, some weekly maintenance, and our super fertilizing tip, your containers and planters will have what it takes to put on a blazing display all summer long.
So remember, to retain their healthy good looks for the entire season, feed your planters more frequently, but with weaker doses of a water-soluble fertilizer. This is simple but effective, and you’ll be thrilled with the results.
Do you have any comments or questions about container plantings? If so, drop us a note in the comments below and share your thoughts!
Photo credits: .
About Lorna Kring
A writer, artist, and entrepreneur, Lorna is also a long-time gardener who got hooked on organic and natural gardening methods at an early age. These days, her vegetable garden is smaller to make room for decorative landscapes filled with color, fragrance, art, and hidden treasures. Cultivating and designing the ideal garden spot is one of her favorite activities – especially for gathering with family and friends for good times and good food (straight from the garden, of course)!
Patio Plants: Container Gardening With Perennials
- Use bigger pots. (Note: I use the words container and pot interchangeably.) Avoid using pots that are too small. Plants quickly become root-bound and it becomes difficult if not impossible to keep them adequately watered and fertilized. I always use at least a 14 inch diameter pot. Remember: The bigger the mature plant, the bigger the pot.
- Always use a soil-less potting mix. Filling pots with garden soil is a recipe for failure. Garden soil compacts and greatly restricts drainage and air exchange. I always recommend a high quality soil-less potting mix. This potting mix can be reused each season and enhanced with new ingredients.
- Keep the plants well fertilized. Because we must water pots more frequently than plants in the ground, we need to replenish nutrients that are flushed away. If you want to grow your pots organically, top-dress every couple of weeks with earthworm compost and Yum Yum Mix. Compost tea is also excellent. Growing conventionally, use Osmocote slow release fertilizer mixed into the soil at potting time and supplement with water-soluble Miracle-Gro (or equivalent) once every week or two.
- Don’t put gravel in the bottom of the pot; this is a useless technique that can actually restrict drainage in the pots. Fill the pots completely with soil-less mix. If the pot has a large drainage hole, I’ll put an irregular rock over the hole that doesn’t seal the hole and allows for water to flow out.
- Leaving pots out-of-doors year-round: If you want to leave your containers outside year-round, I recommend using a fiberglass pot or the pot-in-pot strategy to avoid cracked pots and cold damaged roots. For pot-in-pot cultivation, plant in a plastic nursery container and drop this pot into a slightly larger ceramic pot. Fill the empty space in between with small bark nuggets. This insulates the inside pot from heat and cold and allows winter watering without cracking the ceramic pot.
Perennial plants for pots
Most of us fill our pots and containers with annuals, which flower for ages and provide maximum impact. They only last for one season, however, and have to be discarded after flowering. This makes them quite high maintenance and expensive.
Find out how to grow summer bedding.
Perennial plants in pots, on the other hand, require much less maintenance. They cost more than bedding initially, but grow into substantial plants. They should last for several years in a container, after which time they can be planted in the garden.
Many perennials are less showy than many annuals, so the trick is to go for plants that have long-lasting flowers, but also offer attractive foliage or interesting texture. Grow them in large pots, in good-quality multi-purpose compost, and keep well watered.
Here are some beautiful perennials to try.
The trick is to go for plants that have long-lasting flowers, but also offer attractive foliage or interesting texture.
Lavender likes good drainage, so be sure to incorporate some horticultural grit into your compost when planting. Grow in full sun. Most varieties are evergreen and fully hardy; Lavender stoechas, pictured, needs protection over winter in colder areas. Watch Monty Don plant lavender and pelargoniums in pots.
Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’
Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ is a short-lived perennial that is in flower virtually all year round in mild areas. Grow it on its own, or underplant with spring bulbs. Trim back flower spikes after flowering. Each plant only lasts a few years, but is easily replaced with fresh plants taken from cuttings.
Penstemons produce foxglove-like flowers for months on end, in shades of purple, pink and red. They are semi-evergreen and hardy, but you could take cuttings to ensure plants for next year. Don’t cut back until the spring, once the worst of the winter weather has passed. Read our Grow Guide to penstemons.
