What Outdoor Plants

For All Gardening Levels, the 21 Best Patio Plants

  • Croton. jaboticaba / Getty Images, image 1 of 21.
  • Pentas, number 2 of 21 Getty Images and LagunaticPhoto .
  • Lantana, image three of twenty-one.
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  • 04 of 21. sakhorn38 coleus / Getty Images .
  • 21th from top: Bromeliad
  • Caladium, number 6 of 21
  • New Guinea impatiens, position 7 of 21
  • Heliotrope, position 8 of 21

Ponytail Palms (Beaucarnea recurvata)

Ponytail palms can be cultivated outdoors in either oblique or direct sunlight, and they prefer for their soil to become completely dry in between waterings. This plant should be moved outside gradually because being exposed to direct heat from indoors will shock it. This plant will adore soaking up the summer sun once it is outside. Purchase a Ponytail Palm HERE.

Which plants can be left outside all year long?

Gardeners frequently toss, multiply, or locate a home in the ground for their outdoor potted plants as the weather turns chilly in the fall. It’s unfortunate since a lot of this is a waste of time and resources. Many shrubs and perennials can survive for a number of years in containers. Utilizing this quality will allow you to spend less time and money maintaining your pots. Depending on the plants you select, your containers might give you interest throughout the entire year, and you could give your designs coherence.

Life in a container vs one in the ground is very different for plants. Although containers might offer good drainage, you are the only source of water and nutrients for the plants. Although this varies depending on the plant, temperature, and container, shrubs and larger perennials frequently stay smaller in a pot. Additionally, containers don’t protect a plant’s roots from the cold.

The plant should be hardy to two zones colder than your USDA Hardiness Zone in order for it to survive the winter in a container. However, I have successfully overwintered plants that shouldn’t have survived and I have failed with ones that should have in my Maryland garden, which barely meets the requirements for Zone 7. I’ve discovered a wide variety of plants that can survive year after year in a container through trial and error. I’ve chosen the top 10 because they are not only resilient enough to live, but also stylish while doing so.

‘Golden Sword’ yucca combines with almost anything

Seasons in one pot. The main plants in this container are bergenia and yucca, which shine in the summer and fall. Stems from yellow and redtwig dogwoods add to the yucca’s brilliant display in winter after the bergenia has died back. Pansies and lamium take center stage in the spring, before the yucca and bergenia have recovered their former forms.

‘Golden Sword’ yucca (Yucca filamentosa ‘Golden Sword’, Zones 411) is a fantastic plant since it pairs well with so many others. Its 2-inch-wide, sword-like leaves feature curling fibers along the edges, thin, dark green margins, and golden yellow centers. It spreads equally and develops 2 to 3 feet high with a spiky, architectural shape.

Although it may tolerate little shade, this yucca prefers dry, sunny environments. On 3- to 6-foot-tall stems, creamy white, fragrant flowers appear in the summertime in the heart of the shrub. The leaves may appear a little flat in the late winter, but it will reappear in the spring. To keep the area looking neat, remove the outdated foliage.

‘Green Mountain’ boxwood keeps its color all year

Even though it’s challenging, living in a container will keep it smaller than its typical dimensions of 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Place “Green Mountain” in a partially shaded area, away from strong winds. If at all feasible, rotate the pot from time to time to balance the plant’s exposure to light and prevent the growth of bare sides. Boxwood known as “Green Mountain” (Buxus “Green Mountain,” Zones 49) is a slow-growing shrub that, in contrast to many other boxwoods, keeps its dark green color all winter long. This variety in particular is one of my favorites since it develops into a lovely pyramid as opposed to a meatball-shaped shrub.

Golden creeping Jenny is perfect for the edge of the pot

In a container, the golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 48) consistently delivers. This plant, which stands 4 inches tall, gracefully hangs over a pot’s rim. The golden, coin-shaped leaves of this plant complement anything. It prefers some shade but adores water, and will even flourish in a water garden. It can also tolerate direct sunlight, but you must maintain wet soil.

Japanese pieris has colorful new growth

This shrub (Pieris japonica and cvs., Zones 68) is deer-resistant and a great choice for pots. Although Japanese pieris’ evergreen foliage is interesting year-round, the spring growth is particularly beautiful, with hues ranging from rich crimson to creamy white, depending on the cultivar.

The flower buds are often dark red in winter, with some opening to pink hues. Early in the spring, delicate racemes of white, urn-shaped blooms, measuring 3 to 6 inches long, begin to develop. This shrub’s beautiful branches fall gracefully over the sides of containers.

