Plants for a Terrace Garden

An empty terrace or patio can be livened up simply by using container plants. Gardeners can frame an entryway with imposing ceramic pots or frame the edge of a terrace with a few well-placed deck boxes. While not every plant will grow well within the confines of a pot, there are plenty of low-maintenance, lovely plants that will.

Wishbone Flower

A member of the figwort family, wishbone flower (Torenia fournieri), also called bluewings, is a flowering annual native to Southeast Asia. The diminutive plant grows to be about a foot high, producing floppy, tubular blooms in colors ranging from true blue to lilac, white, yellow or even pink depending on the cultivar. The plant also sports rich, green foliage. Wishbone flower is best suited to partial sun or dappled shade in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 9. The plant will thrive in a moist, rich soil that is watered regularly and fertilized during the growing season with a fertilizer high in potassium. Wishbone flower grows well in containers and can be planted in a deck box or hanging basket on the terrace.

Palm Sedge

A member of the sedge family, palm sedge (Carex phyllocephala) is an evergreen perennial native to China. Growing in 1-to-2-foot clumps, the plant boasts grass-like leaves that are often a variegated combination of bright green and creamy yellow. One of the most popular cultivars is the "sparkler" sedge. Palm sedge can be cultivated in pots or containers to add a bit of greenery and texture to a terrace. The plant is ideal for a shady corner, since the plant will tolerate partial to almost complete shade. Palm sedge is best cultivated in a well-drained soil in zones 7 to 10. The plant should be watered on a regular basis, though it will tolerate dry periods.


Reaching a maximum height of between 5 and 18 inches, wandflower (Galax urceolata), also called beetleweed, is a low-growing perennial notable for its broad, bushy, green leaves and tiny stalks of white flowers. The spring- and summer-blooming wandflower is a sweet little plant for small terraces that don't have a lot of space. The flowers of the plant can be clipped and added to fresh flower bouquets. Wandflower will grow in full to partial shade in zones 5A to 9A, preferably in an acidic or neutral, well-drained loam. The plant should be watered as needed: more in the summer, less in the winter. Be sure to use a pot with a hole in the bottom to promote good drainage.

Keywords: terrace garden, terrace plants, potted plants

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.