Plants for Patio Gardens

Patios are too often neglected, left bare while a nearby garden flourishes. Decorating a patio with potted plants is a simple way to liven up an area, making it more hospitable during barbecues or parties. There are a number of attractive and low maintenance plant species that will thrive outdoors on the patio in a container or pot.

Hedge Bamboo

Hedge bamboo (Bambusa multiplex), also called Chinese goddess bamboo, is a perennial grass that can reach staggering heights of up to 40 feet (though it will reach a more modest height when grown in a container). Hedge bamboo boasts a tough green stalk accented by dense branches of bright green bamboo leaves. The plant is best suited to cultivation in USDA zones 8A to 11A, preferably in partial shade or full sunlight. The plant isn't picky about soil pH, though the soil should be well draining. Water frequently enough to keep the soil consistently moist to the touch.Hedge bamboo makes an excellent screen or privacy hedge thanks to its dense foliage; the plant can also be used as a stand alone specimen on the patio.

Oshima Sedge

Oshima sedge (Carex oshimensis), also called Japanese sedge grass, is an ornamental grass species native to Japan. An evergreen in warm climates, oshima sedge is commonly grown for its attractive long blades, which are typically a variegated yellow and green (although this depends upon the cultivar). The plant makes a simple and fresh looking container plant, and can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 5 to 9 in full sunlight or dappled sunlight. Oshima sedge does best in a well draining soil that's kept damp, even wet. The plant will also do well in a hanging basket placed under an overhang on the patio.

Hardy Prickly Pear

Hardy prickly pear (Opuntia humifusa) is a species of cactus native to the Southwestern United States. The plant boasts thick succulent pads and showy yellow flowers. Hardy prickly pear can be grown outdoors in a container in USDA zones 5 to 10. The plant is highly drought tolerant, and requires full sunlight and a well drained cactus potting mix or a sandy or rocky soil. Be sure to use a pot or container with the hole in the bottom to ensure good drainage, as drainage is essential to the health of this plant. The egg shaped fruits of the hardy prickly pear are edible and have a sweet, watermelon like flavor.

Keywords: patio gardens, patio pots, plant types

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.