Arrangement DIY Garden

Best Flowers for Window Boxes and Flower Planters

Whether you don’t have room for a full garden, you live in a cool climate and want to grow tropical flowers, or you’re trying to maximize every inch of outdoor (or indoor) space, container gardens can be an excellent way to showcase your favorite colorful flowers.

You may want to try tiered flower planters, window box containers, flower planters for businesses, custom or DIY flower containers, hanging pots, Tuscany urns, or another type of pot. Each kind of container gardening will be better suited for different flower types. If you think about it, planting tall blooms in the bottom of a tiered planter would block the view of higher tiers, while trailing plants may struggle to fill an urn without a larger focal plant in the middle.

As you plan which flowers to plant, be sure to factor in how much sun exposure the planter will get and choose blooms accordingly. For example, flowers that require full sun may not bloom well in partial shade and vice versa.

Here are our tips on the best container plants for various types of planters.

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Tiered Flower Planters

tiered garden filled with green plants and red flowers

If you’re short on square footage but have some height to spare, a tiered flower planter provides you with the space to showcase a variety of container flowers, meaning you can have a stunning summer display even if you have a small yard or live in an apartment.

While you can put tall plants in the top container row, choose short or trailing plants for the lower tiers.

The best flowers for tiered flower pots include:

  • Petunias
  • Hostas
  • Begonias
  • Bee balm
  • Salvia
  • Impatiens
  • Bleeding heart
  • Fuchsia
  • English ivy
  • Coneflower
  • Evening primrose
  • Geraniums

Window Box Planters

window box planter willed with a variety of flowers

Taking up minimal space and functioning indoors and out, window box containers are a must-have for any aspiring green thumb. When you’re choosing blossoms for your summer container garden, keep in mind the sun exposure requirements for each flower. A south or east-facing window box will be better for flowers that need full sun, while window box flowers facing north or west should prefer some shade.

Word to the wise: Make sure the box is securely fastened to your house, but leave an inch or two of breathing space so moisture doesn’t build up between the window box and the wall.

The top container garden flowers for window boxes vary depending on whether the pot is indoors or outdoors. You may prefer to keep sweet-smelling blossoms indoors while allowing vegetables and herbs to thrive outside.

Indoor Window Boxes

Who says window boxes need to stay outdoors? Not us! An indoor window box can be an excellent location for a container flower.

For plants that will live inside your home full-time, be sure to take flower fragrances into consideration when choosing container gardening flowers. Will the scents be overwhelming for visitors who are sensitive to them? Will the fragrances of the plants clash with each other?

Some ideas for plants for indoor window boxes include:

Outdoor Window Boxes

With outdoor window boxes, your options open up a little bit, but you should still try to choose plants that are not overly tall because they’ll block your view. While it’s nice to see flowers outside your window, you might want to be able to see beyond them, as well. Some of the best flowering plants for outdoor window boxes include:

  • Daffodils
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Lilies
  • Sage
  • Lettuce
  • Snowdrops
  • Alliums
  • Chives
  • Hyacinths
  • Kale
  • Dwarf gladiolus
  • Thyme
  • Marigolds
  • Mint

Flower Planters for Businesses

large brown stone planter filled with green foliage and red flowers

Plants for offices don’t need to remain indoors. Outdoor containers look excellent outside of businesses and help welcome visitors. Whether you choose showy blooms or simple filler plants, set the tone for your business with blooms like:

  • Astilbe
  • Portulaca
  • Dusty miller
  • Begonia
  • Speedwell
  • Pansies
  • Marigold
  • Coleus
  • Bee balm
  • Salvia
  • Morning glory
  • Statice
  • Bergenia
  • Lobelia
  • Maltese cross
  • Bleeding heart
  • Coreopsis
  • Hostas (miniature or dwarf)
  • Sweet alyssum
  • Nasturtium
  • Coneflower
  • Daylily hybrids
  • Snapdragon
  • Browallia
  • Petunias
  • Sweet pea
  • Fuchsia
  • Evening primrose

Custom and DIY Flower Planters

two-wheeled wooden wagon filled with a variety of flowers

If you’re the creative type, you probably don’t want to have the same planters as everybody else. And why should you, when you can create your own stunning planters! As long as you’re going through the effort of creating custom or DIY flower planters, make sure to choose thriller plants to complete the spectacular look.

Looking for some inspiration? Create planters out of unusual items, like:

  • Buckets or pails
  • Galvanized tub
  • Baskets
  • Kettles
  • Urns
  • Old watering cans
  • Wine barrel (cut in half)
  • Old boot
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Car tire
  • Wagon

Some of these planters may be too large to move inside when the weather changes, so consider your USDA growing zone when choosing the top garden container flowers for large summer containers.

Hanging Pots

bright pink flowers spilling out of hanging pots

Low on floor space? Hanging pots help you bring greenery to new heights, whether you keep them indoors or use them in an outdoor container garden. Creeping, top-heavy, or pendulous flowers work best in hanging planters, so they can be enjoyed even from below.

While you can plant some flowers in hanging containers in summer or fall, spring is the most popular time to plant blooms in hanging pots. Make sure the container has holes in the bottom so excess water can flow out, preventing root rot.

Some of the best flowers for hanging baskets include:

  • Begonia
  • Lotus vine
  • Portulaca
  • Lantana
  • Sweet alyssum
  • Fuchsia
  • Lobelia
  • Pelargonium
  • Petunia
  • Million bells

Stone and Metal Tuscany Urns

garden with a large concrete urn filled with green foliage

Still haven’t found stunning summer pots in a style you love? Check out stone or metal Tuscany urns. These unique outdoor pots lend an elegant touch to the exterior of your home. In addition to metal and stone, you can find plastic, fiberglass, and concrete urns.

Urns look best when you plant them with a variety of perennial and annual blooms with different textures and forms.

Keep in mind that urns may not have drainage holes, so you should fill the bottom with filler material, like gravel or packing peanuts, to absorb excess moisture and save you from using potting soil that won’t be used by the plants.

How much filler should you use? You’ll only need about 8 inches of soil and 1 inch of extra space at the top of the urn for flowering annuals. Perennials and some larger annuals may need deeper soil, so pay attention to the recommended soil depth for the flowers you choose. Anything below that can be filler.

Thanks to their large size, urns are excellent for combining plants of varying sizes. Choose a tall, upright plant for the center of the urn as a primary focal point, plant short filler plants around that, and add cascading plants around the edges of the urn.

After you’ve enjoyed the blooms all summer long, discard expired annuals and transplant perennials to your primary garden. You can either move the urns to storage or fill them with willow branches or another unique display material through the winter.

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