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Summer Container Gardens We’re Obsessing Over

24 de februar de 2024

Container gardens aren’t just for spring blooms. Add some garden style to your porch, patio, or entry by planting a container garden with the right mix of plants for the summer season. For a season as colorful and warm as summer, it’s important to have a little something that soaks up and reflects the wild, natural beauty of most Southerners’ favorite time of year.

These container gardening ideas are full of summer bloomers from brilliant blue hydrangeas to hearty SunPatiens to pretty petunias. These plants stand up to the summer heat and will add vibrant color to your warm-weather containers. Borrow a few of our summer planter ideas for your home, and you’ll have gorgeous containers that will brighten your space and bloom all season.

Made for Shade

Brighten a blank patio wall with a vertical garden. Choose a matching set of planters (we like Metal Flat Back S/3, $156; Drill drainage holes in the bottoms of the containers. Make three additional holes in the front of each, and then use tin snips to cut out triangular openings that are large enough to fit one plant. Fill containers with potting soil and plants before mounting. The following picks will withstand late-summer heat with regular water in part to full shade.

Left Container: shrimp plant, «Aqua Marine» pilea, variegated pteris fern, selaginella, sword fern, arrowhead vine

Middle Container: asparagus fern, «Triostar» stromanthe, «Neon» pothos

Right Container: «Neon» pothos, arrowhead vine, selaginella

Roll With It

Rolling cart container garden with zinnias and marigolds

Take summer arrangements to new heights with a portable plant stand that can move inside and out. This version from Gardener’s Supply Company (Demeter Mobile Planter Cart, $149; can wheel easily from potting shed to the patio and from sunshine to shade. The space-saving, slim container fits comfortably on a small porch or apartment balcony. Instead of displaying a cluster of mismatched pots, place a mix of seasonal vegetables, flowers, and herbs in this single planter. Stash your gardening tools along with additional blooms on the shelf below.

Fill the stand with potting soil. We added «Yellow Crookneck» squash, «Skyscraper Pink» salvia, scabiosa, «Swizzle Cherry & Ivory» zinnia, coneflower, creeping wire vine, rosemary, «African Blue» basil, tomato, «Inca II Mix» marigold, and fan flower (bottom rack). Give full sun and regular water.

Sunny SunPatiens Pot

Sun-Loving SunPatiens

In summer, when in doubt, go with SunPatiens. This sun-loving container incorporates «Variegated Spreading Salmon» SunPatiens, foxtail asparagus fern (which adds some whimsy), and «Neon» pothos. Keeping the color palette to two—peachy blooms for impact and bright, limey greens for substance—give the container a lively presence. There’s nothing sweeter (or more summery!) than a fern-SunPatiens combo.

Hanging Blooms

Hanging Blooms

Dress up your favorite hanging container with dianthus and petunias. Add extra oomph with the addition of English Ivy and baby’s tears spilling over the sides. Don’t be afraid of mixing colors and textures here. The more variety, the better.

Sunny Shades

Sunny shades container garden

Treat a heavy vessel as a small, wild garden. This concrete pot is filled with warm, yellow-toned flowers that are traditionally placed in the ground instead of in containers. Plant these in May, incorporating various types so something will be in bloom through late summer and into early fall. We chose lantanas, ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ coneflowers, and autumn ferns—plus ‘Alabama Crimson’ honeysuckles and ‘Gilded Sun’ roses to add height.

Late Summer Fire

Late-Summer Stunner

Spring gets all the press, but let’s give summer its due. Late summer needs a gorgeous container too. Fill a container with «Rustic Orange» coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides), «Compact Hot Coral» SunPatiens (Impatiens sp.), and «Yellow Moon» wishbone flower (Torenia sp.). Plus, it’s as easy as can be to maintain.

Geraniums with Personality

Gorgeous Geraniums

Summer-blooming Calliope-series geraniums take center stage in this arrangement, which makes the most of their bright scarlet hues. Pair «Dark Red» geraniums with assorted greenery and plants that have interesting architecture, like the tall purple filler in the background of this container.

