21 Stunning Perennials for Pots and Containers

Perennials, the recurring delights in the garden, make gorgeous container arrangements with vibrant blooms, attractive foliage, dynamic movement, and endless planting combinations. Let perennials anchor containers and embellish potted designs with annuals for seasonal color and interest. Or go all-in on perennials for reliability and beauty throughout the seasons.

Perennials also offer essential garden value and ecosystem benefits for butterflies, bees, birds, and other wildlife through nectar and seed production, as host plants, and as shelter. Enjoy the energetic buzz that potted perennials create.

Like any potted plant, following the keys to successful container gardening with perennials ensures greater viability. The main themes: provide a well-draining pot and potting mix. Follow sun and shade recommendations and adjust as you observe the plant in its container spot. Water consistently, especially during dry periods, as container culture differs from in-ground plantings (container plants lack the moisture and insulation of the surrounding soil mass). Overwinter perennials in pots and containers according to hardiness and related techniques.

Often well-suited to container culture, dwarf plant varieties offer more compact, fuller forms and denser flowers in a pot. Container perennials don’t have to be dwarf cultivars, though. The main idea is to choose the appropriate container size for the plant at maturity. Give plenty of room for roots and width based on maximum plant size, or plan to repot as the plant grows (or move it right to the garden bed).

When planting in containers, most potting soil mixes provide adequate nutrients and drainage. Incorporate compost into heavy soils to improve drainage. Some perennials need rich organic matter, while others prefer average soils. Fresh soil or fertilizer may improve plant health for plants growing in a single container for years.

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Agastache

Black-eyed Susan

Echinacea

Paradiso Dwarf Blend Echinacea Seeds

Lavender

Monarda

Rosemary

Agastache

A cluster of purple anise hyssop, with its vibrant hues, captivates the eye. The slender green stems rise gracefully, displaying strength and resilience, and lush green leaves adorn the plant.Used as an herbal remedy, anise hyssop is also an ornamental pollinator favorite.

botanical-name
botanical name


Agastache spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


2-4 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


5-9

Agastache, or anise hyssop, is an absolute garden favorite with its fragrant leaves and delicate tubular blooms in riotous colors. Bloom spikes rise above gray-green foliage and provide a nectar source for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

Suited for both the herb garden and perennial bed, several varieties have become hardy garden performers well-suited to container culture. Look for Agastache ‘Tutti Frutti,’ a hybrid of garden-worthy natives A. barberi and A. mexicana, hardy to zones 7-10. ‘Tutti Frutti’ brings tall, berry red blooms that add color and movement to the container garden atop leaves with a fruity scent. Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ is a robust garden performer that shines in a pot, too. With floriferous lavender-blue bloom spikes, it’s a butterfly favorite.

Agastache blooms profusely in summer through frost and pairs nicely in a pot with other perennials like aster, salvia, solidago, and ornamental grasses, as well as annuals like coleus, bacopa, and angelonia.

Place Agastache containers in full sun to part shade. Ensure pots and soil mixes are well-draining and cut back spent blooms to enjoy prolific flowering all season.

Aster

A close-up captures the intricate details of an aster plant, showcasing its delicate purple flowers. Flourishing within a wicker basket, the aster plant exudes vitality and elegance, creating a harmonious contrast against the pristine backdrop of a white wooden table.
Different aster varieties have varied heights.

botanical-name
botanical name


Aster spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


Varies
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-8

Asters, native to North America, are easy-to-grow flowers with deep blue-purple, lavender, and pink daisy-like blooms. Asters bloom in late summer to fall, enhancing the garden and attracting butterflies and bees as the seasons change.

Aster plants range from taller varieties, which may need staking, to dwarf cultivars. The ‘Little Carlow’ hybrid requires no staking and is a good fit for container culture. Trimming or thinning stems of taller varieties through mid-summer encourages a bushy, full habit to round out a pot. Coreopsis, echinacea, sedum, and ornamental grasses make beautiful combinations with asters.

Asters in containers prefer consistently moist, organically rich soils. Allow good air circulation around pots and thin stems in summer if density inhibits airflow. This, along with good drainage, will prevent foliar diseases.