Because compact varieties like “Dorothy Wyckoff” grow compactly, smaller plants are not usually required for a visually appealing container display. Japanese pieris may grow in either full sun or whole shade. Keep it out of the harsh winds and sun of winter.

‘Emerald’ arborvitae works where you need some height

It is simple to blend with other plants due to the form and texture of its foliage. It will be kept significantly below its native size, which is 15 feet high and 4 feet broad, by a container. Put it in either full sun or moderate shade. Because it keeps its vibrant green color throughout the winter, emerald arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’, syn. ‘Smaragd’, Zones 27) offers outstanding year-round interest. This cultivar of our native arborvitae has an upright, slender habit that works well as the vertical accent that many pots require.

Bergenia has bold leaves that shine in containers

Bergenia (Bergenia cordifolia and cvs., Zones 38) is one of my favorite plants since it is a vigorous grower and adds a striking element to a container design with its green, glossy, oval leaves. The leaves are between 10 and 20 inches long and 6 to 8 inches wide. In the fall, they turn a stunning shade of crimson. On 12- to 15-inch-long stalks, bergenia blooms in the early spring; the pink blossoms resemble hyacinths.

Because of the great drainage, the plant actually grows better in my containers than in my beds. Grow it either in full sun or very light shade.

Tips for overwintering plants in containers

Pick a container that won’t freeze. Pick a pot made of stone, heavy plastic, fiberglass, lead, or iron that has a drainage hole in the bottom. In cold weather, most terra-cotta would shatter, but I’ve had success with glazed pottery.

Utilize quality potting soil. There are mixtures available that are developed expressly for use in containers and offer the vital drainage that potted plants require.

In the fall, stop feeding. If you fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer, you should stop feeding your plants six to eight weeks before the first date of your first frost. This will stop any delicate new growth that wouldn’t make it through the winter. When the plants start growing again in the spring, start fertilizing once more.

Winter with water. Until the soil in the container is frozen, add water as needed. Because the plants in frozen pots are unable to absorb the water, avoid watering them.

Put some antidesiccant on. Use Wilt-Pruf on broadleaf evergreens and conifers to shield them from winter wind damage.

Every few years, repotte. Repot your plants every three years to be safe, even though some plants will live longer in a container.

Variegated redtwig dogwood is big and beautiful

A mass of variegated Solomon’s seal around the base of the container hides it for the most of the year. The shrub’s variegated leaves make a lovely contrast to the hydrangeas planted in the ground on each side of it. Old branches should be cut off in the early spring as the dogwood’s brightest color shows on young stems. Place this shrub in full sun to partial shade, and keep an eye out for Japanese beetle attacks in the summer. Variegated redtwig dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’, Zones 28) is another plant that thrives in containers. Its vivid red stems show in winter, especially if there is an evergreen background, and its leaves have white borders and grayish green cores. For three years, a single “Elegantissima” plant in a blue porcelain container 24 inches wide has served as the main point of one of our borders.

Heucheras provide small spots of interest

Heucheras are appealing, low-growing perennials that excel at adding interest below the taller plants in a container (Heuchera spp. and cvs., Zones 38). Their magnificent lobed foliage, which frequently has silver veins running through its green or purple leaves. Due to its preference for well-drained soil and ease of winter recovery, heucheras are particularly well-suited for containers. Most heucheras produce flower panicles with white, pink, or crimson blooms and grow into a 12- to 18-inch-diameter mounds. Depending on the cultivar, they will grow in either full sun or full shade.

‘Blue Star’ juniper has a useful color

The juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’, which grows slowly and is hardy to Zone 49, has closely organized, 1/4-inch-long steel blue needles. The plant stands out in the winter because of this color. It is slow to grow and only grows to a height of 3 feet with a spread of 3 to 4 feet. Because it goes well with most colors and the branches gracefully arch over a pot’s lip, it performs well in containers. Although it will tolerate little shade, it likes full sun. It dislikes humid environments.

‘Fuldaglut’ sedum is a small plant that makes a big splash

Sedum spurium ‘Fuldaglut,’ found in Zones 49, is distinguished by its bronze-red leaves that turn scarlet in the winter. Larger leaves than those of other species make up the finely scalloped foliage, which in the late summer is covered in cerise blossoms that can last up to three weeks. This sedum, which is only 6 inches tall and 12 inches broad, can be used to adorn the edge of a pot and even makes decent cut flowers for little bouquets. Though it will still thrive in some shade, it prefers full light.

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What outdoor plants require little maintenance?

Each and every Slideshow

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What plants are regarded as being outside?

