How Do I Pick a Plant For Outdoor Pots?

Planters come in all sizes and styles. Choose from clay and terra cotta pots; cast concrete planters; faux stone containers or hypertufa containers – you have endless options available!

Whatever container you select, avoid garden soil as this could contain weed seeds and fungal diseases that could compromise its integrity. Instead, fill your pots to approximately two-thirds capacity using an all-purpose potting mix for best results.

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Plants add beauty and fragrance to any outdoor space, and to get the most from your greenery you should choose an appropriate container size for it. Selecting too small a pot may restrict root growth. Tonya Barnett from FRESHCUTKY Cut Flower & Vegetable Gardening shares how to determine the optimal planter size for flowers, herbs and vegetables as well as when to upgrade to something larger in this video.

As it’s essential that indoor and outdoor containers fit the size requirements for their respective plants, it’s vital that you select an ideal container size. Smaller pots work better for shallow-rooted succulents while larger containers work great for shrubs and ornamental trees. When purchasing nursery plants at stores or garden centers, they typically come packaged in pots 2-4 inches larger than what you actually require.

Wide pots typically distribute moisture more evenly and are less likely to tip over in high winds. On the downside, however, larger plants may feel cramped by too-narrow containers while tall containers with narrow openings may increase root rot risk.

Additionally to choosing an appropriate planter size, it’s also vital that you regularly assess your plants’ watering needs. Overwatering will cause your roots to rot away and the plant itself to wither, leaving its leaves discolored and flowers dying off altogether. Luckily, overwatering is easily remedied by regularly checking soil moisture levels before watering again; you can also keep your plants happy by deadheading any flowers that have drooped or gone to seed, as this helps your plant look its best while encouraging it to produce even more blooms!


Shape should be one of your primary considerations when it comes to selecting plants for your pots, and selecting a pot that is either of equal size or slightly larger will ensure that roots don’t become congested while still giving sufficient room for expansion.

If your plants are currently housed in pots that are too small, selecting a planter that is a few inches wider will quickly address this problem. For instance, if they’re growing in 10″ pots now, opt for 12″ planters as this will be more suitable.

Select a planter with drainage holes so excess water doesn’t cause its roots to become waterlogged, and consider selecting dark colors which absorb more solar heat compared to lighter hues as these will quickly dry out your pot’s soil.

When selecting plants for outdoor pots, there is an array of choices available. From standard shrubs in lollipop-shapes and low maintenance perennial flowers like Skimmia japonica or Heuchera heucherella, to hardy evergreen foliage plants such as Yucca, English ivy or variegated euonymus; hardy evergreen foliage plants make great year-round displays as do hardy evergreen foliage plants like Yucca or English Ivy for year round displays such as Yucca English Ivy or variegated Euonymus; for year round pot displays try mixing up blooming-times plants such as Heuchera, Zinnia or Lantana; pair these blooming-time plants with trailing plants like petunias creeping Sedum or fillers like Salvias or ornamental peppers to make dynamic displays that change throughout each season – creating dynamic and interesting displays throughout every season!


Though its color may seem inconsequential, a pot or planter’s hue can have an enormous effect on how successfully a potted plant grows. Darker colors absorb more sunlight and heat than lighter ones, leading to faster soil warming up times which may stress plants with extensive roots like succulents or cacti.

Green and yellow containers are among the most popular choices for containers, adding vibrancy to garden spaces. Blues and reds also work well; just make sure that any flowers or plants chosen don’t require more than what these hues can offer — for instance, mixing purple inch plants (Tradescantia sp.) with an orange-hued tree (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’) won’t look right in an orange container!

Brown and beige pots provide gardeners with an earthy aesthetic. Furthermore, these neutral tones help balance out other colors to achieve harmony within a planting scheme – such as yellow pots coordinating well with sunny yellow flowers like daffodils and sunflowers; white ones work particularly well when combined with agapanthus or dahlias.

Matte-finished terracotta pots create an authentic cottage-style aesthetic, while shiny ceramic ones can produce more of a modern aesthetic.

Many people plant potted plants because they wish to add height or transform a wall or fence in their gardens, walls or yards. When selecting tall plants for such spaces, trailing ivy makes for an elegant option and should drape gracefully over the edge of any pot. Other suitable options are staghorn ferns, hollyhocks, and daffodils; or for something formal try camellias which bloom early spring; just remember they require special compost with regular watering!


Plant pots and planters must reflect both your style and setting when selecting materials to use for outdoor containers. Natural materials like clay, terracotta and wood tend to work best as outdoor containers as these tend to blend in nicely with their surrounding garden setting. Metal and other modern materials such as composite or concrete may also be suitable. Planters come with various finishes to fit into your space and budget – just make sure that its container features drainage holes or can be drilled to accommodate drainage. Without proper drainage, roots may become waterlogged and eventually rot. A porous lining such as gravel or perlite in the bottom of your pot or hypertufa may help prevent excess water from seeping through and reduce watering requirements by keeping moisture at its source.

Terra cotta pots are popular due to their color and texture. Lightweight yet strong, this material comes in various shapes. Sold unglazed for best results over time; unglazed terra cotta also allows moisture loss more rapidly from soil.

Gardeners frequently utilize decorative ceramics and glazed pottery in their gardens, offering an array of colors and styles from traditional to contemporary. Ceramics tend to be extremely durable when exposed to weather elements; some forms of glazed pottery may even be frost-resistant to protect its glaze surface.

If you want to add height to your garden, grow standard shrubs in containers. These low maintenance varieties such as bay, wisteria and holly make an impactful statement in any container garden or patio or deck setting.


Gardeners who lack a spacious yard or garden can still appreciate beautiful flowers, herbs, and greenery with outdoor pots. The key is learning which are the most suitable plants to put into containers so they thrive!

Choose plants that complement the style and container you are using before choosing any specific plants to fill them. Consider the structure, color and size of any given plant when choosing its suitable companion plant – such as tall perennial agapanthus which offers height with summer flowers yet narrow leaves so it doesn’t hog attention from other blooming perennials and shrubs in bloom. It also looks good with various container materials from terracotta to galvanized metal pots.

Mix up the texture of your plantings by incorporating different leaf and flower shapes, sizes and colors. Use contrast to create visual interest; pairing tall evergreen plants with vibrant flowers like fuchsias or chrysanthemums creates an immediate visual impact, or highlight an eye-catching cluster with something smaller such as papyrus – just to name two examples of adding interest!

For your plants to flourish in their environments and types of environment, provide them with the appropriate amount of water. Monitor soil moisture daily after planting to make sure your plants don’t become overwatered.

Make sure that your plants receive regular fertilizer feeds with low nitrogen liquid or granule fertilizers, like low nitrogen liquid plant food or ready-to-use liquid plant food products that come ready-diluted and ready-to-use liquid plant food solutions that you can find in most supermarkets and hardware stores’ gardening sections.