Black-eyed Susan

In a brown pot, black-eyed susan flowers bloom proudly, flaunting their multiple layers of sunny yellow petals surrounding deep, mysterious dark centers. Resting upon the rich soil, the pot stands out amidst a diverse collection of surrounding plants.
Rudbeckia thrives in full to part sun, tolerating heat and humidity.

botanical-name
botanical name


Rudbeckia fulgida
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


1.5 to 2 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-9

Black-eyed Susan, with its many golden, daisy-like flowers with dark centers, is grown for its showy blooms from summer through fall. A native wildflower, Rudbeckia has been cultivated for uses in the garden as a mass planting, border plant, meadow or cottage garden, and container planting.

For containers, look for R. ‘American Gold Rush’ and ‘Little Goldstar’ for compact plants with many flowers. Pair with salvia, monarda, lavender, and verbena in containers. Rudbeckia makes an excellent cut or dried bloom in floral arrangements.

It tolerates heat and humidity and thrives in full sun. In a pot, an average potting mix will suffice as long as they’re not overly rich in organic matter and kept evenly moist. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage flowering and tidy appearance (less important with compact varieties). 

Catmint

Black pots are neatly arranged, housing vibrant catmint plants adorned with delicate purple flowers. The sunlight gently embraces the plants, highlighting their vivid hues and enhancing their natural beauty.
Nepeta is a versatile plant with fragrant leaves and prolific purple blooms.

botanical-name
botanical name


Nepeta racemosa
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


1-2.5 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-8

Catmint, or Nepeta, is another plant that bridges the herb and perennial garden with soft, fragrant, edible leaves. Pillows of mounding gray-green foliage give way to prolific purple bloom spikes covered with small, tubular flowers.

Opt for low-growing varieties, like Nepeta ‘Dwarf Blue’ or N. ‘Walkers Low’ – an award winner – to grow in containers. These give pots a full, soft, rounded appearance and are attractive potted alone or paired with sedum, salvias, and ornamental grasses.

With its easy care and landscape versatility, catmint thrives with a bit of neglect. It blooms nonstop through the warm months until frost. Grow it in containers in a sunny or filtered light garden spot, and enjoy the busy bees visiting each flower for nectar. Deadhead spent flower spikes or shear the plant in mid-summer to encourage new blooms.

With its slightly fuzzy and minty leaves, Nepeta is a repellant for insects like aphids and squash bugs in the garden. It is deer and rabbit-resistant, too.

Echinacea

In a gray rectangular pot, slender stems support tall coneflowers boasting delicate petals of pale and fuchsia pink, each crowned by a deep, enigmatic center. The blurred background reveals a serene scene with a white fence completing the picturesque setting.
These plants, also known as coneflowers, require consistent moisture and full sun for optimal growth.

botanical-name
botanical name


Echinacea purpurea
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


1.5 to 5 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-9

A quintessential landscape native, echinacea, or coneflower, is a favorite summer bloomer in vibrant hues spanning the color spectrum. Ray flowers surround a center of disc florets, a prime nectar source for beneficial insects. Dried seed heads provide food for birds and extend winter interest in the container garden.

Coneflower types like ‘Sombrero Adobe Orange,’ ‘Rainbow Sherbet,’ and ‘Mango Meadowbrite’ are just a few sumptuous colors to try in a container design. Look for smaller, more compact varieties like Echinacea ‘Butter Pecan’ (a true double bloom) and ‘Paradiso Mix’ (a mix of gem tones and flower forms) with a compact habit with well-branched stems dense with blooms. Perennials like agastache, monarda, and ornamental grasses make stunning coneflower companions.

Echinacea is a natural prairie plant, but in containers, it will need consistent moisture, and the key to success is a well-draining soil mix and drainage holes. Coneflowers thrive in heat and grow well in full sun.

Fountain Grass

A cluster of fountain grass, characterized by their distinctive brown fuzzy-looking flowers, sways gracefully in the breeze. A meadow of green grass supports the elegant plant, while a dreamy blur highlights sun-kissed trees.Showy fountain grass needs minimal upkeep and little water.

botanical-name
botanical name


Pennisetum spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


2-4 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


5-9

Ornamental grasses add sway and movement to the garden. They offer textural interest and contrast through their graceful blades and plumes. Fountain grass, available in an array of varieties for height, color, and hardiness, brings fine, arching grass blades with showy plumes.

