The Best Flowers For Pots and Containers

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There’s a wide range of possibilities when it comes to cultivating flowers for pots and containers in the vibrant gardening world. Container gardening has a special appeal for flower lovers who are short on space or beginners who want to add greenery to their balcony, patio, or windowsill. 

A gardener placing summer annuals and perennials in pots on a patio.

In this guide, we will explore the world of flowers for pots and offer insights and recommendations to help you create stunning displays that flourish in limited spaces. From annuals bursting with color to perennial favorites that return year after year, you will discover the perfect flowers to elevate your container garden to new heights.

Essential Factors to Consider When Choosing Flowers for Pots and Containers

Container gardening offers flexibility and creativity, but to ensure success, it’s essential to consider several factors when selecting flowers for your pots. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Sunlight Requirements:

Assess the sunlight your chosen location receives during the day. Some flowers thrive in full sunlight, while others prefer partial shade. Match your flower selections to the available light to ensure they receive the appropriate sunlight for optimal growth and blooming.

See our guides on:

Watering Needs:

Different flowers have varying water requirements. Some prefer consistently moist soil, while others are more drought-tolerant. When selecting flowers for your pots, consider your watering habits and your region’s climate. Choose flowers that align with your ability to maintain a consistent watering schedule to prevent watering issues.

Soil Type and Drainage:

The type of soil and drainage in your containers play a crucial role in the health of your flowers. Use a high-quality potting soil mix formulated for container gardening to provide adequate nutrients and drainage. Ensure your pots and containers have sufficient drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to rot and other problems.

Size and Shape of Containers:

Consider the size and shape of your pots and containers when choosing flowers. Some flowers, such as cascading or trailing varieties, are well-suited for hanging baskets or tall, narrow pots. Others may require deeper containers to accommodate their root systems. Match the size and shape of your containers to the growth habits of your chosen flowers to allow them room to thrive.

Pots of beautiful purple flowers in terracotta pots.

Annual Flowers for Pots and Containers

Annual flowers provide an excellent opportunity to add bursts of color and season-long interest to your container garden. These versatile plants complete their life cycle within a single growing season, offering a profusion of blooms from spring to fall. Here are some top choices for annual flowers that thrive in pots and containers:


Petunias are beloved for their prolific flowering habit and wide range of colors, including vibrant shades of pink, purple, blue, and white. These versatile annuals are well-suited for containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes, where their trailing growth habit adds a cascade of color. Choose from compact varieties for smaller containers or grandiflora types for larger pots, and ensure they receive full sun for the best performance.


Marigolds are popular annuals known for their cheerful blooms and natural pest-repellent properties. The flowers bloom in shades of orange, yellow, and gold and add a warm, sunny presence to container gardens. Plant marigolds in well-draining soil and provide ample sunlight to encourage robust growth and abundant flowering.


Geraniums, with their clusters of colorful blooms and aromatic foliage, are classic choices for container gardening. These drought-tolerant annuals thrive in containers filled with well-draining soil and prefer full sun to partial shade. Choose from various geranium types, including zonal, Ivy, and scented varieties, to suit your container garden’s aesthetic.


Lobelia is a charming annual with delicate, trailing stems adorned with petite, dainty flowers in shades of blue, purple, pink, and white. These compact plants are perfect for edging containers or spilling over the edges of hanging baskets. Provide moist soil and partial shade to keep lobelia blooming profusely throughout the growing season.


Begonias are prized for their lush foliage and striking flowers, which come in various colors, including red, pink, orange, and white. These shade-loving annuals are ideal for brightening up the shady corners of your container garden. Plant begonias in well-draining soil and protect them from the hot afternoon sun to keep them thriving in pots and containers.

Pots of container grown flowers on a potting bench.

Perennial Flowers for Pots and Containers

Perennial flowers offer long-lasting beauty and reliability in container gardens, returning year after year with minimal maintenance. These enduring plants provide a sense of permanence and structure to your outdoor space. Here are some top choices for perennial flowers that thrive in pots and containers:


Lavender is prized for its scented foliage and spikes of tiny, aromatic flowers in shades of purple, blue, pink, and white. These drought-tolerant perennials thrive in containers filled with well-draining soil and require full sun to flourish. Incorporate lavender into your container garden to enjoy its calming scent and attractive blooms throughout the summer months.


Coreopsis, also known as tickseed, is a cheerful perennial with happy daisy-like flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red. These sun-loving plants are perfect for containers, where their compact growth habit and long-lasting blooms add a pop of color to any setting. Plant coreopsis in containers with good drainage and provide regular watering to keep them blooming profusely from spring to fall.


Sedum, or stonecrop, is a versatile perennial known for its succulent foliage and clusters of star-shaped flowers. The flowers bloom in shades of pink, red, and white. These drought-tolerant plants are ideal for containers, where their low-growing habit and resilience make them perfect for sunny spots. Choose from various sedum species and cultivars, including trailing forms that spill gracefully over the edges of pots and containers.


