Plants for Pots Outside: The Best Options for Your Garden

When it comes to gardening, not everyone has the luxury of a spacious backyard. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beauty and benefits of plants. Container gardening is a great solution for those with limited space, and it allows you to bring nature right to your doorstep. In this article, we will explore some of the best plants for pots outside, so you can create a stunning garden on your balcony, patio, or doorstep.

Choosing the right plants for your outdoor pots is essential for their success. You need to consider factors such as the amount of sunlight and shade, the size of the container, and the type of soil. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available that can thrive in pots, from colourful flowers to lush greenery. In this article, we will provide you with a list of the best plants for pots outside, along with tips on how to care for them and keep them looking healthy and beautiful. So, whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, read on to discover the perfect plants for your outdoor pots.

Choosing the Right Pots

Choosing the right pots is crucial to ensure the healthy growth of your plants. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting pots for your outdoor plants:

Size Matters

The size of the pot is an important consideration when selecting a container for your plant. Small pots are suitable for plants that have a shallow root system, while larger containers are ideal for plants that require more space to grow. Make sure to choose a pot that is appropriate for the size of your plant.


The material of the pot is also an important factor to consider. Terracotta pots are a popular choice for outdoor plants as they are durable and provide good insulation for the roots. However, other materials such as plastic, wood, and metal can also be suitable choices depending on your plant’s needs.

Drainage Holes

Drainage holes are crucial for the health of your plant. Without proper drainage, excess water can accumulate in the pot, leading to root rot and other problems. Make sure to choose a pot with drainage holes, or drill holes in the bottom of the container if necessary.

Best Containers

When it comes to selecting the best containers for your outdoor plants, there are several options to choose from. Hanging baskets are perfect for trailing plants, while window boxes are ideal for small spaces. Large containers are great for creating a focal point in your garden, while smaller pots are perfect for grouping together to create a stunning display.

Terracotta Pots

Terracotta pots are a classic choice for outdoor plants, as they are durable and provide good insulation for the roots. They are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, making them a versatile option for any garden.

In summary, selecting the right pots for your outdoor plants is crucial for their healthy growth. Choose a pot that is appropriate for the size of your plant, consider the material of the pot, ensure it has proper drainage, and select the best container for your specific needs. Terracotta pots are a popular choice, but other materials can also be suitable depending on your plant’s requirements.

Understanding Plant Needs

When it comes to choosing plants for pots outside, it’s important to understand their specific needs. Here are some key factors to consider:


All plants need water to survive, but the amount and frequency can vary depending on the species. Some plants prefer moist soil, while others thrive in drier conditions. It’s important to find a balance and not overwater or underwater your plants. A good rule of thumb is to water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.


Plants also have different requirements for sunlight. Some thrive in full sun, while others prefer partial shade or full shade. It’s important to consider the location of your pots and the amount of sunlight they will receive throughout the day. If you’re not sure what level of sunlight a plant needs, do some research or ask a gardening expert.


The type of soil you use in your pots is also important. Most plants prefer well-draining soil that allows excess water to drain away. You can use a potting mix specifically designed for containers, or create your own by mixing compost and potting soil. It’s important to avoid using garden soil, as it can be too heavy and compact in pots.

By understanding these basic needs, you can choose the right plants for your pots and give them the best chance of thriving.

Best Plants for Outdoor Pots

When it comes to choosing the best plants for outdoor pots, there are many options to consider. Whether you’re looking for plants with beautiful flowers, striking foliage, or low-maintenance succulents, there is something to suit every taste and situation.

One of the most popular plants for outdoor pots is the begonia. With their bright, colourful flowers and attractive foliage, begonias are perfect for adding a splash of colour to your patio or balcony. Marigolds, petunias, and impatiens are also great choices for colourful blooms.

For those looking for plants with interesting foliage, coleus is a top pick. With a wide range of colours and patterns, coleus can add a lot of interest to your outdoor space. Dracaena and croton are also great options for foliage plants, with their striking leaves and unique textures.

If you’re looking for low-maintenance plants for your outdoor pots, succulents are a great choice. These hardy plants require very little water and care, making them perfect for busy gardeners. Lavender and hydrangea are also low-maintenance options that can add a lot of beauty to your outdoor space.

For those looking to grow edible plants in their outdoor pots, tomato plants are a great choice. These plants are easy to grow and produce delicious fruit throughout the summer. Violas are also edible, with their delicate flowers adding a sweet flavour to salads and desserts.

Overall, there are many great plants to choose from when it comes to outdoor pots. By considering your personal preferences and the specific needs of your outdoor space, you can find the perfect plants to create a beautiful and thriving outdoor garden.