Shade-Loving Combo

Style in the Shade

Combine caladiums, creeping Jenny, and white wishbone flowers for a whimsical summertime container garden. Here, we used «Celebration» and «Florida Sweetheart» caladiums for a vibrant planter with a graceful spill of creeping Jenny from the elevated container.

Bold Hues

Bold Hues

When in doubt, add color. This brick features a subtle container garden. Use dianthus, petunias, and baby’s tears for a lively and colorful expression of summer blooms.

Pretty In Pink

Pretty In Pink Container Garden

Allow a large terra-cotta pot to become a semi-permanent part of your landscape. Embrace a thrilling mix of highs and lows in rosy hues. In front, trailing vincas spill over the edge. ‘Great Falls Angel’ coleus fill the middle ground, while ‘Peppermint’ caladiums bring scale with their elephant-ear shape. Long-lasting ‘Miss Molly’ butterfly bushes, snapdragons, and ‘Archangel Dark Rose’ angelonias spring from the center and complete the look.

Easy Elegance

Easy Elegance

This stately container garden builds height in the plantings by thinking horizontally. Keep a dark plummy filler planted low in the container, then build blush blooms atop the lowest layer. Finally, add the brightest, most showstopping plant at the highest point. Easy and elegant, it’s as simple as that.

Unexpected Summer Mix

Verdant Vibes

A container with lantana and impatiens will bring color and butterflies to your space. Add maroon Joseph’s coat, green coleus, and yellow creeping Jenny for a lively mix with all summer’s eye-catching colors and textures.

French Field

Green to Envy Front Door Containers

Channel a rolling French field filled with herbs by creating these elegant and natural containers. The waving height and the mix of colors are charming. Add your favorite herbs and other plants to the mix. Don’t be afraid to mix in edible ones too. Here, we worked with salvia, rosemary, coleus, and kale.

Citrus Containers

Play the Blues Front Door Containers

Why didn’t you think of it before? Incorporating lively plantings at the base of a citrus tree isn’t just beautiful. It’s equal parts stunning and functional. When harvest time comes around, you’ll be happy to have oranges (or lemons and limes). Keep the base plantings natural, wispy, and wild.

A Sea Of Blues

Sea Of Blues Container Plant

This low, rolled-rim pot is arranged with plants sturdy enough to last through the hot summer months. Hardy full-sun varieties in a showy monochromatic blend of cool blues and soft purples mimic a whimsical bouquet. Plumbago blooms are seen throughout, with bursts of ‘Angelface Blue’ angelonias and ‘Victoria Blue’ salvias in the back. To plant, fill the vessel with loose potting soil, stopping 5 inches from the top, and then press each root ball firmly into the soil. Finish by covering with mulch to lock in moisture.

Elephant’s Ear Charm

Summertime Flair!

Elephant’s ear is a too-often overlooked container garden addition that can add significant impact to a little pot. Keep the container unruly, with varied colors, textures, and heights. A few elephant’s ears emerging from the top add just the impact you’re looking for in your summer container.

Tropical Treat

Tropical Inspiration

This gorgeous container combines vibrant lime «Maui Gold» elephant’s ear, deep orange SunPatiens, purplish Persian shield, and a spill of angel vine for a tropical-inspired plant design. Position the container somewhere that leaves enough space for the elephant ears» leaves to spread out, as it can reach up to three feet tall and be two feet wide. You’ll want to see these beautiful, heart-shaped leaves.

Vibrant Variety

Snapdragons, Penny Violas, Tulips, Parsley and Ivy

These lush containers look intricate, but they couldn’t be more straightforward to put together. Combine snapdragons, Penny violas, tulips, parsley, and ivy for an elemental and architectural mix.

Lovely Lantana

Blooming Lantana

Bring butterflies galore to your summertime container by planting lantana. Add other plants with complementary sun and water requirements, or keep it simple and plant only lantana. Lantana produces a lot of nectar, making them attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Sunny Mix

Coleus and Lantana Combo

These plants—orangey coleus and bright yellow lantana—stand up to even the hottest Southern summer conditions. Lantana produces brightly colored, round flower clusters in various hues and has a fragrant, citrusy scent. Coleus is a perfect complement because of its beautiful foliage.