Heuchera, also known as coral bells, is loved for its colorful foliage and delicate, bell-shaped flowers in shades of pink, red, purple, and white. These shade-loving perennials add texture and interest to container gardens, whose vibrant leaves provide year-round color. Plant heuchera in containers with rich, well-draining soil and protect the plants from the hot afternoon sun.


Astilbe is a graceful perennial known for its feathery, tall plumes of flowers in shades of pink, red, purple, and white. These shade-loving plants are perfect for adding vertical interest to containers, where their airy blooms create a soft, romantic ambiance. Plant astilbe in containers with moist, well-draining soil and provide partial to full shade to keep them blooming abundantly throughout summer.

Leaves of coral bells up close.  The leaves are brownish purple with rims of bright green.

Climbing and Trailing Flowers for Hanging Baskets and Vertical Gardens

When adding vertical interest and maximizing space in your container garden, climbing and trailing flowers are unbeatable. These flowering vines cascade gracefully over the edges of hanging baskets and vertical structures, creating a stunning display of color and texture. Here are some top choices for climbing and trailing flowers that bloom abundantly:

Trailing Verbena:

Trailing verbena is a delightful choice for hanging baskets and containers, with its profusion of tiny, colorful flowers and trailing growth habit. Available in various vibrant hues, including shades of pink, purple, red, and white, trailing verbena adds a cheerful touch to any garden setting. Plant trailing verbena in containers with well-draining soil and provide full sun to encourage continuous blooming throughout the growing season.


Nasturtiums are versatile annual vines prized for their cheerful, trumpet-shaped flowers and edible foliage. These easy-to-grow plants thrive in containers with average to poor soil and prefer full sun to partial shade. Choose from various nasturtium cultivars, including climbing nasturtium types that spill over the edges of containers, adding a pop of color to your garden.


Fuchsia is a classic choice for hanging baskets. It is known for its drooping stems adorned with delicate, bell-shaped flowers. These shade-loving vines come in various colors, including pink, purple, red, and white combinations. Plant fuchsia in hanging baskets with rich, well-draining soil. You will want to also protect them from the hot afternoon sun to keep them blooming profusely throughout the summer.


With its glossy foliage and trailing habit, Ivy is a versatile vine that adds a touch of elegance to hanging baskets and vertical gardens. While not known for its flowers, certain ivy varieties, such as English ivy (Hedera helix), produce small clusters of greenish-white blooms in late summer. Plant ivy in containers with well-draining soil and provide partial to full shade.

Morning Glory:

Morning Glory is a fast-growing annual vine prized for its large, trumpet-shaped flowers that open in the morning and close by midday. Available in various colors, including shades of blue, purple, pink, and white, Morning Glory adds a burst of color to trellises, arbors, and hanging baskets. Plant morning glory in containers with well-draining soil and provide full sun for the best flowering performance.

Trailing nasturtiums climbing a fence.

Expert Tips for Successful Container Gardening

Container gardening allows you to cultivate beautiful blooms even in limited spaces. Still, success requires careful attention to the needs of your plants and containers. Here are some essential tips to ensure your container garden thrives:

Proper Watering:

Monitor soil moisture regularly and water your containers when the top inch of soil feels dry. Ensure adequate drainage by using containers with drainage holes and avoiding waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot. Water should be used early or late in the afternoon to minimize water loss through evaporation and reduce the risk of fungal diseases.


Provide your container plants with essential nutrients by fertilizing them regularly throughout the growing season. Choose a balanced fertilizer or a formulation specifically designed for flowering plants, and follow the recommended dosage instructions. Apply fertilizer every few weeks or as directed on the product label to promote healthy growth and abundant blooming.

Regular Deadheading and Pruning:

Remove spent flowers, also known as deadheading, to encourage continuous blooms and prevent the formation of seed pods. Prune your container plants to maintain their shape, remove damaged or diseased foliage, and promote healthy growth. Use sharp, clean pruning shears to make precise cuts and avoid damaging the plant’s stems or branches.

Pest and Disease Management:

Keep an eye out for common pests like aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies that can cause damage to your potted plants. To manage pest infestations without harming helpful insects, use natural pest control methods such as hand-picking or spraying insecticidal soap. Be vigilant for signs of disease, like yellowing leaves, wilting, or unusual spots, and take immediate action to prevent the spread of infection.

Seasonal Maintenance:

Adjust your container garden care routine to suit the changing seasons, considering factors such as temperature, humidity, and daylight hours. Protect your container plants from extreme weather conditions, such as frost or heatwaves, by providing shelter or moving them to a more suitable location. Refresh your containers periodically by replacing tired or spent plants with new additions to keep your container garden looking vibrant and healthy.

Pots of annual geraniums growing along a stone wall.