Popular plants for outdoor gardens include decorative trees and shrubs, vines, vegetables, and herbs, as well as annual and perennial flowers, which only last for one growing season.


The Pansy flower dates all the way back to Greece in the fourth century B.C. These were identified as Violas plants, a flower from which Wild Pansies descended. It’s interesting to note that all Violas are Pansies, but not all Pansies are Violas.

Pansies should be planted in full sunlight in a site in the late spring. Depending on how hot it is, water the flowers once or twice a week. In order to give the roots room to spread out, pansies should be planted 15 cm apart in wet, well-drained soil.


Sunflowers are a popular addition to gardens because they bring color and are recognized for generating oil and seeds. They are endemic to the Americas, and Kansas has them as its official state flower. The record-breaking sunflower measured 30 feet tall, or nearly twice the height of a giraffe.

Sun-facing planting dates for sunflowers are from mid-April through May. Your flowers will grow taller if you water them many times every week. Add some supports to the stalk once they are one meter tall. Once the blossom has withered in the fall, you can dry the seeds in a conservatory and store them for the next spring.


Mexicans gave rise to the marigold, which is the official flower of The Day of the Dead. It is thought that its vivid hues and fragrant scents aid in directing the spirits to their alters. They serve as a symbol of fresh starts during Diwali, the festival of lights.

For a summer garden that is vibrant and colorful, plant the marigolds in the spring. A dappled shadow or direct sunlight is ideal. The flowers prefer a drier soil, thus the soil must be well-drained. Once the dirt has dried, water them only then.


Peonies, which are native to Western North America, Asia, and Europe, are the flower chosen to commemorate weddings that have been together for 12 years. They appear in every color but blue and are frequently used as a lucky charm.

Anytime between October and March is a good time to plant peonies. They require well-drained soil and full sun to thrive. Since peonies are perennials, they grow back every year, making them ideal for novices.


The Latin word “lavare,” which meaning “to wash,” is where the word “lavender” comes from. Due to its antibacterial qualities, lavender played a significant role in ancient Roman bathing routines. It is thought that lavender was utilized as perfume by the ancient Egyptians.

Lavender should be planted in well-drained soil in April or May. Lavender grows best in direct sunshine, and your garden will get honey bee visitors thanks to the colorful flowers. A shrub with an evergreen canopy, it blooms from July to September. It will endure for many years if given the right care.


The Snapdragon is so named because when it is pressed, it resembles the mouth and eyes of a dragon. They have a wide range of varieties and colors and are indigenous to North Africa, Europe, and the United States.

Your Snapdragon should be planted in April for a summer bloom. They enjoy soil with good drainage and direct sunlight. If given proper care, snapdragons are fairly hardy and can bloom in low spring weather.


The Fuchsia was given that name in honor of renowned German botanist Leonhart Fuchs and is native to Chile, Argentina, and Mexico. Because of their vivid color, they are hummingbirds’ preferred flower. The berries from fuchsia plants can be added to salads or used to make jam.

In the spring, plant your fuchsias in a location with dappled shade. Hanging planters are ideal as the soil can drain easily. Make sure the soil is wet and well-drained. Fuchsias are perennials that grow back each year in warmer regions. They are most typically grown annually for the spring and summer in milder climates like the UK.


The Greek term for “a balanced world” inspired the name of these Mexican-born blooms. The Chocolate Cosmos species smells like chocolate and vanilla and is related to the Daisy.

Plant cosmos in direct sunlight in June or July. Try to position them against a wall or a fence for wind protection. Regular watering is important, but be careful not to overwater as this can result in fewer blossoms. Once they have been cultivated, the plants are fairly tolerant, and some species are perennials, which means they come back every year.

Eschscholzia (Californian Poppy)

The Eschscholzia, often known as the Californian poppy, is a product of Mexico and the United States. These flowers are not only colorful and lovely, but they are also used in many contemporary medications.

The Californian poppy should be planted for the first time in the early spring; however, because they are self-propagating, they will come back year after year. In full sunlight and well-drained soil, poppies thrive. Because they blow easily in the wind, be mindful that they could spread over your flower bed.


The Pelargonium genus, which has about 200 kinds of flowers and shrubs, contains the geranium flower. Because of their lengthy, extended seed pods, they are sometimes called “Crane’s Bill flowers.

As they need to be protected from cold and frost, geraniums should be planted as soon as spring arrives. They thrive in moist, well-drained soil and need 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Regularly deadhead your flowers to promote new growth.

All of these plants can be grown in raised planters, which not only look nice but can also help the soil drain better.