Creating a Container Garden

Container gardening is a great way to add some greenery to your outdoor space, no matter how small it is. It is easy to get started, and you can grow a variety of plants in containers, from flowering annuals to herbs and vegetables.

To create a container garden, you will need a container, potting soil, and plants. Choose a container that is the right size for the plants you want to grow. Make sure it has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. You can use a variety of containers, including pots, hanging baskets, and window boxes.

When choosing plants for your container garden, consider their growing requirements. Some plants need full sun, while others prefer shade. Make sure the plants you choose are compatible and will not outgrow the container. You can mix and match plants to create a beautiful and interesting display.

Once you have your container and plants, it’s time to plant them. Fill the container with potting soil, leaving enough space for the plants to grow. Arrange the plants in the container, making sure they are at the same depth they were growing in their nursery pots. Water the plants thoroughly, and place the container in a location that gets the right amount of sunlight.

Maintaining a container garden is easy. Water the plants regularly, but be careful not to overwater them. Fertilize the plants every few weeks to keep them healthy and vibrant. Deadhead flowers and prune plants as needed to keep them looking their best.

In conclusion, creating a container garden is a fun and easy way to add some greenery to your outdoor space. With the right container, soil, and plants, you can create a beautiful and thriving container garden that will be the envy of your neighbourhood.

Special Features of Outdoor Plants

When it comes to choosing plants for outdoor pots, there are several special features to keep in mind. Here are some factors to consider:


Adding a pop of colour to your outdoor pots can really brighten up your space. Consider plants with showy blooms, such as fuchsia or million bells, or those with colourful berries, such as ornamental peppers or salsa mix.


If you want your outdoor pots to look great all year round, consider choosing evergreen plants. These plants keep their leaves all year, providing a constant source of greenery. Examples of evergreen plants suitable for outdoor pots include creeping jenny and sweet potato vine.

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses can add texture and movement to your outdoor pots. Fountain grass and angelonia are examples of ornamental grasses that can do well in pots.


If you love watching hummingbirds, consider planting flowers that attract them. Plants with flower spikes, such as nasturtium and ornamental peppers, are known to attract hummingbirds.

White Flowers

White flowers can add a touch of elegance to your outdoor pots. Hydrangeas, magnolias, and some varieties of fuchsia are examples of plants with beautiful white flowers.

Light Shade

Not all plants are suited to full sun. If your outdoor pots are in a spot that gets some shade, consider plants that can tolerate light shade. Buxus Macowanii and some varieties of hydrangeas are examples of plants that can do well in light shade.

Overall, there are many different plants that can thrive in outdoor pots. By keeping these special features in mind, you can create a beautiful and thriving outdoor space.

Maintenance and Care

When it comes to maintaining and caring for outdoor potted plants, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to choose low-maintenance plants that are well-suited to the conditions in which they will be growing. Slow-growing plants are often a good choice, as they require less pruning and upkeep.

It’s also important to be mindful of invasive plant species, which can quickly take over a garden and cause problems for other plants and wildlife in the area. Be sure to research any plants you’re considering before adding them to your garden, and avoid those that are known to be invasive.

When it comes to caring for your plants, proper watering and fertilization are key. Be sure to water your plants regularly, taking care not to overwater or underwater them. Fertilize your plants as needed, following the instructions on the packaging to ensure that you’re providing the right nutrients in the right amounts.

If you’re unsure of how to care for your plants, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a garden centre or other knowledgeable source. With a little bit of care and attention, you can enjoy a beautiful and low-maintenance outdoor potted plant garden that will thrive for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some drought-tolerant plants suitable for outdoor pots in full sun and heat?

Some drought-tolerant plants that can thrive in outdoor pots in full sun and heat include succulents, cacti, and lavender. These plants require minimal watering and can store water in their leaves or stems.

What are some low-maintenance outdoor potted plants that can survive all year?

Low-maintenance outdoor potted plants that can survive all year include ferns, ivy, and snake plants. These plants require minimal watering and can tolerate a range of temperatures.

What are some ideas for container gardens?

Container gardens can include a variety of plants such as herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Some popular container garden ideas include a herb garden, a succulent garden, and a vegetable garden.

What are some hardy plants suitable for outdoor pots in South Africa?

Hardy plants suitable for outdoor pots in South Africa include agapanthus, clivia, and bird of paradise. These plants can tolerate hot and dry conditions and can add colour and texture to outdoor spaces.

What are some perennial plants suitable for outdoor pots in full sun?

Perennial plants suitable for outdoor pots in full sun include salvia, geraniums, and daylilies. These plants can add colour and texture to outdoor spaces and can survive all year.

What are some good filler plants for outdoor containers?

Good filler plants for outdoor containers include petunias, lobelia, and sweet alyssum. These plants can add colour and texture to outdoor spaces and can fill in gaps between larger plants.

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