Fountain grass provides a lovely backdrop to blooming perennials and annuals. For containers, choose dwarf varieties like P. alopecuroides ‘Hameln’ (with white plumes) and P. orientale ‘Karley Rose’ (with rose and tawny plumes). Pair these with mixed perennials like echinacea, rudbeckia, and sedum.

Grasses have similar requirements in containers to other potted perennials, except for standard potting mix preferences. Grasses prefer topsoil mixed with compost and perlite (or a little agricultural sand) for rooting and drainage.

Pennisetum grows quickly, so ensure containers are large enough to match the variety’s maximum growth. Divide the grass in fall or spring as needed. Cut back pennisetum in late winter before new growth emerges in spring.

Gaura

A close-up of delicate Gaura flowers, showcasing soft, pale pink petals. The blossoms are elegantly supported by magenta-hued stems, creating a vivid contrast against the lush backdrop of green leaves.
A North American perennial with airy blooms, gaura thrives in containers with good drainage.

botanical-name
botanical name


Gaura lindheimeri
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


2-3 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


5-9

A gorgeous, graceful, blooming perennial, gaura features a leafy base with airy blooms that appear to float on wandlike stems. Gaura lends a delicate look to the container garden with white or pink flowers dancing amidst neighboring plants.

Gaura is a North American native with cultivars like ‘Whirling Butterflies,’ ‘Passionate Rainbow,’ and ‘Ballerina Blush’. Combine gaura with yarrow, aster, and echinacea for a loose, wild container arrangement.

Grow potted gaura in full sun. They tolerate heat and humidity, and good drainage is essential. Allow guara to dry out a bit between waterings. Ensure the potting mix drains rapidly and is not overly rich in organic matter. Gaura flowers beautifully from spring through frost, especially when entire stems are cut when the bloom fades.

Heliopsis

Heliopsis flowers, vibrant with yellow petals, encase striking red fuzzy centers, creating a sunburst-like allure in the garden. Their radiant hues contrast beautifully against the soft, muted green foliage that gracefully accompanies these blossoms.
Oxeye daisies feature golden flowers with fuzzy centers, attracting pollinators and feeding birds with their seeds.

botanical-name
botanical name


Heliopsis helianthoides
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


2-5 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-9

Heliopsis, commonly called oxeye daisy or oxeye sunflower, is native to the central and eastern United States. Golden sunflower-like blooms with fuzzy yellow button centers rise above deep green leaves in summer through fall. Unlike sunflowers, oxeye daisy flowers hold their ray petals. Heliopsis flowers attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Birds eat the seeds post-bloom.

Heliopsis has stiff, sturdy stems that grow to five feet. Compact varieties like ‘Tuscan Sun’ and ‘Sunstruck’ make excellent options for container culture. Pair the bright yellow flowers of Heliopsis with aster, verbena, echinacea, and gaura for a vibrant container arrangement.

In nature, heliopsis adapts to a wide variety of soil conditions. In containers, they’ll do best in consistently moist, well-drained soils.

Hellebore

Three clay pots cradle flourishing hellebore plants, boasting thick stems and delicate white blossoms accented by sunny yellow centers. Placed upon a wooden table, these pots create a charming focal point, embraced by lush, dark foliage in the background.
Also known as lenten roses, hellebore boasts diverse, long-lasting blooms in various hues.

botanical-name
botanical name


Helleborus orientalis
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Part to full shade
height
height


18 inches
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4-9

Hellebores, or lenten roses, feature large, cupped-shaped nodding blooms atop dark green palmate leaves. As perennials that bloom in late winter/early spring, hellebores grace the garden with evergreen or semi-evergreen leaves, depending on climate.

Hellebores’ toothed, palmate leaves provide seasonal interest year-round. Heavily hybridized for vigor and bloom density, they feature a long bloom time in various colors, from creamy white to soft pink or wine red, with single or double flowers. They are a lovely addition to the shade container garden as a four-season perennial. Pair hellebore with other shade-loving plants like fern, heuchera, and hosta.