The flowers of Hemerocallis (daylilies) only bloom for day, but they produce bloom after bloom, giving a display for many weeks. Divide day lilies or replace every three or four years to prevent the roots becoming congested and to ensure the best display of flowers.
The grey-blue, evergreen foliage of Festuca glauca combines well with a wide range of plants throughout the year – it looks especially good with white, bright pinks and reds, or lime greens and acid yellows. Try this combination with euphorbia and lime heather.
Heucheras are evergreen plants grown mostly for their foliage, which comes in a wide range of colours, from acid yellow to dark purple. They also bear spikes of tiny flowers in summer. They make a great foil for other plants – try this combination with cyclamen and skimmia.
Hellebores are among the first plants to flower – they brighten up our gardens in January and February and often welcome nectar for bees. Growing them in pots on the patio means you can enjoy them at close range without. Discover more plants for winter containers.
There are many varieties of hosta to choose from, all grown mostly for their bold foliage, which ranges from deep to acid green. They are ideal for a shady spot and combine well with other more showy plants. They are very susceptible to munching by slugs and snails but are easier to protect in pots – surround the pot with copper tape.
Achillea: Yarrow will grow in just about any conditions. Tall feathery foliage with flat flower clusters in a good color range are a great centerpiece in a container. For best flowering do not fertilize. Hardy to zone 3.
Aster: Asters love moist cool summers and are hardy to zone 4. Make sure they get plenty of sun, feed lightly but regularly and allow for good drainage.
Chrysanthemum: Mums do exceptionally well in containers with plenty of sun and moist soil. They bloom in late summer to frost. Choose a dwarf or compact variety and be careful about hardiness, some are not cold hardy at all.
Coreopsis: There are several species and varieties of coreopsis, all should do well in a container. They prefer a thorough watering weekly. Just take note of mature size and hardiness, some are even annuals.
Cranesbill: Hardy geraniums are perfect to form a mound that spills over a smaller container, or as a lower growing filler plant that will sprawl where it can find room in a larger container. Hardy to zone 5, some are hardy to zone 4.
Delphinium: Delphs can be fussy perennials, but that can be precisely why they can do well in a container if you are diligent about their care. A glazed container will help to retain moisture, choose a generous size. Watering should be consistent, usually every few days to keep the soil moist but not wet. Choose one of the shorter varieties and be sure to check on the feeding and care preferences. Hardy to zone 3.
Dianthus: This enormous family of carnations and pinks offers a broad range of bloom type and color that do very well in containers. Keep the soil evenly moist and feed monthly. Be careful of hardiness, ranging to zone 2, 3 or 4. But some are not cold hardy.
Echinacea: Coneflower has many tough varieties to choose from. Be sure to use a deep container and they will do very well. Bloom colors to pick from is broad.
Gaillardia: Blanket flowers are super tough with daisy like blooms and are hardy to zone 3. Do not overwater, wait for the soil to be quite dry before watering.
Hemerocallis: Daylilies will do well in containers, but the soil must be moist and very well drained. Amend potting soil with just a bit of compost. Most are hardy to zone 3.
Lavendula: Lavender loves to grow in containers. But they like it hot and dry with very well drained soil. Water only when the soil feels dry. Prune lightly in the spring before the plant buds. Choose a dwarf variety. Hardy to zone 5.
Nepata: Catmint are terrific container perennials. They are vigorous growers, tough, drought tolerant and some are hardy to zone 4.
Penstemon: Beard Tongue will do very well in a container with adequate drainage. You may want to add a bit of crushed rock to your potting mix. Deadhead the entire flower stalk when spent.
Primula: Primrose are a perfect spring blooming addition to a container garden. Keep the soil moist and feed monthly. Some are hardy to zone 3, but most only to zone 5.
Rudbeckia: Black-eyed Susans will thrive just about anywhere so they are perfect for containers. They can get quite large so you may prefer a dwarf variety and it will still want a large container. Most are hardy to zone 3, but some are biennial.
Salvia: Perennial sage have a long bloom time and a good range of color. Do not over water and choose a generous container size, they like to spread their roots.. Be careful of size, some can reach 6 feet tall when grown in the ground. Hardy to zone 4.
