Outdoor Flower Pot Ideas – A Formula for Containers

Home > Outdoor Living > Outdoor Flower Pot Ideas – A Formula for Containers
I’ve included affiliate links in this post for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate and an affiliate for other companies, I earn from qualifying purchases and there is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.
Purple Daisy in Container
Daisies

Containers made easy! Today I want to give you guys some simple outdoor flower pot ideas. This year, I definitely got smarter with what I plant, and I’ll tell you why below. If you want some of the best container gardening tips and tricks, read on!

Green Spire Euonymus
green spire euonymus

I could spend all dang day at our local plant nursery.

It’s such a beautiful place and I get so much inspiration. I tend to spend too much money. Do plant nurseries get you like that, too?

Outdoor Landscaping - Blue House - Red Brick Pavers

So let’s get started right from the beginning.

What kind of Outdoor Flower Pot should I use?

Starting with the basics! What kind of planter should you choose? Yes, it’s aesthetics. But there are also better containers for certain environments.

My favorite types of Outside Flower Pots

Geranium in White Flower Pot
geranium

Terra Cotta Planters

If you’ve been a reader of mine, you know I am very partial to terra cotta planters. They are pretty cheap, look beautiful, and come in a variety of sizes. The downside? Terra cotta can dry out quickly in really hot environments. So it’s best to plant very heat tolerant plants in them if you live in a very hot and humid location. Or, you can put them in a shadier location. Or choose a large one where there is more room to hold soil and water. You can also cover the topsoil with a layer of mulch, which helps to hold in moisture.

I just think they are so pretty and terra cotta is easy to keep clean. Besides a few other containers on my outdoor patio, terra cotta is all I use!

Outdoor Flower Pot Ideas

Wood Planters

I really love the look of wood planters, too. These planters won’t heat up as much so the soil stays moist for you a bit longer. The downside with these planters is that after a while, they can rot and splinter if not well cared for.

Resin Planters

Resin planters come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. They are more lightweight so they are easier to move around. The black resin containers I have also come with a built-in water reservoir in the bottom, so my plants stay happy! These planters never really break down or rot. So they are a great choice wherever you live. Just keep in mind that lightweight planters can tip over if not weighted down.

Oh yes, and one more point. If you live in a really cold area, some planters (like Terra cotta) can freeze and break in the winter. It doesn’t happen to me here in the PNW – but it could happen in much colder environments. So a resin or wooden planter may be a better choice here.

Holly Bush in Terra Cotta Planter
japanese holly ‘convexa’

Galvanized Planters

What about galvanized planters? I have this large (really large) steel tub I got from Amazon.  I filled it with rosemary in the middle and red and purple verbena on the sides.  I also added some fillers in the bottom so it’s not too heavy to move.  This is a great combination – both flowers are drought resistant and like sun.

Keep in mind with galvanized planters that unless you add a liner, they can become really really hot in the sun. This heat can permeate the soil and scorch your plants roots.

Red and purple verbena with rosemary in a galvanized pot
Red and Purple Verbena with Rosemary

How heavy is your planter?

As someone who has a serious moving-things-around-constantly disease, I need my planters to be mobile. Most of them stay put. But I do have a tendency to move my hydrangea around a little bit. (I’m still working on my patio design!)

This planter is HEAVY. So, there is always some muscle involved when I have to move it. Keep this in mind. The larger planters make a statement, which I love, but can be a beast to move. And depending on the size, it might be totally unmoveable without help. Unless you are The Hulk.

Here’s a tip: They sell planter stands with wheels and it makes moving things around a lot easier! I linked a few below but a quick google search should bring up a bunch.

Potting Mix and Fertilizer Recommendations

Keep your plants happy!

Potting Mix

My first question would be : What are you planting? Most plants will do fine with just plain old potting mix. However, some plants and flowers do best with specialty potting mixes. Like Succulents and Cactus. Make sure to buy potting mix specially designed to help these types of plants thrive.

Generally, you want a light mix of potting soil. A soil that feels heavier, like when you squeeze it, will be harder on plant roots.

Soil Additions

Herb Garden in planters attached to fence

I love these water storing crystals made by Miracle-Gro. They help with under and over watering and can be mixed in with the soil as you are planting. My herbs are thriving and I’m pretty sure it’s because of these little miracle crystals.

I also love a few fertilizers. This fertilizer is really popular and I love it. I actually first learned about it on QVC. I’m so happy that Amazon has it now.

This is a great fertilizer for roses, which helps with diseases, pests, and nutrients.

As I mentioned before, a layer of mulch on top of your soil in your container can go a long way in holding in moisture. And it just looks pretty.

The Best Outdoor Flower Pot Ideas

Ok, let’s get the fun stuff!

Obviously, flower ideas are going to depend a lot on where you live, but I’m giving you some easy ideas that work in most areas and that you can research. Hopefully, this will get the wheels turning for you a bit.

I’m sure we have all heard of the popular planter mantra – filler, spiller, thriller? But really, you can do whatever you want with planting. I mean – do flowers ever look ugly on their own? Nope!

The secret here is to work with flowers that are easy to care for. And to choose the right combination of flowers (for sun or shade). The other key? Choose evergreen plants to fill some of your planters, that way you have something to look at all year long. Provide a little space around the base of your evergreens to plant seasonal flowers. It’s a win-win!

