Many times all a bland landscape needs to brighten it up is some flowering plants planted inside containers. The brightly blooming containers will liven up an entranceway, patio or any area of the landscape lacking color. Gardeners have a variety of choices in flowering plants that grow well inside containers outdoors. Choices include both annuals and perennials, with varieties blooming from spring throughout fall.
South African Daisy
South African daisy (Osteospermum), belonging in the family Asteraceae, is a half-hardy perennial in frost-free areas of the United States. Cooler regions should treat the plant as an annual. It grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 8 through 11. Plants are well suited for use in outdoor containers, as well as in mixed gardens or borders. Daisy-like flowers bloom spring throughout summer and, depending on the cultivar, bloom in colors of white, yellow, purples, pinks, peach, orange and bicolor. Deadheading will prolong the blooming period.
Plants prefer growing in full sun, and gardeners should use a well-draining potting medium inside their containers. South African daisies grow approximately 2 feet in height and spread. Pruning back the foliage in fall or spring promotes fresh growth and a bounty of blooms. Gardeners should water container-grown plants well for the first two weeks after planting while the plant establishes itself. Thereafter, water regularly as South African daisies have moderate watering requirements. Plants work well in butterfly gardens.
Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum), belonging in the family Asteraceae is a perennial well suited for growing in USDA planting zones 4 through 9. Plants work well planted inside containers and there are various cultivars all with white, daisy-like flowers with large, yellow centers blooming springtime throughout summer. Deadheading promotes longer blooming. Shasta daisy is a good cut flower and works well in mixed gardens or planted in borders.
Plants can reach up to 3 feet in height with a spreading habit of 2 feet and will perform best when situated in full sun. Gardeners should use a well-draining potting mix. Plants require regular watering as the soil for container-grown plants dries out quicker than for those planted directly into the ground.
Pentas (Pentas lanceolata) belong in the family Rubiaceae. Plants are well suited for growing in USDA planting zones 8 through 10 and act as a perennial in frost-free regions. Areas experiencing annual frosts and freezes should treat pentas as an annual. Its upright habit makes it well suited for growing inside outdoor containers, as well as in mixed gardens, borders or in butterfly gardens, as it attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Clusters of starlike flowers born on deep green foliage bloom spring throughout summer in a variety of colors depending on the cultivar. Colors range from purples, pinks, reds, white and bicolor.
Plants grow up to 3 feet in height with a spread of approximately 2 feet and tolerate sunny to shady conditions. Some cultivars have a low-growing, mounding habit. Gardeners should use a well-draining soil medium inside the containers. Pentas have moderate watering requirements and require regular doses of water for proper growth and flowering.