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Just like your indoor living space, your patio can be transformed with the addition of just a few choice accessories. And there are few better than the humble potted plant. They’re mobile enough to be transported inside when the weather gets cold, and they can be re-used year after year when you decide you’d like to change the plants you’re using. Flowering plants don’t just look and smell great – they also attract the predators that will keep your garden’s ecosystem stable, and stop your plants being attacked by swarms of tiny herbivorous insects.

The Best Plants for Pots

potted plants for patio

Looking for inspiration? Let’s run through a few of the potted plants that will suit different sorts of patio.

Best Plants for Pots in the Shade

Certain parts of your patio may be in the shade for large portions of the day. It’s important to select plants that don’t need much sunlight for these areas.

Busy Lizzies will get by without much sunlight, and if you’re willing to put in the work with deadheading, you’ll find that they last into October. Coleuses are incredibly easy to cultivate – you can get them going using a cutting in a glass of water and put them outside later on. The same goes for Impatiens, whose cheerful little flowers are just the thing to perk up a shadowy part of your patio.

Best Plants for Pots in the Sun

For sunnier spots, you’ll want to go for an entirely different sort of plant: the sort that will happily soak up the sunlight and thrive.

Angelonias are a little on the fussy side, but they’ll soak up sunlight nicely, and bloom with a combination of attractive pinks and purples. Then, of course, there are roses, which work just as well in pots as they do in verges, and which are spectacular and distinctive in midsummer.

What Plants are Good for All Seasons?

hydrangeas in pot

While it would be nice if summer lasted for the entire year, it’s not a disaster that it doesn’t. There exist certain plants which thrive even during cold snaps – and they can be essentially put outside and forgotten about. 

Hydrangeas arguably fall into this category. They won’t cope with frost, but other than that they’re happy. Just be sure that they’re well-watered and you’ll be able to enjoy great flowers even if your soil composition isn’t quite spot-on.

Best Flowers for Large Pots

To give your patio a little bit of visual variety, combine large pots with smaller ones. Larger pots, of course, can accommodate larger plants, as well as groups of smaller ones. 

If your pot is really big, you’ll be able to grow ‘dwarf’ versions of small trees like spruce, which can then be brought into your living room for Christmas. Other great options include the aforementioned Yucca, and boxwood varieties that hold their shape during winter.

Best Flowers for Small Pots

Small pots can be stowed in tiny nooks where larger ones would be unsuitable. And they’re more easily rearranged as the seasons change (or when you’d simply like to mix things up). Marigolds, petunias and impatiens tend to blossom and cover the entire top of a small plant pot. Put a few different pots together, and you’ll fill the gaps between them and create a single cohesive visual effect. You’ll need to select the varieties appropriate to the amount of sunlight you’ll be getting, so choose carefully.

Patio Planter Tips & Tricks

When it comes to plant-potting, there’s no substitute for experience. With that said, we can avoid basic mistakes with the help of a few easy pot-planting tips. Let’s run through them! 

A lack of moisture can spell the death of your potted plants. But how do you keep potted plants moist? The answer is pretty simple: plant them in appropriate soil. If you dig some stuff up from your garden, then it’ll dry out in days and your plant will die. The same applies to certain budget-priced packet soils. Ideally, your potting soil should be packed with nutrients, which is where a well-cultivated compost heap can help you out.

On the other hand, too much moisture can kill your plants just as easily, so be sure that there’s space for the water to drain to. A few shards of broken pottery at the bottom of your pot will do the job, as will coarse sand or gravel.

You can go a step further by sprinkling a few moisture-wicking capsules in your soil. These will absorb excess water and release it when things start to dry out, which will make growing a potted plant that little bit more forgiving.

If you’re going to be using hanging baskets or putting small pots on an upstairs balcony, then think about flowers that cascade downwards as they grow. Get enough of these and you’ll add the impression of height to your patio. So, rather than having everything on the same level, you’ll get an extra dimension to your floral arrangements.

You’ll need a little bit of verticality at ground level, too. If you have a cluster of pots at the same height, then the ones in the middle aren’t going to receive enough sunlight. As such, it’s better to centralise the larger plants or to come up with a ‘staircased’ pattern.

When winter rolls around, many of your plants will die. But so too will your pots, thanks to repeated freeze-thaw cycles. Take the time to empty your pots, dump the dead plants onto your compost, and stack them somewhere dry until spring rolls around.

In Conclusion

There have been entire books written on growing potted plants effectively, and even veteran gardeners can’t agree on the best methods. But hopefully, we’ve given you enough to get started. With just a few choice additions, your patio can be taken to the next level – so why not give potted plants a go?

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