Sedum: Sedum are fall blooming succulents with interesting foliage. Choose a tall variety for fall blooms and height, or a mounding variety for fillers or a groundcover to spill over the container edge. Make sure your container provides excellent drainage and do not over water. Many Sedum are hardy to zone 2 and will overwinter in most regions with little or not protection.
Best Perennials for a Container in Shade or Part Shade
Astilbe: Graceful and delicate looking astilbe will add wonderful tall and colorful plumes of flowers to a shade container. Most varieties get quite large and will need a large container. Provide good drainage but keep the soil moist with frequent waterings. Hardy to zone 4.
Digitalis: Foxglove offer tall spikes of dense blooms. Since it is a biennial you may not get blooms the first year. Foxglove enjoy the cooler regions and does not tolerate heat well. Keep the soil evenly moist but not wet. Feed monthly. Choose a compact variety, some can get well over 3 feet tall. Hardy to zone 4.
Heuchera: Coral Bell varieties are vast, some like more shade and some more sun. In addition to spring blooms, Coral Bells offer very interesting and colorful foliage to a shade container. Make sure you have excellent drainage and do not over water. Hardy to zone 4.
If you love the color ‘BLUE,’ learn about the best blue flowers you can grow in containers!
USDA Zones– 9 – 11, annual in lower zones
Climate– Morning glory is a frost tender vine that is perennial in warm climates
There are only very few flowers that provide true blue color like the ‘Heavenly Blue’ Morning Glory. Growing morning glory in containers is absolutely easy in a medium-sized pot. Keep the plant in full sun, provide some shade in the afternoon (if the sun is intense in your area) and it will grow.
USDA Zones– 3 – 9
Climate–Hydrangeas can be grown in temperate and moderately warm climates.
Hydrangeas can change the color of their blooms according to the soil pH. If the soil is acidic, they turn into blue (add soil sulfur to lower the pH). For growing hydrangeas in pots, a large container is required with a diameter of at least 18 inches. Provide morning sun with shade in the afternoon and moist and well-drained soil. HGTV has an informative article on Hydrangea varieties.
Also Read: Best Shrubs for Containers
USDA Zones— 3 – 9
Climate— You can grow clematis in a variety of climates; varieties are available for warmer (USDA Zones– 10 – 11) regions too.
Growing clematis is possible in a large container. There are many blue clematis cultivars available– Ice Blue, Blue Pirouette, Emilia Plater, Blekitny Aniol, Arabella, Dominika, Petit Faucon, Durandii, Fryderyk Chopin, etc. Keep your potted clematis in a spot that receives full sun, water well, and provide support.
4. Cornflower (Bachelor’s Button)
USDA Zones– 2 – 11
Climate– As cornflower is grown as an annual, it can thrive easily in almost all the climates
This wildflower can be an excellent addition to your container garden if you like to have a cottage garden like feeling and attract wildlife. As it never grows above 3 feet tall, a small to medium sized container is what you need. This low maintenance flowering plant blooms a lot with regular deadheading. To learn about its varieties, !
Also Read: how to keep flowers blooming
5. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)
USDA Zones– 5 – 9
Climate– Prefers moderate climate but can be grown in hot areas with care
One of the most popular ornamental shrubs, you can definitely grow this hardy hibiscus in a container. A few of the best blue varieties (don’t expect true blue) you can look for are Blue Bird, Blue Chiffon, and Blue Satin. The shrub has the potential to grow up to 8-10 feet tall on the ground. So you may need a medium-large sized container. *Choose the size of the container according to the current state of the plant.
USDA Zones– 3 – 8
Climate– Growing this flowering plant is possible if you live in a climate with cool summers
Delphiniums are great for spicing up the borders in summer, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t grow them in containers. The true blue color they offer is rare. Choose a medium to a small sized container (depending on the type you’re growing).
USDA Zones– 2 – 11
Climate– Can be grown as an annual/biennial in almost every climate
The names “Viola” and “Pansy a.but there is a slight difference in them. While they bloom in fall and spring, the blooming period of these beautiful flowers is winter in hot areas (USDA Zones 10-11). They come in almost every color, and you can easily find a variety in the shade of blue. True Blue, Blue Blotch, and Neon Violet are a few names you can look for.