Hellebores thrive naturally in moist, well-drained soils in a woodland setting. Hellebores in containers do well. They need plenty of room for their roots to grow, consistently moist, average soil, and dappled light to full shade.

Heuchera

A rectangular brown pot holds a heuchera plant with lobed leaves displaying stunning shades of green and magenta. Positioned elegantly, the pot graces a serene white porch, adding a pop of natural beauty to the clean space.

Coral bells are prized for their vibrant foliage in multiple colors.

botanical-name
botanical name


Heuchera spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


1-2 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4-9

Heuchera, or coral bells, are North American native perennials that are mostly evergreen in warmer climates. Prized for their foliage form and color, heuchera hybrids have green, purple, bronze, black, red, or orange leaves, often in mottled tones. Their showy leaves add exciting visual interest to pots and containers, giving high contrast in the garden and brightening up shady spots.

Coral bells make gorgeous container “filler” options for other foliar textures and colors. Look for Heuchera ‘Peachberry Ice,’ ‘Plum Pudding,’ ‘Caramel,’ and ‘Lemon Love’ to give high color contrast in deep or bright tones. The rich foliage colors are as delectable as their names.

Pair coral bells with nearly any part-shade perennial or annual like hellebore, pansies, purple fountain grass, or black mondo grass for a striking combination of multi-season foliage and flowers. For a twist on the display in the spring, interplant with tulips and daffodils.

Heuchera needs rich, organic soils in well-draining containers. Grow them in a dappled shade area of the garden. They can also grow in full shade, though growth may be slower. Some tolerate full sun with consistently moist soils. Color may fade with too much direct sun; the plant benefits from afternoon sun protection.

Hosta

Two blue pots, perfectly positioned, adorn the garden landscape. Within each pot, thriving hosta plants bloom in purple hues. One plant boasts lush green foliage, while its counterpart showcases rich, deep green leaves edged in striking white.
With diverse leaf shapes and colors, hostas enhance shady container gardens.

botanical-name
botanical name


Hosta spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Partial to full shade
height
height


Varies
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-9

Hostas bring their lush, full, sculptural leaves to enrich the shady container garden. Available in a variety of leaf shapes, from broad to strappy to curly, hostas offer textural contrast and visual interest. Dazzling tones of blue-green, emerald, and variegated foliage make hostas a versatile choice amongst potted shade plants.

Select a hosta for its color or leaf shape – or both! The container garden is the place to feature these standout characteristics. Hosta ‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ carries uniquely cupped leaves that are large in stature. ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ features petite blue-green rounded leaves, while miniature Hosta ‘Curly Fries’ brings rippled, narrow leaves in chartreuse.

Hostas grace the garden in seemingly endless varieties, unmatched in exciting foliage. Let’s not forget the blooms that emerge in early summer in lavender or white. Tall bloom scapes float above the leafy base and attract hummingbirds. Feature a single hosta in a pot, or pair with other hostas in contrasting shapes or colors or with other woodland perennials.

Hostas prefer partial to full-shade garden locations. Morning sun benefits bright or variegated varieties to retain color and vibrance. Provide moist, well-draining potting mix and keep the soil consistently moist, especially early in the growing season.

Japanese Painted Fern

Japanese painted ferns, adorned with intricate, deep purple veins, contrast beautifully against a blurred backdrop of rocky terrain. The glossy foliage catches and dances with the ambient light, casting a radiant sheen.
The unique fronds of Japanese painted ferns appear frosted white, purple, and silvery green.

botanical-name
botanical name


Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Partial to full shade
height
height


12-18 inches
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-8

Ferns make beautiful container specimens for shady and dappled light garden spots. These perennials bring graceful stems and lush foliage texture. Japanese painted fern – an eclectic, colorful pick – brightens the shade with its unique fronds in frosted white, purple, and silvery green. This fern has a low and mounding habit well suited to container culture.

Japanese painted ferns, striking as stand-alone specimens, also provide a soft contrast to other potted plants. Combine them with shade-loving ornamental grasses like sweet flag and Japanese forest grass or perennials like heuchera and hosta.

