Potted plants can make a huge difference in the ambience of outdoor spaces, adding greenery and vibrancy to porches, patios, poolsides and entryways. Not all plants are well suited to the confines of a pot or container, but there are still plenty of attractive and low-maintenance options to choose from.
A member of the mint family, mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea) is a herbaceous perennial native to the United States and Mexico. Commonly grown as an annual, mealycup sage is a popular container plant notable for its tiny purple blooms and dense, light green foliage. The plant can be grown outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 10 in full sunlight (preferably with a little afternoon shade in hotter climates). An average soil or general purpose potting soil mix will suffice for this undemanding plant. Mealycup sage requires almost no maintenance and care and will thrive with just occasional watering during the summer.
A member of the sedge family, papyrus (Cyperus papyrus), also called Egyptian papyrus or paper plant, is a perennial grass from which paper has traditionally been made. A native of northern Africa, particularly Egypt, papyrus is often used as an ornamental container plant for areas that receive a lot of rain, since this plant likes wet soil. The spreading plant sports long green blades that have a gentle, cascading appearance. Papyrus is best suited to zones 9 to 11, where it should be grown in full sunlight or partial shade. The plant can be grown in a pond simply by placing a pot or container underwater and allowing the leaves to stick up into the air. Growing papyrus in a pot is also beneficial because it keeps the plant from spreading out of control.
A native of North America, the aloe vera plant (aloe vera), also called medicinal aloe, is a perennial succulent that sports fleshy, toothed leaves and a tall stalk of tubular orange or yellow flowers. Aloe vera is well known for its soothing gel-like sap, which can be taken from inside the plant's fleshy leaves and applied to mild sunburns. Drought tolerant and hardy, aloe vera makes a low-maintenance outdoor plant in zones 9A to 11A. Plant aloe vera in a well-drained sandy or rocky cactus soil mix and place in a pot with a hole in the bottom. Place in full sunlight or partial shade, and enjoy.