If you’re in that post-spring, pre-summer funk, where your patio is looking a little deflated and in need of attention, it’s time to put your best foot forward when it comes to containers! However, if you’re all out of ideas following the excitement of spring bulb mania, there’s no harm in fishing for some inspiration.
I’ve put together a list of 7 gorgeous plants to try in your next container planting, whether that’s a single-flower pot or a racy mixed container (you could always give barakura a go!).
In addition, here’s a sensational plant container that also doubles up as a beautiful solar light for your garden. It’s sure to inspire your next trip to the garden centre!
Solar lamp post & planter
Bring a touch of classic London townhouse style to your garden with this elegant solar lamppost that also displays your container plants beautifully at its base.
Operating completely on solar technology, this lamppost-planter combo can be placed anywhere in your garden, making a feature of your patio, front door or pathways – no wires needed! You can even pop it on a balcony for extra light in the evening. Simply position it in a sunny position so that its batteries can charge through the power of the sun, and enjoy its triple-bulbed glow throughout the night.
No need to rearrange your garden on rainy days – this lamppost planter is waterproof and can be left outside all year round. Fill the base with soil and plants to increase its stability, or use rocks or other aggregates as an alternative. Available soon at QVC.
Looking for the perfect plants to put in your lamppost container? Browse my list of top container plants below.
- Sweet peas
It’s a misconception that sweet peas only grow well in beds. Providing that you follow some important guidelines, sweet peas can thrive in pots! Firstly, it’s important to note that sweet peas have a large root system, and so your container should be appropriately sized depending on how many plants will be installed as well as the variety of the sweet pea (different varieties have different needs).
Secondly, ensure that your container has good drainage, and proceed to water daily (bar days with medium to heavy rainfall). FInally, when planting up, use a soil that retains moisture well, so that the plants do not dry out frequently.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful, billowy sweet peas in your containers!
Many gardeners use Berberis (commonly called barberry) as hedging, thanks to its tall and dense structure. It’s ideal for creating privacy, as well as attracting bees and other wildlife with its nectar-rich flowers in spring. But it can also be used to bring interest and height to pots, whether it’s a single plant or several pots that can be placed next to each other to create mobile privacy!
Berberis Chocolate Summer is a beautiful red-purple-leaved variety that produces yellow flowers from April to May, and grows to a height of 120cm when mature. It’s ideal for a large pot!
- Herbs for summer cocktails
Herbs are perfect for any type of container, as long as it has good drainage! For your summer cocktails, why not think about growing your own greenery to garnish your drinks? Mint is an obvious one, but you can also grow basil, rosemary, lemon balm, thyme and more. Or what about a sprig of lavender for something more colourful?
With over 100 species to choose from, Fuchsias are one of those plants that you really can’t get tired of. From shades of hot pink, to Cadbury’s purple, to brilliant white, to soft rose, Fuchsia plants are so much more than the most common varieties that we see in supermarket garden centres. Even better, there are many varieties that are perfect for pots!
Simply fill your well-draining container with soil that has moderate water retention, and plant one Fuchsia per pot. Place your planted container in partial shade (Fuchsias can tolerate sun, but prefer protection from those hot midday UV rays) and enjoy an abundance of colourful blooms.
In search of a Fuchsia alternative? Brugmansia is the plant for you. With trumpet-shaped blooms, this unusual and eye catching plant will take centre stage on your patio during its blooming season.
Perfect for containers, you can bring this plant inside to encourage year-round interest!
- Lavender Stoechas
Lavender Stoechas, or French Lavender, as it’s better known, is a buxom type of lavender that attracts bees, butterflies and more. Better yet, it’s available in a range of colours, including that classic lavender purple shade, berry pink, indigo and white.
Lavender plants can grow to be very large, so make sure that your container features plenty of room for your plant to thrive and develop. Your plant will also need a drainage hole and well-draining soil – and make sure to position your container in full sun!
Commonly known as snapdragons, these plants are often used in beds, but can also thrive in containers. They produce billowy, bell-shaped flowers in a variety of bright, attractive colours, and are also known for their haunting seed heads that look like skulls!
Antirrhinum are especially easy to grow in containers with good drainage and regular watering, especially throughout summer.
What are your favourite container plants? Let me know in the comments section below!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.