3 Plants Perfect for Container Gardening

We have several planters outside around our house and I’ve had fun experimenting with different combinations of flowers. On our porch, which gets indirect sun in the afternoon, I have a combination of 3 flowers that do really well together.

In this post, I’m going to go through the things you need to think of when picking your flowers for your flower gardens/containers and then tell you about the three flowers I have found do great on my porch.

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What You Should Think About When Picking Out Plants

When you are planning to add plants to your yard or outdoor containers, you should do a little planning before you head out to the greenhouse to pick out plants. If you consider these things below, you will have a much better chance of picking out plants that will thrive.

What kind of soil do you have?

The type of soil often dictates the kinds of plants that will grow well there or whether you’ll have to add something to the soil for the plants that you want to survive in it. You’ll want to consider the texture of your soil, how it retains water, and the density before deciding whether to amend your soil or pick specific plants that will work well in it.

There are 4 main types of soil textures in the US:

  • Clay soil is heavy, clumpy, and hard that feels sticky. It tends to hold onto water and nutrients more, but also does not drain as well. Because it is dense, roots can have a hard time growing in clay soil. You can help the soil by adding mulch, compost, sand, and peat moss to lighten the soil.
  • Sand soil is highly porous, dries quickly, does not hold onto water easily, and has very low organic content. It can be difficult for plant roots to get the water and nutrients needed to grow. Add in top soil, peat moss and/or compost to help it retain moisture and nutrients.
  • Silt soil is smooth, crumbles and turns to dust, and looks lie dark sand when it is dry. It tends to be high in minerals but can easily blow away when dry. Add organic material like compost or well-rotted manure (yes, I’m serious) to give it a more solid texture.
  • Loam soil is usually thought to be the best soil for gardeners because it is the ideal mixture of clay, sand, and silt. It drains well, retains nutrients and is sturdy enough to anchor a plant. Almost any plant will grow in loam soil.

Also, when considering container gardens, you’ll want to either use the soil you have in your yard with the different additions mentioned above, or use potting soil. Some plants prefer moisture while others thrive I dry soil. There are potting soils that are made for indoor plants, raised beds, containers, and gardens. Some potting soil is made to retain moisture longer, some come with fertilizer added.

There are a lot of different types of potting soils and mixes so either choose a plant for the type of soil you have or get the right soil for the kinds of plants you have.

How much sunlight does reaches your garden?

Plants all have a preference for how much sun they like or can tolerate. You’ll see the plant info mention things like full sun, part sun, part shade, and shade. This is telling you that if you add a plant that wants full sun under as shady tree, it will not do well. Similarly, plants that like shade tend to scorch or burn if they get too much direct sunlight for too long.

How much space do you have?

On the tags that come with each plant, it should also tell you how tall the plant will likely get and how far apart they should be planted. Many of the tags well tell you if a plant is a good one for container gardening, but your garden store should have someone on site who can tell you or give you suggestions on plants that work well in smaller containers.

Pro Tip

Potting soils can develop pathogens while dormant over the colder seasons. Ideally, you’ll want to replace your potting soil at the start of every season.

Midway through the season, you’ll likely want to add some fertilizer to your containers. Even if the soil had added fertilizer at the beginning of the season, it will likely be depleted before the season is over.

Three Types of Flowers Perfect for Container Gardening

Dracaena Marginata are the tall spiky plants in the back. There are different varieties, but the one I used here, Marginata, has a green leaf with a pink outline.

Wave Petunias come in all types of shapes, sizes, colors, and even patterns. You can train them to spill over your containers for a dramatic effect.

Coleus, in this example Rose Cong Coleus, are one of my favorite plants. They tend to like shade or part shade, so they are not ideal for full sun locations. All of the planters on the front and sides of our house are part shade or part sun, so we use them there or under our trees.


Are you going to do be doing any container gardening this year? I would love to hear which plants you are using or like to use in your gardens in the comments below!

I hope these tips help you plan and pick your plants for your garden! If you want to stay up to date on all of the tips and tricks, subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest!

XOXO Alicia

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