These container gardening tips will help you create stunning hanging baskets, windowsill gardens and potted plant areas no matter your available space!
Whether you’re planting for looks, growing for food, or a little bit of both, there are lots of plants that do well in containers and hanging baskets. Here are a few of our favorites that thrive in hanging baskets, perform best in full sun, or can tolerate various levels of shade. Choose a few of these and follow our container gardening tips to create a visually stunning and useful container garden.
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Hanging Basket Plants for Amazing Containers
There is very little that I enjoy more than spending time tending the plants in my garden. I’m blessed with plenty of space for growing in the ground but love to take advantage of containers to make use of other space around my patio, as well. Whether you have plenty of room to grow or if space is at a premium, hanging baskets and containers can be a wonderful way to grow beautiful and useful plants around your home.
Hanging baskets lift flowers off the ground and right to eye-level. This makes them valuable for curb appeal! So what do you look for in a great hanging basket plant?
- Look for trailing plants that cascade down the edges.
- Look for full plants that will fill the entire container.
- Look for combinations of plants that will contrast beautifully with each other in the hanging basket.
Here are some of my favorite hanging basket plants:
- Creeping Jenny – While Creeping Jenny has a tendency to take over when planted in a garden, keeping it managed in a hanging basket is a wonderful way to enjoy the gorgeous greenery and lovely yellow flowers of this easy to grow plant.
- Sweet Potato Vine – There are a couple of shades of sweet potato vine that you can add to your hanging baskets as a compliment to other plants and flowers. The vines cascade down the side for a stunning effect.
- Polka Dot Plants – Polka Dot Plants are another lovely plant to add to hanging baskets just for the visual effect of the foliage. Fill in gaps or have a brimming basket featuring just these pretty leaves.
- Fuschia – The color of the fuschia plant is something that pops out at you, as soon as it comes into view. It is perfect for attracting hummingbirds, plus the flowers are edible!
- Mums – The small flowers of the mum are a fall staple and are gorgeous pops of color as everything else is about to fade for the season. They are one of my favorite hanging basket plants
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The Best Container Plants for Full Sun
- Basil – Basil won’t start growing until the temperatures get warm enough but they will easily grow in full sun, if provided enough water. Don’t let them dry out or the flavor may become too sharp.
- Cannas – The tropical look of the Canna makes them a gorgeous, colorful addition to your garden, plus they are great for attracting pollinators. They thrive in sunlight but can overwinter in the house if needed.
- Corkscrew Rush – This gorgeous ornamental grass is just fun and makes a lovely addition to other plants to fill space in a container garden. They are perfect container plants for full sun.
- Dusty Miller – These are very hardy plants that do best with sunlight. Their white leaves make brightly colored flowers pop so are wonderful gap-fillers when placed with other plants in a container.
- Gerbera Daisies – Gerbera Daisies are one of those wonderful, colorful flowers that works so well with foliage plants in a container garden. These bright and cheery flowers thrive in the sunlight.
- Mandevilla – Use your deck railing or a trellis that is facing the sun to let Mandevilla grow and thrive. This bright, flowering vine will draw in hordes of hummingbirds, which are fun to watch as well as beneficial
- Peppers – When well watered, dwarf peppers make wonderful container plants. Even if you don’t have the space available to grow full plants in the garden, you can take advantage of these homegrown staples just about anywhere there is sunlight.
- Tomatoes – Though a little shade is okay for tomato plants, you’ll want to make sure that your tomatoes get at least 8 hours a day. Include a water reservoir and a mulch well when planting in a container to be sure that they don’t get too dry.
Which Container Plants Work for Shade?
- Basil – Basil thrives in containers and is a go-to in my kitchen for a plethora of reasons. Though the flavor tends to be more intense with sunlight, it still grows well in the shade as long as it’s warm enough.
- Begonias – These are wonderful edge plants with stunning flowers and foliage that are perfect to pair with other plants in a container.
- Mint – Mint loves to take over everything, so placing it into a container is a great way to enjoy the benefits of this beloved plant without that becoming an issue.
- New Guinea Impatiens – While in cooler climates, Impatiens can handle full sun, in most areas they thrive with a fair amount of shade each day. These hardy flowers and their foliage are a great visual addition to your container garden.
- Parsley – If you’re looking to fill in your container garden with something useful and attractive, curly leaved parsley is a great choice! Though this is another that can handle sun, shade is what helps parsley to thrive.
- Primrose – Primrose is simple to transplant and holds up well in many planting zones, so is a great choice when filling a container garden. It does well in shady spots, but does like to a bit of sun from time to time.
- Thyme – This ground cover grows well in containers and is also useful in the kitchen. These container plants for shade are perfect choice to help make your garden both beautiful and useful.
- Vinca – Vinca plants have beautiful flowers and make wonderful edge plants for a container garden. They love a bit of afternoon shade, so won’t need to be placed in a full sun area to grow and flourish.
Try a Garden Tower! If your gardening space is limited, you might love the vertical gardening planter, Garden Tower. Robust, roomy, and easy to set up and use, we love our Garden Tower!
Organic Container Garden Tips
Growing plants in a container garden is an easy way to grow a small space garden. But there are some considerations to make a container or raised-bed garden more successful you need to be aware of.
1 – Choose the right container.
If you choose a darker colored container, you’ll want to be aware of the moisture levels of the soil, as they often hold heat and dry out. Drainage is an important part of the picture when choosing a container. Make sure that water is not saturating the soil and “drowning” the roots of the plants.
2 – Take care when watering your container garden.
Thick leaved plants do not require as much water as those with thin leaves. Setting up a water reservoir for plants that need more moisture and using mulch can help regulate the moisture levels of the soil.
3 – Be sure to choose non-GMO heirloom varieties when selecting plants for your garden – especially for edibles.
I use non-GMO heirloom seeds when I’m growing my plants from seed and try to select organic, non-GMO plants from the nursery when I buy them already started. This gives you the best quality possible, especially with plants that you plan to feed your family. Use organic mulch and compost in your containers to ensure that your soil is nutrient rich and that your plants thrive.
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