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The Best Plants for Patio Pots

red salvia image by Michelle Reimers from

Patios offer a range of sunlight exposures that affect the growing condition of container gardens. The best method for planting pots involves the selection of light compatible plants. Certain plants offer consistent blooms and healthy foliage throughout the growing season. The best plants for patio pots include both perennial and annual selections to add color to the outdoor living space.


Patios often experience direct sun all day, providing the perfect environment to grow daylilies in a large pot. Daylilies produce blade-like foliage in a pleasing mound shape similar to an ornamental grass. Cup-shaped flowers form on long stalks that rise upward from the mounding foliage. These hardy plants thrive in USDA zones 3 to 10 and easily fill a good-sized patio pot with mature growth up to 4 feet around. Pot size will restrict spread of the plant. Daylily requires minimal care, but removal of browning foliage and cutting spent flower stems increases the neatness of the plant. Overfertilization causes excessive foliage growth and few blooms.


The family of sage plants includes the group called salvia. These plants feature medium-green foliage and upright flowers that last for a long time in container gardens. The annual red salvia blends well in patio pots with companion plants with blue or yellow flowers to provide contrast. Foliage is triangular and mounds beneath the tall spikes produced for flowering. Flower stalks feature cup-like petals attached to a main spike. Salvia tolerates drought well but thrives with regular watering. Select a full-sun location, although some cultivars thrive in partial shade settings. Check planting labels before purchase to determine sunlight requirements for each type of salvia.


For shady patio pots, selecting a plant with vibrant colors adds decorative dimension to the living space. Coleus grows upright with bright foliage in variegations of green, yellow, purple, magenta and white. This plant reaches mature heights of up to 24 inches and also spreads up to 24 inches in large patio pots. Leaves feature a soft texture that enhances the various colors. Coleus tolerates part-sun to full-shade locations and moist soils. This member of the mint family remains beautiful throughout the summer and can be moved indoors in bright indirect light in the winter. Coleus also produces small flowers that pale in significance next to the stunning foliage. Light pruning keeps foliage healthy and promotes branching.

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