Flowers naturally beautify any space, but the right combination of plants in your pots amplifies curb appeal even more. With a handful of simple design tips in mind, you can dress up your front porch, walkway or patio with containers that impress!
Before you get started, take note of these basics:
- Sunlight: Where are your containers situated, and how much sun will they get? Whether sunny or shady, make sure to choose container-friendly blooms suited to the growing environment.
- Container Size: Bigger pots are better because they can hold more soil and retain more moisture, whereas small pots will dry out quickly. For most plants, the container should be at least 8” deep.
- Soil: Always use a light, moisture-retaining potting mix in your containers.
Now it’s time to get creative! Here are six quick flower container tips to inspire your plantings.
1) Go for Contrast
Nothing catches the eye quite like a container of bold, contrasting colors. A mix of vibrant, compact zinnias in bright white, yellow and pink brings summer fun to your front porch. If your outdoor space is shaded, assorted impatiens or begonias are a great way to grow. You also can’t go wrong with a patriotic red, white and blue planter.
2) Group Similar Shades
For a softer statement, pick a palette of one or two harmonious colors. Soft lavender petunias pair nicely with purple-blue calibrachoa or violet verbenas. Shades of pink add romantic tones to your containers. If you prefer warmer hues, try a gradient of yellow and orange flowers, such as marigolds.
3) Play with Layers
Use flowers and foliage of varying heights to add another dimension to your containers. The “Thriller, Filler, Spiller” plant combo is a classic for a reason—it creates a beautiful balance. Here’s what to do:
- Place tall Thriller plants in the middle or back of the container to create a strong focal point. Large flowering plants (think angelonia, dahlias and snapdragons) or lofty ornamental grasses work well.
- Choose mounding Filler plants to surround your Thriller. Popular choices include lantana, coleus, heuchera and pansies. You can also fill in with fresh herbs, such as basil.
- Put trailing Spiller plants at the edge of the container for a pretty cascade effect. A few favorites: trailing vincas, calibrachoa, Creeping Jenny and ipomoea (also called sweet potato vine).
4) Add Foliage for Flair
Flowers tend to be the container stars, but foliage plays an important supporting role. Leafy plants lend intriguing texture and set a solid backdrop against which flower colors can pop. Elephant ear’s massive leaves make for a stunning centerpiece, while velvety Dusty Miller plants add silvery glamour. Multicolored coleus and perilla are so striking that they may just steal the show!
5) Consider the Container
Choose plants that suit the size and type of container you’re using, whether that’s a pot, window box or hanging basket. A tall container looks best with a trailing plant over the side, as do hanging baskets. Smaller pots, on the other hand, can get lost in a cascade and are perfect for displaying mounding flower varieties. Plant so that the container is eye-catching at any angle. While a window box needs to wow from the front, a pot or hanging basket has more vantage points.
6) Keep It Simple
If you don’t feel like designing a combination for your container, you can always plant just one variety that stands out on its own! ‘Peppermint Twist’ geranium has spectacular candy-red petals with stripes. ‘Fragrant Falls Peach’ and ‘Vermillion Red’ begonias both look beautiful solo in shade containers. For a mix of colorful foliage and flowers, try ‘Sol Gekko Green’ or ‘Sol Lizzard Leaf’ celosia.