Japanese painted fern is an easy-to-grow perennial resistant to deer and rabbits. It thrives in organically rich, well-drained, consistently moist potting soils. Don’t allow soil to dry out between waterings. Frond color is best in light shade locations, beginning as especially silvery in spring and turning more green as summer temperatures arrive.

Lantana

A brown pot rests gracefully outdoors against a backdrop of neatly manicured grass. Within the pot, a vibrant lantana plant thrives, showcasing striking red and orange flowers that capture the essence of nature's beauty.
Overwinter lantana in indoor spaces in cold climates.

botanical-name
botanical name


Lantana camara
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


1-5 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


7-11

Lantana brings bursts of color to the container garden all warm season long, with flowers in multiple colors in the same cluster. Depending on the hardiness zone, lantanas are annual or perennial, with some lantanas more winter-hardy than others in mild climates.

For increased hardiness, look to a few varieties like Lantana ‘Miss Huff’ in vivid pink, yellow, red, and orange blossoms. ‘Chapel Hill’ carries pale yellow blooms, and ‘New Gold’ is in deep yellow, with low-growing, spreading habits. Weeping lantana (Lantana montevidensis) reaches two feet tall and spreads up to four feet, with pretty lavender blooms.

Lantana pairs beautifully with numerous garden annuals and perennials like ornamental grasses, salvia, sedum, echinacea, and yarrow.

This rugged and reliable perennial grows well in containers due to increased drainage. Lantana needs regular irrigation but doesn’t do well when overwatered. It should need no additional fertilizer to bloom all season. Take care to overwinter potted lantana in an unheated indoor space in colder climates.

Lavender

A cluster of purple pots stands in close proximity, forming a visually appealing arrangement. Each pot cradles a thriving lavender plant, its slender stems adorned with fragrant purple blossoms and delicate green leaves.
Ideal conditions for growing lavender include a spacious pot, ample sunlight, and well-drained soil.

botanical-name
botanical name


Lavandula spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


3 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


5-8

Lavender is loved for its refreshing fragrance, silvery foliage, purple bloom spikes, and many uses – from cleansing to relaxation to culinary. Whether it’s one of the many English, French, Spanish, or Dutch varieties, lavender makes a showy, evergreen focal point in a pot.  

Lavender performs beautifully in a sunny container. Lavendula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ is a hardy early bloomer with a compact habit. Grow it as a lovely stand-alone container planting, or combine it with ornamental grasses, echinacea, rudbeckia, and yarrow. Don’t forget to take clippings for fragrant bouquets indoors.

In a container, give this Mediterranean climate plant a large pot, plenty of sun, and well-drained soils. Err on the dry side a bit between waterings.

Monarda

Red monarda flowers burst in full bloom, resembling miniature fireworks against a lush, blurred green background. Their intricate petals unfold like crimson flames atop slender magenta stems, framed by a sea of green leaves.
Also known as bee balm, monarda is known for its purple, pink, and red blooms.

botanical-name
botanical name


Monarda didyma
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


2-4 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


4-8

Monarda, or bee balm, is native to the eastern U.S. and is a favorite garden performer due to its outstanding blooms. It fills out containers beautifully, too, which keeps it from spreading as it is wont to do in the garden. Numerous hybrids offer vibrant flowers in purple, pink, and red hues. Two-inch blooms with flared petals cluster on stems above minty foliage.

Bee balm’s brilliant colors combine well with white, buttery yellow, and blue flowers. Coreopsis, echinacea, shasta daisy, and aster are a few stellar container combinations.

Provide plenty of air circulation for monarda, along with organic soils and consistent moisture. Cut back spent blooms to prolong blooming, which lasts from early summer through fall.

Peony

Vibrant purple peony flower, its delicate petals unfold around a yellow center, basking in radiant sunlight. The intricate details of the petals reveal a soft, velvety texture, while a blurred backdrop paints a scene of sun-drenched, verdant foliage.
‘Coral Sunset’ and ‘Seashell’ are sturdier varieties of peonies known for their vibrant blooms.

botanical-name
botanical name


Paeonia officinalus
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


2-4 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-9

The dreamy peony flower is among the most scrumptiously gorgeous in the garden. Grow these beauties in a pot or container for up-close appreciation. Peonies bloom once a season, from late spring to early summer, so place them in an area where you can appreciate them often.