Creative Ideas for Arranging Flowers in Containers

Elevate the visual appeal of your container garden by incorporating creative arrangements that showcase the beauty and diversity of your flowers. Here are some innovative ideas to inspire your container gardening endeavors:

Color Combinations:

Select flowers with complementary or contrasting colors that enhance each other’s beauty to create eye-catching displays. Experiment with color schemes, such as monochromatic, analogous, or complementary palettes, to achieve harmony and visual interest. Mix and match flowers in varying shades and hues to create dynamic compositions that captivate the eye.

Height Variation:

Add dimension to your container arrangements by incorporating plants of different heights, from tall, upright specimens to low-growing trailers. Use tall, spiky flowers as focal points or centerpieces, surrounded by medium-height blooms and trailing varieties that spill over the edges of the container. Arrange plants in layers, with taller specimens towards the center or back of the container and shorter plants towards the front or edges.

Texture Contrast:

Combine flowers with contrasting textures, such as smooth, glossy leaves paired with fuzzy or velvety foliage, to create tactile appeal. Mix in plants with different leaf shapes and textures, such as broad, serrated leaves alongside delicate, lacy foliage, to add visual interest. Incorporate ornamental grasses or filler plants with airy or feathery textures to soften the overall look and add movement to your container arrangements.

Seasonal Themes:

Celebrate the changing seasons by designing container gardens that reflect the colors and motifs of each time of year. Choose flowers that bloom in seasonally appropriate shades, such as pastel hues for spring, bold primaries for summer, and rich jewel tones for fall. Enhance your container arrangements with seasonal accents, such as miniature pumpkins for autumn, evergreen branches for winter, or festive holiday ornaments.

Container Selection:

Get creative with your choice of containers, selecting vessels that complement the style and theme of your garden. Use traditional terracotta pots for a rustic, Mediterranean-inspired look or sleek, modern planters for a contemporary feel. Repurpose unconventional items, such as vintage crates, wooden barrels, or decorative urns, to add character and charm to your container garden.

White, purple and pink tiny flowers growing in wide plastic terracotta pots.

**Invasive Plant Warning**

It’s essential to research and consult local authorities or gardening experts to determine if specific plants are considered invasive in your region. Here are a few plants mentioned in the article that might have invasive characteristics in certain areas:

  1. Morning Glory: While Morning Glory (Ipomoea spp.) is prized for its beautiful flowers, some species, such as Ipomoea purpurea, can be invasive in certain regions, spreading rapidly and outcompeting native vegetation.
  2. Ivy (English Ivy – Hedera helix): Ivy is known for its glossy foliage and trailing habit, making it a popular choice for hanging baskets. However, English Ivy, in particular, can be invasive in some areas, spreading aggressively and smothering native plants.
  3. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus): While Nasturtiums are valued for their edible flowers and foliage, they can self-seed prolifically and become weedy in some environments, particularly if not managed carefully.
  4. Verbena: Certain varieties of Verbena, especially trailing types, can self-seed readily and spread beyond their intended boundaries, potentially becoming invasive in certain conditions.

Keeping these plants from self seeding from their containers can help prevent the plants from taking over your gardens.


What are the best flowers for pots?

Petunias, marigolds, geraniums, and begonias are popular choices for their vibrant colors and suitability for container gardening.

How do I choose flowers for pots?

Consider factors such as sunlight requirements, watering needs, and container size. Choose flowers that thrive in your specific growing conditions and complement your aesthetic preferences.

How often should I water flowers in pots?

The frequency of watering depends on factors such as the type of flowers, weather conditions, and soil moisture levels. Generally, aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Do I need to fertilize flowers in pots?

Yes, regular fertilization is essential for container-grown flowers to replenish nutrients depleted from the soil. Use a balanced fertilizer or one specifically formulated for flowering plants, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can I overwinter potted flowers?

Yes, you can overwinter potted flowers by bringing them indoors or providing protection from frost and extreme cold. Consider placing pots in a sheltered location or insulating them with mulch or bubble wrap.

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Final Remarks

Container gardening with flowers for pots is a versatile and accessible way to bring beauty and nature into any space, regardless of its size or your experience level. By carefully selecting flowers that suit your specific growing conditions and preferences, and following expert tips for successful container gardening, you can create stunning displays that thrive throughout the seasons.

Join The Conversation

Hey there! Are you a container gardening enthusiast? We have an amazing community eagerly waiting to connect with you! Share your favorite flowers for pots, innovative container arrangements, and success stories. You can also ask questions and learn from fellow gardening enthusiasts. We believe that together, we can create thriving container gardens that bring joy and beauty to our outdoor spaces. So come on and join the conversation today!

Author: Laura Kennedy

Writer & Owner of Little Yellow Wheelbarrow

Laura is a highly skilled gardener and fervent flower enthusiast. Despite her playful battle with plant spacing guidelines, Laura’s work inspires gardeners to create thriving, beautiful spaces that reflect both creativity and sustainability.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 27, 2023, and was updated on March 11, 2024. The update included new content, better formatting, expert tips and FAQs.

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