USDA Zones– 9b – 11
Climates– Growing petunia is possible in every climate as an annual. They are perennial in warm climates
The most favorite annual flower, available in almost every color and blooms so abundantly. Petunia flowers are absolutely joyful to look at. You can easily find transplants in blue color in your nearby nurseries or look at seed catalogs on the web for more options. Read these petunia growing tips to learn growing petunias in pots!
USDA Zones– All Zones
Climate– Lobelia can be grown in any climate as an annual
Lobelia is another annual that we loved to add to our list of best blue flowers for containers. While many of its varieties are available in white, pink, and red color the most commonly seen color is blue. You can grow it in small containers, spilled flower pot, and hanging baskets and in beautiful container arrangements as a filler like this arrangement above– Lobelia, creeping jenny, and purple petunias!
10. Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower)
Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’
USDA Zones– 3 – 11
Climate– It is possible to grow it in almost every climate, either as a short-lived perennial or an annual.
Growing scabiosa in containers is not difficult. Providing it the full sun is a good idea. However, if you live in a warm climate, it is better to keep this plant in the partial sun. They are low maintenance and have a very long flowering season.
USDA Zones– 9 – 11
Climate– Most of the salvias prefer warm subtropical and tropical climate to grow as a perennial, but they are a cinch to grow even in cold areas as an annual.
Choose a medium-sized container that is wide as well, and place it in a spot that receives full sun (shade in the afternoon in tropics). Keep the soil moist but see if it remains well-drained. See this article to learn about the best blue salvia varieties.
USDA Zones– 4 – 9
Climate– Hardy geraniums are cold tolerant and thrive best in moderately cool climate
Hardy geranium (cranesbill) has really long growing season in the garden. They are low maintenance and suitable for container planting. There are varieties like Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and Geranium Johnson’s Blue that provide alluring blue color. You can even grow them in hanging baskets and window boxes. To learn about growing geranium in containers, click here!
13. Grape Hyacinth
USDA Zones– 4 – 8
Climate– Suitable for most climates except tropical and semi-arid regions
This spring flowering bulb provides beautiful blue color and looks like a miniature hyacinth. Easy to grow in containers, it doesn’t grow above 8 inches tall. You can combine several of them with other annuals or grasses. Keep it in full sun or partial shade and water moderately. Avoid waterlogging of soil by checking if it’s well-drained and avoid overwatering.
USDA Zones– 8 – 11
Climate– It is perennial in a tropical and subtropical climate, but you can try to grow it in temperates (down to Zone 5) by keeping it indoors in winter.
Growing plumbago in containers is not at all difficult if you take care of its basic needs, provide full sun and water moderately when required. It can be trained as a shrub using a stake and looks so fascinating when in bloom, the sky blue colored flowers make this plant worth trying.
15. Evolvulus (Dwarf Morning Glory)
Image Credit: Proven Winners
USDA Zones– USDA Zones 9 – 11, grown as an annual in lower zones
Climate– It loves warm weather, heat, and full day exposure to the sun
This morning glory cousin is also called known as dwarf morning glory. It can be grown in containers, hanging baskets and designer planters. Its sky blue flowers are true blue, a hybrid called ‘Blue My Mind’ has more intense flowers, which is available at Proven Winners!
16. Bellflower (Campanula)
USDA Zones– 3 – 9, some of the varieties are also available for zones 10 and 11
Climate– The flowers of this genus can be grown in any climate (depending on the type), either as a perennial, biennial or an annual.
Bellflowers are available in pink, violet, white, and blue colors. You can grow them in small to medium-sized containers and hanging baskets.
USDA Zones– 3 – 9
Climate– Aster prefers the climate with cool summers. In hot climates, it can be grown as an annual.
This prolific flower blooms in summer and fall and is available in so many colors, including the blue. While some of its varieties can grow up to 6-8 tall, it is usually a low growing flowering plant.
18. Balloon Flower
USDA Zones– 3 – 9
Climate– Suitable for cold climates
Balloon flower is known for its balloon shaped unopened flower buds. However, the open flower is more of a star-shaped and available in the shades of pink, white, and blue. Growing it is easy in pots. Keep the plant in a spot that receives full sun, but shade in the afternoon in warmer regions.