Combine peonies with echinacea, salvia, and hosta. Because of their full flowers, peonies may need to be staked or caged. Alternatively, opt for a sturdy variety for pots. ‘Coral Sunset’ is a glowing apricot-orange bloom that does not require staking. ‘Seashell’ also brings large baby pink flowers on tall, sturdy stems.

Place peonies in full sun, giving some afternoon protection from direct rays. At planting, make sure to plant in the pot with the crown, even with the soil line (not too low or high). This is essential to water absorption and blooming.

Rosemary

A close-up reveals the beauty of a rosemary herb, its delicate purple flowers reaching for the sunlight, while the green leaves capture the essence of nature's grace. In the soft focus background, additional rosemary herbs form a tapestry of greenery.
This versatile and fragrant herb offers year-round beauty and culinary benefits.

botanical-name
botanical name


Salvia rosmarinus
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


3-6 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


8-10

This beloved herb brings form and fragrance to the container garden. Rosemary grows indoors quite well, given a sunny location and well-drained soil. In warmer zones, rosemary is hardy year-round. Blue blooms cover stems of evergreen needles in early summer, attracting pollinators to the garden. Enjoy the lemony scent throughout the year, and add flavor to dishes with fresh herb clippings.

Select rosemary already pruned into conical or standard tree forms for a unique twist on a container, or plant a classic upright or trailing variety in a decorative pot. Rosemary ‘Barbecue’ has sturdy stems that can be used in grilling, ‘Arp’ is more cold hardy, and ‘Tuscan Blue’ cascades in a container.

The needle-like deep green foliage of rosemary, laced with sky blue blooms, can be potted on its own or combined with other herbs like lavender and sages. Yarrow and echinacea make striking bloom accents.

Like lavender, rosemary thrives in full sun in a large pot with very well-drained soil. Water regularly, but avoid overly moist soils.

Salvia

In a brown pot, red salvia flowers bloom elegantly amidst lush green leaves. The blurred background unveils more salvia plants, their collective presence creating a captivating tapestry of botanical wonders.
Choose a well-draining potting mix with moderate organic content for salvia.

botanical-name
botanical name


Salvia spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


Varies
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-9

With so many salvias to love in the garden, the challenge may be whittling down the number to use in containers. Salvia, also called sage, encompasses over 400 different species and varieties to bring an array of colors and forms to potted arrangements. Perennial salvias have been bred for tidiness and reliable blooming, with many blooming throughout the growing season. Salvia’s vibrant, tubular blooms are magnets for pollinators.

One of the first to bloom in spring, Salvia sylvestris ‘May Night’ flowers abundantly in deep violet spires through early summer. Its compact, mounding leaves make it a good fit for a pot. Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ is a favorite native salvia, performing well in part shade with tall, deep blue tubular flowers through fall. ‘Santa Barbara’ Salvia leucantha features a compact habit of Mexican bush sage with bright purple blooms in summer through fall.

Salvia thrives in hot, dry conditions; most prefer full to partial shade. Beautiful salvias like Salvia elegans (pineapple sage) grow in full shade, so look to those to brighten shade containers. Pair salvia with bright rudbeckia, echinacea, gaura, and yarrow for a pollinator-attracting combination.

Use a basic potting mix not overly rich in organic matter for salvia. Ensure the mix and the pot are well-draining, and water potted salvia regularly, especially during dry periods (erring on the dry side between waterings). Bonus:  the aromatic foliage of salvia is deer and rabbit-resistant

Sedum

A close-up reveals a cluster of purple sedum flowers, each delicate bloom showcasing intricate star-shaped petals with a gradient from deep purple to a soft lavender hue. The blurred background showcases lush green leaves, and other sedum flowers.
Low-maintenance sedums bring a lot of flower power and color.

botanical-name
botanical name


Hylotelephium ‘Autumn Joy’
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun to partial shade
height
height


1.5-2 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-9

Sedum, or stonecrop, brings interesting foliage texture and blooms to the container garden. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is a perennial succulent with tiny, star-like flowers that bloom in the fall. Blossoms emerge in large pink clusters and gradually become deep rose-red, fading to copper as they mature. Flowers appear in large, flattened heads atop stems that bear gray-green leaves.