Thrilling Tulips

Tulips, Pansies, Acorus, Heuchera, Ivy and Fern

Take advantage of May-blooming tulips in this container, a perfect design for early summer. It includes a lively combination of tulips, «Tiger» fern, Lavender Blue» and «Purple Wing» Plentifall pansies, acorus, heuchera, and variegated ivy. It’s a vibrant combination that adds some drama to your entry.

Duo Hues

Blue and White Spring Container

Keep your palette to two colors for instant elegance. A coastal-inspired blue patio is elevated here with deep greens and pops of fresh white blooms in multiple containers. A «Meyer» lemon tree is also a fun addition.

Singular Strategy

Trailing Petunias

Choose just one plant to make a streamlined (but bold) statement in a container. Pretty pink petunias do the trick. You’ll have plenty of options as petunias are available in various colors and unique hybrid patterns.

Pink-and-Lime Charm

Pink-and-Lime Charm

Pink and lime hues are a no-fail pairing for summertime container gardens. Try planting purple coneflowers, Cora Cascade vincas, and sweet potato vines to achieve this splendid color palette. Add another bold plant with height at the back to create vertical interest.

Dazzling, Dangling Garden

Shady Hanger

Hang a container of impatiens, spider plants, blooming begonias, ferns, and spilling ivy for a dramatic container that will thrive in the shade. Using flowers that trail over the container’s edge adds an extra dimension to the plant. Try mixing different shades of one color for a cohesive look when varying the flower species in one container.

Pretty Purples

Shade-Loving Brights

What better time to incorporate vibrant violet hues into your space? Choose your favorite purple blooms and combine them with captivating and architecturally interesting purple-and-green filler plants. Try using plants with different textures for even more visual interest.

Zippy Zinnias

Blooming Zinnias

These zinnia blooms lend cheery color to an indoor or outdoor container garden. Zinnias grow fast, so you can sow seeds to have multiple bloom times throughout the spring and summer seasons. The large, double blooms and the wide variety of color options mean you can try a new shade every year.

Je ne sais quoi Trio

Pastel Pot

It just has that something special. Together, «Strawberry Sundae» Twinspurs, violas, and kale are a winning combination. Twinspurs are great for attracting pollinators, like bees, and are relatively pest-resistant.

Stylish Snapdragons

Snapdragons Container Garden

We’ll happily take advantage of any excuse to incorporate snapdragons in a container. These containers» cheery pink and yellow flowers add liveliness to this arrangement but don’t overwhelm the space. Adding two pots with single plantings grounds the vignette.

Dainty Lavender Hues

Dainty Lavender Hues

You need just a few ingredients for this garden dish. Try combining hostas, violas, and blue phlox in your vessel for a dainty container garden with plenty of charm.

Double the Containers

Tradition With a Twist

This entry has a double layer of containers. Nearest the door, «Blue Point» junipers, «Ogon Gold» Acorus, and creeping Jenny adds height. Liberty snapdragons, marigolds, crimson dianthus, and more creeping Jenny add continuity and color to tie the scene together.

Individual Impatiens

Spring to Summer

Perfect for a Southern summer, impatiens can stand up to the South’s notoriously hot weather. Add scale with large planters and plants. It’s a simple technique, but it creates a significant impact.

Charming and Subtle

Charming and Subtle

This pretty, delicate container plays with shades of white, garden green, lime green, and cornflower blue to create a subtle, playful garden element. Vary the plant species, including trailing and structured types, so the container looks full and provides interest from every angle. The varying shades of greenery contrast the container without overwhelming it with too many colors.

Mega Style

Mega Style

Add some mega flora to your container design this year. Go big or go home in scale, as we did with these elephants» ears. Leave room for these leaves to spread because the more space, the more significant the impact.

Wild Textures

Wild Textures

This gorgeous container packs a punch in a small area by using many different types of flowers. Layering caladiums and dainty blooms make the most of its square footage. Top the container with variegated leaves to complement the colorful blooms perfectly.

Mix It Up

Living Color main photo

Summer’s favorite flower, the hydrangea, gets a highlight in this hefty display. Complement ‘Pop Star’ hydrangeas by layering in ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbias, white gauras, and Million Bells trailing calibrachoas.

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