USDA Zones– 3 – 10
Climate– Irises prefer cool and moderate climate, but the varieties are also available for hot regions. Visit Florida Gardener to learn more
While blue and purple are the most common colors in bearded varieties, you can look for other colors when growing iris in containers. A 12 inches pot is sufficient for bearded iris. Choose a spot that is sunny and water frequently but only when the soil dries out.
20. Angelonia (Summer Snapdragon)
USDA Zones– 9 – 11
Climate– Perennial in warm climates, grown as an annual in colder regions
Angelonia is one of the best performers in the harsh summer heat, available in colors like pink, white, red, purple, and especially the blue. It is easy to grow in a pot and has a long blooming period.
Plants and flowers classified as annuals are those which complete their life cycle within one year. Most are native to warmer, tropical regions and do not tolerate Ontario’s cold fall and winter temperatures. A few hardy annuals (like Pansies) can tolerate light frost.
Annual flowers are appreciated for their variety, colours and growing habits – many blooming continuously from the moment they’re planted until first frost.
Annuals are ideally suited for the garden border – coming into bloom after the spring perennials complete their explosion of colour, filling bare areas of the garden where colour and interest is desired and for all types of container gardening, including pots, planters and window boxes.
Cozyn’s Garden Gallery partners with Ontario’s best growers to ensure you have the best quality and best selection of annuals available. If you’re looking for what’s hot, what’s new and plants for every type of of soil, light and growing conditions, visit Cozyn’s Garden Gallery
|Ageratum Hawaii Blue (Ageratum ‘Hawaii Blue’)
Compact, heat tolerant plants covered with fuzzy flowers from late spring through summer.
Height & Width: 15 cm T x 25 cm W
Light Requirements: Full Sun
|Alligator Weed Créme de Menthe (Alternanthera ‘Creme de Menthe’)
Rich green foliage with irregular, creamy white variegation brightens any garden. Heat tolerant.
Height & Width: 46 cm T x 30 cm W
Light Requirements: Full Sun
|Alligator Weed Red Threads (Alternanthera ficoidea ‘Red Threads’)
Bright red, threadlike leaves contrast well with silver- or green-leaved plants. Use as a border.
Height & Width: 15 cm T x 25 cm W
Light Requirements: Full Sun
|Alyssum Wonderland Blue (Lobularia maritima ‘Wonderland Blue’)
Dwarf, ground cover plant. Fragrant blue flowers. Great for edging.
Height & Width: 8cm T x 25cm W
Light Requirements: Part Shade
|Alyssum Wonderland White (Lobularia maritima ‘Wonderland White’)
Dwarf, ground cover plant. Fragrant white flowers. Great for edging.
Height & Width: 8cm T x 25cm W
Light Requirements: Part Shade
|Angelonia Alonia Blue Dark (Angelonia ‘Alonia Dark Blue’)
Spikes of orchid like flowers, flowering all summer. Heat and humidity tolerant. Great for garden and planters.
Height & Width: 30cm T x 76cm W
Light Requirements: Full Sun
|Argyranthemum Reflection Yellow Cream (Argyranthemum frutescens)
Abundant summer colour from pale yellow flowers with a dark center. Durable and heat tolerant.
Height & Width: 46cm T x 60cm W
Light Requirements: Full Sun
|Aster Dwarf Queen Mix (Callistephus chinensis ‘Dwarf Queen Mix’)
Bushy, compact selection with large double flowers in a wide range of colours.
Height & Width: 25cm T x 20cm W
Light Requirements: Full Sun
|Bacopa Great Blue Lake (Sutera cordata ‘Scopia Great Blue Lake’)
Trailing selection with large flowers, deep blue or pink from summer to fall. Good in hanging baskets.
Height & Width: 25cm T x 20cm W
Light Requirements: Full Sun
|Begonia Cocktail Mix (Begonia ‘Cocktail Mix’)
Waxy, leaves topped by colourful flowers from spring through fall. Available dark leaves or green.
Height & Width: 30cm T x 46cm W
Light Requirements: Sun to Shade
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