This joyful late bloomer brings unusual color and texture to the garden and fall florals.  Spring through summer, the sedum’s broad leaves create a lovely potted arrangement among summer flowers and foliage interests like salvias, coleus, and ornamental grasses.

Enjoy ‘Autumn Joy’ in designs with other succulents, fall blooms like pansies, and finer-leaved plants for contrast.  Dried flower heads make a beautiful arrangement, too, or let them persist on the plant through the cool season for interest.

Sedums are drought-tolerant succulents, and well-draining soil is a must. Place containers in full sun for best growth, with a bit of shade protection from the afternoon sun in hot climates. Butterflies enjoy the late-season flower as a food source.

Solidago

Vibrant solidago plants stand tall, reaching for the sunlight, their brilliant yellow flowers creating a striking contrast against the lush green leaves. The radiant blooms create a picturesque scene, illuminated by the warm rays of the sun.
Goldenrod blooms in golden-yellow clusters from summer to fall.

botanical-name
botanical name


Solidago spp.
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


Varies
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


2-8

Beautiful solidago, or goldenrod, enlivens the landscape and provides food for pollinators with golden yellow bloom clusters from summer through fall. Most solidago are native to North America and naturalize readily in the landscape. Well-behaved varieties won’t spread as quickly to other garden areas, and containers are perfect for reducing spread.

Solidago “Fireworks’ and ‘Baby Sun’ are showy, dwarf goldenrod varieties, excellent for a pot or container. Combine solidago with purple tones of aster or salvia for a striking contrast.

Deadhead spent blooms to prolong flowering and to prevent spread by seed. However, leave some seeds for the birds who find it a valuable food source. Solidago also attracts numerous bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.

Solidago can handle poor soils in the landscape. In a container, provide average potting mix and water when the soil begins to dry.

Yarrow

A close-up of yarrow flowers reveals clusters of fuchsia pink petals, each adorned with a sunny yellow center, basking in the warm sunlight. The intricate details showcase their delicate beauty against a blurred backdrop of verdant green stems and leaves.
Various yarrow cultivars, including ‘Crazy Little Thing’ offer versatile options for container gardening.

botanical-name
botanical name


Achillea millefolium
sun-requirements
sun requirements


Full sun
height
height


1-3 feet
hardiness-zones
hardiness zones


3-9

Yarrow, a native North American perennial we’re accustomed to seeing in wildflower plantings and cottage gardens, brings the same feathery texture and loose look to the container garden. The large, flat flower heads – irresistible landing pads to so many pollinators – make yarrow worth incorporating into the potted arrangement.

Yarrow is available in a variety of cultivars that range in size. Achillea ‘Crazy Little Thing’ is a pink-blooming dazzler in dwarf form, ideal for pots and containers. Grey-green leaves are short and feathery, with prolific blooms on petite stalks. Or opt for a tall, upright yarrow to anchor the container arrangement. A. ‘Firefly Peach Sky’ holds lovely peach flower clusters atop sturdy two-and-a-half-foot stems.

Yarrow’s wispy foliage combines with broad leaf plantings and blooms like coleus, echinacea, rudbeckia, and zinnia. 

Yarrow is a low-maintenance, full-sun, drought-tolerant perennial. Like many natives on our container perennial list, yarrow doesn’t need additional fertilizer or rich organic soil to grow. It doesn’t need much more than a sunny spot, a draining potting mix, and consistent watering as the soil surface dries.

Final Thoughts

A joy in the garden, growing perennials in pots and containers brings dynamic visual interest to the potted arrangement. Perennials give lasting growth and performance beyond a single season, and they enrich the environment around them as valuable food and host sources for pollinators – even in containers.

Enjoy long-lasting containers up close in seating areas or in spots where they’ll brighten the garden. The ease of container gardening makes it accessible, space-accommodating, and portable. As gardeners, part of the excitement is experimenting with new plants and varieties. Have fun incorporating beautiful perennials in pots and containers to enliven any container design.

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