Easy Flowers to Grow in Pots

Geraniums, petunias and mums are just a few colorful, practically carefree plants for pots and other containers.

August 08, 2019

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Photo By: Ball Horticultural Company

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Photo By: Lynn Coulter

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Photo By: PanAmerican Seed

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Calibrachoas

Not only do calibrachoas thrive in pots and other containers, the breeder of ''MiniFamous Uno Double PinkTastic', shown here, doesn’t recommend growing them in the ground. Million bells, as they’re commonly known, are hardy in Zones 9-11, and while they take full sun to part shade, they do best with at least six hours of sun. Aside from regular water and fertilizing, they’re almost carefree.

Geraniums

Classic geraniums like these, 'Dark Red' and 'White Watermelon', look as natural on porches in summer as pumpkins do in fall. Give these cheerful annuals at least four to six hours of sun each day. Keep faded flowers picked off to encourage new blooms, and fertilize the pots every two weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer at half-strength. Move them indoors before frost and enjoy them as houseplants in a bright window.

Petunias

Planted with Supertunia 'Bordeaux' petunias, Snowstorm Snow Globe bacopa and Diamond Frost Euphorbia, this container is ideal for part sun to sunny spots. The plants are usually grown as long-blooming annuals, although the petunias and euphorbia are hardy in Zones 10 and 11 and the bacopa is hardy in Zones 9-11. They’re all self-cleaning, which means you don’t have to remove the faded flowers. This combination of plants is a "recipe" called Last Tango in Paris.

Mandevillas

Tropic, exotic-looking Diamantina mandevillas were bred from plants discovered in a region known for diamond mining in Brazil. Tourmaline 'Pink Blush', pictured here, is a non-vining mandevilla that doesn't need trellising or other supports, so it's ideal for pots and mixed containers. Give it full sun and this nearly carefree annual will bloom heavily throughout the summer.

Marigolds

Easy-going marigolds add splashes of gold, yellow, maroon and other colors to containers. Some varieties can grow quite tall, but French marigolds and other types stay small and bushy. Give them at least six hours of sun each day, and grow them in a good quality potting soil that drains easily. Their colors are especially nice for fall displays. This variety is 'Bonanza Deep Orange'.

Hydrangeas

Potted hydrangeas are easy-to-grow favorites. Use a rolling plant stand to move large pots or choose a dwarf variety for smaller ones. This compact hydrangea, from the Kanmara Splendour series, was specially bred as a shaded patio plant but you could keep the container on a balcony or in another shady spot. The flowers come in six colors, including rose, champagne, white, pink, deep pink and lilac. Choose a hydrangea variety recommended for your USDA garden zone, water when the top inch of soil feels dry and watch your hydrangeas rebloom for years.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums in pots seem to be everywhere in the fall, sold in nurseries, garden centers and grocery stores. Grow them indoors in a window that gets bright, indirect light, or outdoors in a spot that gets morning sun. Some varieties are hardy in Zones 5-9 while others can’t survive below 32 degrees F. Remove the flowers when they fade and water when the top inch of soil is dry. If you live in a mild climate, cut off the dead foliage in fall, overwinter the pots outside and water just enough to keep the plants from drying out.

Begonias and Coral Bells

This container of easy-to-grow 'Pegasus' begonias, 'Surefire Rose' begonias and Dolce 'Appletini' coral bells (Heuchera) can take sun or shade, although coral bells prefer some shade. While the begonias are annuals, the coral bells are hardy in USDA Zones 4-9 and bear ruby-red flowers that attract hummingbirds. Keep the coral bells in the container and add new plants the following year, after the begonias succumb to frost. This planting combination, or "recipe," is called Dream Weaver.

Impatiens

Gardeners have been missing carefree impatiens, which nearly disappeared from stores after being attacked by downy mildew some years ago. Now the new Beacon series promises fast-growing, beautiful blooms for shady spots. Suitable for pots, window boxes and hanging baskets, this downy mildew-resistant annual, Impatiens walleriana, is expected to be available in six colors in 2020: red, white, violet, salmon, coral and orange.

Sedums and Coleus

Although it doesn’t produce significant flowers, Colorblaze 'Torchlight' coleus offers brilliant color when it’s potted up with Sedum 'Lemon Coral'. Both of these undemanding annuals take sun or shade and grow happily in well-drained potting soil. Bring the coleus indoors to enjoy as a houseplant before the first frost, and move it back outside after the weather becomes reliably warm in spring. ‘Lemon Coral’ is a heat and drought-tolerant succulent that's hardy in Zones 7-11.

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