30 Flowering Container Garden Ideas

Fuchsia, pink and white tulips in spring garden container closeup

The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong

Containers of flowers and other plants can add color and beauty to the landscape. And there are many container garden ideas to suit any property, from tiny balconies to expansive lawns. In fact, container gardening is perfect for those who don’t have much garden space but still want to flex their green thumb. You can use as many or as few containers as you wish and size them accordingly to your space. Plus, you can plant in hanging containers or groups of coordinating containers to create a custom look for your garden.

Here are 30 container garden ideas to add some color to your landscape.

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    Containers of Spring Bulbs

    spring bulbs in bloom in containers
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    Planting spring bulbs is a no-brainer when it comes to container garden ideas. Add soil and bulbs, such as hyacinths and tulips, in the fall to your containers. And store the containers in a sheltered area, such as a garage. Then, move them outdoors in the spring once green shoots appear, and get ready to enjoy some spring flowers.

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    Seat With a Garden View

    Adirondack garden chair among containers of flowers
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    Create a beautiful garden retreat in a snap by surrounding outdoor seating with a container garden. Petunias, geraniums, and zinnias will yield similar results to this flower patch. But don't hesitate to choose your favorites. Aim to pick some fragrant flowers to enjoy as you sit.

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    Colorful Side Yard

    Side yard garden
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    Is your side yard a neglected passageway without an actual garden bed? Fill it with cheerful tulips, pansies, and forget-me-nots in containers. Or consider low-maintenance wax begonias, which tolerate the shady conditions many side yards experience. 

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    Big Containers

    large containers with flowers in a garden
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    A modest front yard can turn into something magnificent with the addition of oversized pots. Grow inexpensive blooms, such as these impatiens and begonias, and invest in large, high-quality, freeze-proof and rodent-proof containers made of metal or stone. Fiberglass and wood are less durable but still weather resistant. Ceramic or terracotta pots are safe choices if you live in frost-free areas.

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    Tiered Garden

    Tiered container garden
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    If you find yourself overwhelmed with a hodgepodge of small flowerpots, arrange them in a tier to coax design out of mayhem. Hundreds of tiny flowers from plants such as lobelia, fleabane daisy, or verbena will yield a cloud-like effect. You can use an existing garden wall to create your tiers, or simply stack flowerpots on overturned empty pots.

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    Vertical Container Garden

    Vertical garden of rectangular containers
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    Vertical gardening is a hot trend that doesn't show any signs of slowing, especially for small properties that require space-saving landscaping. And it doesn't take much to achieve an appealing design. Inexpensive brackets and plastic window boxes can look stylish and modern when arranged on a privacy fence or wall.

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    Flowering Boots

    rain boots with flowers in them
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    A flowering shoe planter will always be one of the most charming container garden ideas. Check local thrift stores for rain boots, work boots, or cowboy boots that have lost their comfort but not their utility. Drill a few drainage holes into the base. Then, fill them with soil and your favorite flowers.

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    Flowering Vines

    Container vines
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    A solid recipe for any successful container garden includes a tall plant (a thriller), a mounding plant (a filler), and a trailing plant (a spiller). Flowering vines can stand in for tall specimens when given a trellis or other support structure to cling to. Plant small annual vines that won't grow out of bounds, such as 'Minibar Rose' morning glory

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    Temporary Outdoor Orchids

    Orchid container garden
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    If you have had problems getting your orchids to rebloom, try giving them an outdoor vacation. The higher humidity and bright filtered sunlight that accompany the summer months of many areas might be just what the plant doctor ordered to trigger a new blooming cycle. Plus, you'll get to enjoy your plants grouped together in a container garden. Just make sure to bring them back inside before the weather turns cold.

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    Wheelbarrow Planter

    Wheelbarrow used as a planter
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    Giving new life to an old wheelbarrow by turning it into a flowering container has several benefits. For one, you'll be keeping the wheelbarrow out of a landfill. And you'll be able to easily move your plants for better light conditions, to shelter them from severe storms or unexpected frosts, and more. Plus, a wheelbarrow is a container that fits right into a garden setting.

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    Homemade Planter Scarecrow

    Scarecrow made of pots
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    It can be difficult to find beauty in a stack of cheap plastic pots. But turning them into a plantable scarecrow is one sure way to extract some life from these garden center staples. Get creative with this container garden idea to make some inexpensive art for your landscape.

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    Rustic Garden Containers

    Whisky barrel planters
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    To follow the rustic garden trend, utilize wood containers such as whiskey barrels. Wood crates and shipping pallets are also easy to repurpose as planters. Wood does have a shorter lifespan than ceramic or metal containers. But you can extend the life of your wood by raising the containers off the ground to speed drying and prevent rot. 

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    Beach Container Garden

    Beach container garden
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    A container garden might be the only option for thriving flowers in a coastal community where soil is scarce or nonexistent. Choose flowers that tolerate salt spray and wind, including blanket flower, lantana, rugosa rose, or portulaca. Also, be aware of the plants' light requirements. If you don't have much shade, make sure they can tolerate strong afternoon sun.

