6 low-maintenance outdoor potted plants your patio needs

When warm weather hits, it’s hard to resist its call. Outdoor parties, barbecues, and dinner on the patio are all activities we love to take part in when the sun is out. Unfortunately, winter makes outdoor living spaces feel drab and dull. Bring life back to your patio with these easy-to-care-for potted plants. It doesn’t matter if you have a sun-blasted deck or a shady back patio; we’ve got you covered with plants for both situations. Create a stunning backdrop where you can host fun parties for your friends and family. 

Good in sun

Many of our favorite plants would wither up and die if exposed to the harsh sun all through the day. These plants are sun-loving beauties that thrive in full sun and are resistant to drought. 

marigolds with a butterfly

Marigolds

Marigolds are one of the most popular flowering plants to place in pots for front porches or back decks. It’s easy to see why with their bright yellow and orange blooms. Not only are they gorgeous flowers, but the care they require is almost effortless. They prefer to dry out between waterings, and they love full sun. You can deadhead your marigolds to extend bloom production throughout summer. Plant marigolds in well-draining soil and in a pot that’s about three-inches bigger than the root ball. 

Silver ponyfoot

Although this isn’t a flowering plant, silver ponyfoot is a delicate vining plant that cascades down hanging pots or the sides of a retaining wall. Their leaves are a silvery green color that will create a lovely backdrop for other more brightly colored plants such as the marigolds mentioned above. It grows quickly, is drought tolerant, and will thrive in full sun or partial shade. This waterfall plant is almost impossible to kill, but it won’t survive a harsh winter so must be brought indoors during the colder months. 

Geraniums

You’ve likely spent the evening with friends and seen geraniums hanging in city gardens or window boxes along your neighborhood streets. They are a trendy flowering plant that offers a wide range of colors, including white, red, coral, pink, purple, yellow, and blue. Part of their popularity is due to their durability against full sun and droughts. Optimally, geraniums prefer to dry out between waterings and will bloom heavily when fertilized every two weeks during the summer.

To encourage even more blooms, you can deadhead your geraniums and enjoy stunning colors all summer long. In early spring, you can repot geraniums into pots two to three inches bigger than their old pots to encourage growth. During the winter, the roots will need to dry out more often but not completely. They will go through a dormant season and then be back to blooming by springtime. 

Good in shade

While some plants struggle with too much sun, other outdoor spaces offer what appears to be too much shade. However, these three plants not only survive but thrive in the shade.

Begonias

These are a common plant to keep indoors; however, they also can be kept outside for a unique foliage backdrop. Many begonias also have stunning flowers, and some of them even resemble roses. Begonias like full shade, standard potting soil, and do not like to dry out between waterings. It’s best to keep the deep part of the soil damp and water the begonia when the top few inches are dry. They also love humidity, and if the outside humidity level drops below 10 percent, be sure to hose down the patio and spray the leaves with a heavy shower. When temperatures start to drop, bring them indoors until spring arrives once more. 

Caladium

This is another plant with striking leaves that are bound to please and shock your dinner guests. Caladiums can range from red center leaves with white rims to purple and green, and pink. They look so different you might get accused of having a fake plant! While some varieties are sun tolerant, they prefer full shade and high humidity. They like soil to be moist, but they don’t want to sit in water, so be sure to allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before giving it a good watering once more. When nighttime temperatures begin to drop below 60, it’s time to bring the caladium indoors for the winter. 

heucheras leaves

Heucheras 

Otherwise known as coral bells, heucheras are a hummingbird and butterfly magnet. So not only will you enjoy a beautiful plant, but you’ll also get some fantastic visitors as well! Coral bells do come in a fun coral color, but they also have red, white, pink, and orange varieties. Heucheras can survive in full sun, but they prefer partial shade and well-draining moist soil. Do not allow the soil to dry out between waterings, but wait for the soil on top to dry and then water thoroughly again. To fertilize, use a water-soluble fertilizer and be sure not to overdo it or you will inhibit its ability to bloom. 

You can’t go wrong with any of these uniquely beautiful plants. Choose your favorite or all six to bring color, intrigue, and even hummingbirds to your patio. These plants and their winged friends are sure to set the mood for a lovely outdoor party or date night  on the deck. 

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