Plant Ideas for Outdoor Containers

When yard space is limited or you want to add a bit of pizazz to your yard, container gardening is the way to go. There are a number of plant choices for outside containers. Your choice of plants can be based upon personal preferences, availability, plant purposes and maintenance needs.


Herbs are a good choice for outdoor containers. There are several herbs you can easily grow in containers. A small list of common herbs that are great for containers includes dill, chives, basil, garlic, chamomile, calendula, lavender, catnip, thyme, fennel, cilantro (coriander) and nasturtium. You can grow mint, but keep it in its own container, as it will overgrow other herbs.


Many vegetables will grow well in containers as long as they are watered frequently and thoroughly and have a container large enough to meet the needs of the plant. Vegetables that climb, vine, trail or need support will require a trellis, cage or a support stake. Vegetables for container gardening include cucumbers, lettuce, eggplant, squash (summer squash grows well in containers), tomatoes (will require cages or stakes), spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, beans, radish, turnip and potato.


You can grow small fruits (and even dwarf fruit trees) in containers. If you are limited on space or have soil that is not ideal for certain fruits, growing them in containers is a perfect way to add fruits to your home garden. Choose small fruits like blueberry or strawberry for containers. Dwarf fruit trees, like plum, apple and cherry grow well in containers.


Grow perennial and annual flowers in containers for easily moved spots of color. Good container flower choices would include chrysanthemum, day lily, begonia, ground ivy, sweet potato vine, petunias, lantana, black-eyed Susan, zinnia, marigold, pansy (viola), columbine and lamb's ear.


Plant bulbs in containers, and they will return year after year to provide a beautiful display. Bulbs that work well in containers include tulips, snowdrops, daffodil, hyacinth, iris, bluebell and tiger flower.

Shrubs, Trees and Vines

You can grow a dwarf crepe myrtle in a container, but it will need regular pruning. You can also grow vining or trailing plants in containers as long as the containers are large enough and adequate support from a trellis is provided for the plant. Vines and trailing plants for containers include morning glory, mandevilla, clematis and cypress vine. The shrub bougainvillea grows well in a container, but a bushy form of the plant (such as Temple Fire) grows best in containers.

Keywords: container garden, bulbs in containers, flowers containers, vegetables container gardening

About this Author

Tamara L. Waters is a freelance writer living in Southern Illinois. She has been writing professionally for print publications since 1992 and has written for websites and blogs since 2006. She is a category editor for Associated Content and writes a weekly column for a local newspaper.