8 Best Flowering Container Garden Plants for Sunny Areas

Enjoy a Huge Range of Colors All Summer

petunias in a container

The Spruce / Kara Riley 

If you have a sunny spot on your patio, deck, or porch or need an accent for a bright spot in your garden, a container garden is perfect for you. These flowering container garden plants are hard to kill and will thrive in container gardens in full sun. They are also lovely and common enough to easily find. Just because they are common, does not mean you cannot make them look spectacular in the right container. In this list you'll discover eight easy-to-find, colorful plants that can brighten up your outdoor environment.

best flowering container plants

The Spruce


Keep a close eye on the soil in your plant containers and check regularly to be sure they are not waterlogged. Be sure that all your containers drain well.

  • 01 of 08

    Million Bells (Calibrachoa hybrid)

    Red million bells

    Nadezhda Soboleva / Getty Images

    Million bells comes in many spectacular colors and look great in almost any container garden. The prolific blossoms attract hummingbirds and butterflies and will grow strong all summer with regular feeding. These plants do not need deadheading, but they do need consistent watering and good drainage. Million bells will grow well in almost any container.

    • Light: Full to partial sun
    • Water: Keep evenly moist
    • Color Varieties: White, yellow, orange, peach, red, and many shades of pink and purple; single, double, or ruffled blooms
  • 02 of 08

    Verbena (Family Verbenaceae)

    Verbena flowers

    AtWaG / Getty Images

    Verbena is a great container garden plant for the sun because it will flower all summer long and even into the fall. As a bonus, verbenas are great for attracting butterflies. These profuse bloomers are extremely forgiving and come in a wide range of colors. They are drought tolerant and only need an average amount of water. They do need good drainage and, like most flowering annuals, verbenas need to be fed every couple of weeks. Regular deadheading of faded blooms will keep your plants looking good and will encourage more blooms.

    • Light: Full sun
    • Water: Evenly moist; avoid waterlogging
    • Color Varieties: White, yellow, orange, peach, red, blue, pink, purple, violet, lavender, and bi-colors
  • 03 of 08

    Cape Daisy (Osteospermum)


    mtreasure / Getty Images

    Cape daisy is cheerful, forgiving (they are hardy to 25 degrees Fahrenheit), and come in a variety of handsome colors. Though the tags might say no deadheading is necessary, the plants certainly will look better if you deadhead faded blooms. If you fertilize your cape daisy plant regularly and make sure it has good drainage, it will last well into fall. If it starts getting leggy, cut it back.

    • Light: Full sun to partial shade
    • Water: Medium; avoid water logging
    • Color varieties: Shades of pink, purple, blue, yellow, orange, or pure white; many have a darker-colored contrasting eye
  • 04 of 08

    Browallia (Browallia speciosa)



    Masahiro Nakano/a.collectionRF / Getty Images

    This flowering plant has wonderful blossoms with a velvety texture, rich blue color, and contrasting center. Browallia, or bush violet, goes well with almost anything and its height, 12 to 14 inches, is great for use in the middle of a mixed container garden. Browallia is not fussy at all but needs protection from too much hot sun. Good drainage is important. With regular feeding, this profuse bloomer will go strong all summer long.

    • Light: Full sun to partial shade
    • Water: Water regularly; keep well-drained
    • Color Varieties: Deep blue, purple, or white
    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Pentas (Pentas lanceolata)

    Spring, summer planter boxes on home's front porch.
    fstop123 / Getty Images

    Pentas really stand out in container gardens. The clusters of star-shaped flowers are large and spectacular. Pentas, also called Egyptian star flowers, attract butterflies and hummingbirds, which love the dark pink and red varieties. They do not need much care and will thrive, once established, even through heat and drought. With regular feeding, good soil, and good drainage, your pentas should bloom until fall.

    • Light: Full to partial sun
    • Water: Water regularly but keep well-drained
    • Color Varieties: Pink, purple, white, and red
  • 06 of 08

    Petunias (Petunia x hybrida)


    The Spruce / Kara Riley 

    Petunias are easy to find, inexpensive, and come in a vast assortment of colors and sizes. Even better, newer varieties of petunias self-deadhead, which is great because deadheading petunias can take forever. They love lots of sun but do not love too much heat. Depending on your climate and average temperatures, you may need to give them some midday shade.

    • Light: Full to partial sun
    • Water: Moist but well-drained soil
    • Color Varieties: Any color ranging from white to black including bi-color; blooms can be single, double, or ruffled
  • 07 of 08

    Pansies and Violas (Viola spp.)


    The Spruce / Kara Riley  

    Pansies and violas are closely related annuals. Cool weather lovers, they will fade and become leggy when it gets too warm. Pinching off spent flower stalks will help violas and pansies to bloom continuously. Choose seedlings that are stocky and healthy, and avoid any that are wilted or dry. Pansies are sold in six packs, small pots or flats, and they might be root-bound. Make sure to tease apart the roots before you plant them. Pansies and violas are also rather easy to grow from seeds. You can start them indoors about 10 to 12 weeks before outdoor planting time.

    • Light: Full to partial sun
    • Water: Moist but not soggy, well-drained soil
    • Color Varieties: Any solid, bi-color or tri-color ranging from pure white to black; many have contrasting dark patches; combinations of yellow, blue, violet, and purple are very common colors
  • 08 of 08

    Cineraria (Pericallis × hybrida)

    Cineraria in terracota pots

    Gerry Whitmont / Getty Images 

    Cineraria is a perennial that's grown as a springtime annual in most areas. Available in many vibrant colors, Cineraria can flower for several weeks if conditions are cool enough, between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are growing Cineraria in a container, choose a large pot with plenty of good, moisture-retaining potting soil and locate the pot in partial shade. Like most heavy-flowering plants, Cinerama should be deadheaded and fertilized regularly.

    This mounding plant can be planted on its own or with a spiller plant, like creeping Jenny or sutera.

    • Light: Full to partial sun
    • Water: Keep moist but not soggy
    • Color Varieties: Cobalt blue, magenta, and many shades of pink and purple often having contrasting white centers

Watch Now: 8 Mistakes You're Making in Your Container Garden

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Townsend, Sara Begg., and Roanne Robbins. Continuous Container Gardens: Swap in the Plants of the Season to Create Fresh Designs Year-Round. Storey Pub., 2011

  2. Browallia. Cornell University

  3. Flowering Annuals for Georgia Gardens. University of Georgia Extension