Single Flower Planters

Geranium with American Flag

I’m a big fan of planting only Super Wave Petunias in planters. They are pretty inexpensive, they completely spread out and multiply and they are fairly easy to care for. You don’t even need to deadhead them! (Deadhead means pull the spent blooms from the flower, which encourages the plant to produce more flowers).

The other advantage to planting a single flower in a container is that you don’t have to worry about finding a plant with similar light and water needs.

Tip: If you have two containers the same size with the same flowers planted in them, lift one onto a stand, or some pavers or an upside saucer. Planters bunch together but varied in height always look more interesting.

Purple Petunia in Terra Cotta Planter
super wave petunia

Easy Care Options for Single Flower Planters

Evergreen and Shrub Ideas for your Flower Pots

  • Green Spire Euonymus
  • Boxwood
  • Dogwood varities
  • Arbovitae
  • Lemon Cypress
  • Sky Pencil
  • Japanese Holly ‘Convexa’

Filler, Spiller and Thriller Combinations – Simple Formula

So if you want to put together a stunning planter, pick one of these from each category. Make sure to choose SUN or SHADE. The Fillers and Thrillers can kind of overlap depending on the flower. Easy as pie!

For Sun

This typically means 6 or more full hours of sun.

  • Thriller: Tulips, Lily, Cypress, Geranium, Daisy, Coneflower, Hibiscus, Salvia, Evergreens (see above for ideas), Palm Trees (look for varieties that like full sun)
  • Spiller: Bacopa, Creeping Jenny, Ivy, Vinca (sun or shade), Sweet Potato Vine
  • Filler: Petunia, Daisy, SuperBells, Lantana, Wax Begonia, Verbena, Grace Ward

For Shade

This typically means less than 3 hours of full sun. It does not mean no sun – there are very few flowers that can survive without a little sun.

  • Thriller: Some Evergreens (like Boxwood), Fern, Hosta, Snake Plant, Astilbe, Ornamental grasses (like Napier Grass or Fountain Grass), Palm Trees (shade varieties)
  • Spiller: Ivy, Ornamental grasses (like Japanese Forest Grass), Lobelia, Vinca
  • Filler: Impatiens, Tuberous Begonia, Coral Bells Heuchera, Caladium, Coleus (Watermelon coleus is gorgeous!)

How to Decorate with Outdoor Flower Pots

Here’s a few ideas to help you layout your flower pots.

By Your Front Door…

Flank matching outdoor planters on either side of your front door. Or, set out a trio of planters in various heights in a corner on your porch. A single pot can make a statement, too. Choose one planter to sit by your front entrance. Keep scale in mind. An itty bitty planter won’t have the same effect as a larger planter with a big showy plant.

We have a set of steps right next to our front door, so a single planter on one side just made more sense. I used to have more out here, but frankly it was just too much.

On Your Outdoor Patio (obvi)…

A couple of planters on an outdoor patio
Dog photobomb – do you see it? 🙂

I love to create zones on the patio and planters help you do this by further defining the areas. I have a dining zone and a lounging zone. A few planters sprinkled throughout the bare spots and flanking the sides of your main seating area are a good way to start. I also love a trio of planters to brighten up a sad corner.

On your Deck railings…

I love a good planter on a deck railing. Invest in a rail planter made for hanging on decks or an iron trough planter. I love the look of these with spiller plants!

Under your Trees…

Do you have a shade tree that just looks blah underneath? Throw a couple of planters under there with a mix of shade-loving flowers in them.

In a Flower Bed…

I don’t know why I don’t think to put more “planters” in my flower beds. But these can actually look really pretty and help fill in the sparse spots. I tend to think two or three in these spaces (varied in height, of course) look best here.

To Hide Ugly Stuff…

photo of lady banks rose (2)
Lady Banks Rose on Trellis

Have an ugly utility in plain sight? Or an outlet that sticks out like a sore thumb? Or pool equipment you want to hide? Throw a planter in front of it! If you can. If what you are trying to hide is tall, a planter with a trellis in it and something evergreen climbing plants (like Star Jasmine and Lady banks rose) can help cover it year round.)

By your Garage…

A few planter pots flanking either side of your garage is a great way to be welcomed home. It helps soften the garage area too, which can be kind of meh, to begin with.

On your Windows…

Window Boxes. Need I say more? Post coming soon on DIY window boxes and flower ideas! Woot!

Just hanging…

If you have a pergola or a covered porch area (lucky you), try hanging some outdoor planters and space them out evenly for symmetry.

On your Fences…

I’m team “Cover up that Fence”. In fact, I’m trying to get ivy to grow up our fence right now. I don’t like looking at a blank fence. We hung a pair of galvanized planters and planted herbs in them. They give the perfect touch to an otherwise boring fence.

Well, that about wraps it up. I hope this gave you guys some good ideas for your outdoor flower pots this summer!

One last quick tip: Buy a few packs of these mini American Flags. They are so easy to stick in your planters as extra decor. I also stick a few in decorative jars and bottles. I think you can keep them out all summer. You’ll be all set for the 4th!

Thanks so much for visiting my blog and reading this post.

Outdoor Flower Pot Ideas - Simple Formula for Arranging Gorgeous Containers

xo Karen

Check out my favorite products for your home!