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    Tabletop Container Garden

    If you only have balcony or deck space for your flowers, consider planting a tabletop container garden. Group small pots on your outdoor dining or side tables with plants that remain petite. You don't want tall plants impeding your view across the table. Likewise, avoid any trailing plants that will encroach on table surface space.

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    Hanging Planters

    One of the best container garden ideas for limited ground space is the use of hanging planters. Attach hooks to your house, or use a shepherd's hook that goes in the ground. Then, hang planters with your favorite flowers. This is a great spot to use plant species that spill over the sides of their containers, creating a lush garden effect.

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    Shade Garden

    A deck with an overhang or a shady spot on your lawn is the perfect place for a shade container garden. Many blooming plants, such as primrose and Virginia bluebells, prefer either partial or full shade. And if you don't find the right light conditions for your plants at first, you always can move the containers. 

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    Fragrant Container Garden

    Picking flowers for their appearance is one way to fill your containers. But another container garden idea is to select flowers based on their fragrance. Choose plants whose scents you find pleasant and work well together. Then, aim to situate your container garden by an outdoor seating area or windows you open often to enjoy the fragrance.

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    Herb Container Garden

    An herb container garden is both beautiful and functional. Many herbs enjoy similar growing conditions, including lots of sun and well-drained soil, so you can easily plant mixed containers for the same growing spot. Choose herbs you like to cook with, as well as ones that are known for their beautiful blooms, such as lavender

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    Color-Coordinated Garden

    For a cohesive design in your container garden, select different species of flowers that bloom in similar colors. For instance, some red petunias and impatiens would look gorgeous together. Even if you use different sizes and shapes of containers, your garden will still appear coordinated.

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    Railing Containers

    Like hanging planters, railing containers won't take up any ground space, making them perfect for small balconies, porches, or decks. They also make watering and tending to your flower garden especially easy, as they're usually only steps from your home. Choose plants that spill over the edges of the containers for a lush look, or pick small upright flowers to keep things neat.

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    Garden Bench

    If you have an old garden bench that's too worn and uncomfortable to sit on, turn it into a platform for your container garden. Like a wheelbarrow planter, a cute wooden bench will look perfectly at home in a garden setting. And it's prime real estate on which to group containers. Plus, raising the containers off the ground might make them less susceptible to garden pests, such as rabbits.

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    Tropical Container Garden

    Unless you live in a tropical climate, you won't be able to grow tropical plants year-round outdoors. However, you might be able to grow them outside for part of the year in containers and then bring them indoors for the winter. Many tropical flowers require bright light, warmth, and fairly high humidity. So if you can provide these elements, you can create a lush container garden that's your very own tropical oasis.

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    Showy Flowers

    Make every plant count in your container garden by going big. Especially if you're not able to have lots of containers, you still can make a statement with flowers that have notoriously large blooms. For instance, consider a container of geraniums, which produce blooms that can stretch 4 inches across. Or choose a rose variety for its showy flowers. 

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    Perennials With Annuals

    Flowers don't bloom forever. And many plants lose their appeal when they're not in bloom, with the foliage degrading or the plant even dying. So a useful container garden idea is to mix perennial with annual plants. That way, some will remain attractive and live into the next growing season while others will complete their life cycle in one growing season. If you want your containers to remain attractive year-round, plant an evergreen species with annual flowers. 

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    Urn Garden

    An easy way to create a classic and stylish container garden is to use urn planters instead of traditional pots. Decorative stone urns are like sculptures for the garden. And plants with beautiful foliage and flowers will bring texture and softness to them. Urns also are the perfect containers to mix tall plants with ones that spill over the edges for a truly show-stopping look. 

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    Ground Covers in Containers

    Ground cover plants aren't just for the ground. In fact, growing them in containers is ideal if you want to limit their spread. Many ground cover plants don't have a deep root system, so they can easily thrive in a container. Creeping phlox is a great option that will spill with its many flowers over the edges of a container. 

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    Mixed Succulents

    One of the easiest container garden ideas for a sunny, warm, and dry climate is mixed succulents. As long as your containers have good drainage, you will likely have success growing succulents. Just make sure the plants you choose to group have similar light and water needs. Otherwise, you can't really go wrong with a collection of succulents in fun colors and textures, some of which will even send up flowers. 

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    Gorgeous Grasses

    While ornamental grasses are mostly grown for their foliage, some species do put on floral displays as well. And many species do well as the upright "thriller" plants in container gardens. They also will lend a little privacy to a deck or balcony thanks to their lush foliage.

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    Flowering Shrubs

    While many flowering shrub species grow too big for container plantings, some do remain small enough for a large container; others can be kept in a container for a few growing seasons before they are eventually transplanted in the ground. Look for dwarf or miniature shrub varieties for the best results. 

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    Staggered Flowering

    Some plants, such as daffodils, bloom in the early spring while others, such as black-eyed Susan, don't show their flowers until the summertime and even into fall. So for a container garden that provides visual interest for the full growing season, select plants with staggered bloom times. As long as they have similar growing requirements, they should thrive in a grouping.