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perennial plants for pots

Perennial plants for pots

Container gardening offers a world of opportunity in tiny town gardens, concreted areas, and even on balconies. Coming back year after year, perennial plants in pots are an easy solution to brightening up your patio or balcony areas! With a huge range of colours, heights, flower shapes and foliage available, perennial plants can really add something different to your container displays, and are often highly attractive to bees and butterflies too. We’ve put together some simple patio container ideas, including suitable perennial plants for pots to help you - read on to find out more.

For more information about caring for container plants and suggested perennials for pots take a look at our Plants for Containers guide.


Foliage container

Perennial foliage plants bring a cool, classic look to patios or balconies, or use them to bring texture and colour into a mixed container scheme. The large, lush leaves of Hostas, ferns and Fatsia make good solo specimens, along with the palm-shaped form of Cordyline. For a more tropical feel, try growing bamboo in large containers. If you’re looking for evergreen plants for pots, try grasses such as Carex and Ophiopogon planiscapus, evergreen ferns, compact shrubs such as Euonymus, and trailing ivy. Heucheras come in a wide range of colours and make good fillers for perennial containers. Most foliage plants are great for partial or full shade positions, such as the north side of a house or beneath large trees.

spring container

Winter and springtime containers

Winter and early spring can be a desolate time in the garden but there are a number of bright and cheerful spring flowering plants for pots which can light up your patio area. Try planting a mixture of evergreen perennials such as Carex, Ophiopogon planiscapus, Festuca or ivy along with winter-flowering pansies, polyanthus, Bellis and wallflowers for early spring colour. To add some sparkle, try planting a layer of bulbs beneath your perennial plants, such as snowdrops, crocus, iris, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips.


Hot and sunny container

Lots of perennial plants originate from hot, dry climates, which make them particularly suitable for a sunny corner of the patio. They are very forgiving plants and will survive a few missed watering sessions, although they won’t tolerate completely drying out for long. Try grasses such as Stipa tenuissima and Festuca glauca, along with short varieties of Anthemis tinctoria, Eryngium, Lavender, Sedum and Salvia nemorosa . Hardy Osteospermum and Gaillardia also grow well in containers, producing an abundance of daisy flowers all summer long.

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Dianthus in pot

Coming back year after year, perennial plants in pots, such as these Dianthus, are an easy solution to brightening up your patio or balcony areas.

Sue Sanderson

Written by: Sue Sanderson

Plants and gardens have always been a big part of my life. I can remember helping my Dad to prick out seedlings, even before I could see over the top of the potting bench. As an adult, I trained at Writtle College where I received my degree, BSc. (Hons) Horticulture. After working in a specialist plantsman's nursery, and later, as a consulting arboriculturalist, I joined Thompson & Morgan in 2008. Initially looking after the grounds and coordinating the plant trials, I now support the web team offering horticultural advice online.