Ideas for Planting Outdoor Flower Pots

Updated February 21, 2017

Outdoor flower pots and container gardens allow gardeners to grow a wide variety of plants that may not necessarily survive if planted directly in the yard. Containers allow for better control of soil and water, and always have the option to be moved indoors if the weather gets too cold. Pots come in a wide variety of size, shapes and colours, so the possibilities are virtually endless.

Focal Point

Find a plant you adore and use it as the focal point for your flower pot. Then, fill the surrounding area with plants that complement the size, shape, colour and texture of you first plant. Since containers offer a relatively small planting space, don't try to cram too many colours into one pot. Instead, choose a colour scheme that includes your original plant and stick to it. For best results, combine a variety of shapes and textures. If the plant you started with has soft round leaves, contrast it with spiky ornamental grasses. If it has a trailing growth pattern, pair it with an upright plant that has a similar colour scheme.

Tiny Landscape

Just because your container is smaller than a full-blown flower bed doesn't mean the same gardening rules don't apply. Think about the elements you would use in a typical landscape and combine them artistically in your container gardens. Arrange ornamental trees, small shrubs, flowers, ground cover and hardscape in the same pot just as you would in a bigger garden.

Vacation Spot

Recreate a beloved vacation spot in a planter. If you like the beach, plant tropical grasses and flowers alongside a small palm tree. Fill the remaining space with sand, driftwood and seashells you collected on your last trip. Or, mimic a meadow with tall grasses, wild flowers and butterfly weed. Use the same idea to replicate the mountains, desert or other region. Whatever theme you choose, be sure to select a pot with a flattering style and colour.

Vegetables, Spices and Herbs

Many vegetables have surprisingly showy leaves and flowers. Grow a handful of your favourite vegetables together in a planter by your back door for easy access. Surround the main container with smaller pots for growing aromatic herbs and spices.

Unusual Containers

Container gardening doesn't have to be limited to traditional flower pots. Give your landscape a creative twist by planting flowers in an unexpected container, like a birdbath, broken musical instrument or old light fixture. For plants that need a hot, humid environment, try covering the pot with a round piece of glass so it can double as both a table and a greenhouse.


Take your home's distinctive style outdoors with your flower pots. For example, create a modern theme by planting a single, bold plant in a white planter. Or, mimic the decor in your kitchen with industrial-style metal containers. If you have a cottage style home, line your porch with flowers in small, simple pots.

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About the Author

Tiffany Bennett is a recent graduate from Toccoa Falls College. While earning her degree in counseling and psychology, she discovered that she enjoys various forms of writing. She is currently living in Athens, Ga., and looking forward to beginning a graduate degree program in international affairs at the University of Georgia.