How to Select Flowers for Containers


The flowers you select for your containers create mini-gardens that can grace your porch or patio. You can group several flowers together in one container and then group together several containers for a mixed garden. You can also plant in each container one type of flower, arranging the containers to create patterns of color and texture. Whatever type of arrangement you want to create, you need to select the right flowers for your containers.

Step 1

Decide if you want annuals or perennials, or a mix of both. Annuals have a one-season life cycle; they grow, bloom and flower and then die. Perennials will go through the life cycle two, three or more times, coming back each year to bloom and flower. A mix of both allows you to have constants in your container garden while being able to freshen them up each season with annuals.

Step 2

Select flowers that are adapted to your local growing conditions. If you live in a colder region, select annuals that can be planted in early spring and live through to fall. Choose perennials that can be moved indoors in the winter or go dormant and can tolerate the cold. In southwest climates, choose annuals that thrive in the cooler seasons, and perennials that are heat and drought tolerant.

Step 3

Consider the types of containers you intend to use. Flower boxes are suitable for short-stemmed flowers that grow in bunches or cascade over the sides. Taller pots will be attractive homes for tall, slender plants. Match the flowers growing habits to the containers' shape and size.

Step 4

Select flowers that will create a color scheme. For a contemporary appeal in your container garden, select various types of flowers, but all in similar colors. For example, you might choose a variety of flowers, all with orange and red blooms. For an eclectic look, choose one type of flower but in several different colors. Choosing by color scheme allows you to create a color palette, just as you would for your interior design scheme.

Step 5

Consider the visual result of mixing your selected flowers in your containers. Mix tall, slender flowers with a flower type that grows in short bunches to create a topiary effect. Select flowers that grow to various heights for a layered appeal.

Step 6

Mix your selected flowers with greenery in the containers. Choose English ivy, variegated ivy or herbs to give the container garden added textural interest. Such additions will also keep the container garden looking attractive as the flowers die back.

Things You'll Need

  • Containers
  • Flowers


  • Northeast
  • Pots & Plants; Barbara Segall; Octopus Publishing Group; 2008

Who Can Help

  • Flower Identification Guide
Keywords: container garden, flowers for containers, selecting flowers

About this Author

Shelly McRae is a freelance writer residing in Phoenix, Ariz. Having earned an associate degree from Glendale Community College with a major in graphic design and technical writing, she turned to online writing. McRae has written articles for multiple websites, drawing on her experience in the home improvement industry and hydroponic gardening.