Planters are a great way to add colour, shape and height to your garden or patio. We understand that sometimes it can be difficult to decide exactly what you want to put in your planters because of how versatile they are with hundreds of different plant options. 

So here are a few ideas on how to get those containers planted up!

pampas grass in oval planter

What do I put at the bottom of my planter?

Before you can consider what plants you’ll be adorning your planter or container garden with, it’s important to get the stuff under the plants right. This includes any extra drainage such as gravel, rubble or broken terracotta pots as well as the kind of compost you use.

One way to make or break your planter experience is if you don’t allow for enough drainage or if you use the wrong kind of compost for the plants you’ll be planting up. Read our guide on what to put in the bottom of a planter for drainage for more tips and tricks. 

Plants to put in your planter

The type of plants you adorn your planters with will often depend on the season and whether you’ll be placing your planter indoors or outdoors, as well as the size and type of the planter. You may be more of a greenery person or perhaps you’re more inclined to see stunning blooms with their vibrant petals.

Best blooms for planters

Some of the most beautiful plants live happily within a planter of almost any size and most of them also happen to be quite hardy and last in full bloom for a while.

  • Geraniums – easy to grow, colourful, and have a beautiful scent.
  • Begonias – add a vivid and colourful display with uniquely shaped petals.
  • Nemesia – with delicately frilled petals and available in a variety of colours.
  • Pansies/violas – a spring favourite for their colours and almost face-like features.
  • Shrub roses – with stunning scents and dainty petals, you can’t go wrong with a shrub rose in your planter!

Plants for all year round

We’ve compiled a list of some plants which are okay to plant all year round so that you can make the most of your planters and have a stunning display of varying foliage for 12 months of the year.

  • Euonymus plants – hardy, evergreen and attractive, a fantastic planter option for low maintenance.
  • Agapanthus plants – great for growing in containers, where they will flower all summer long.
  • Hosta plants – lush and verdant foliage perfect for a low maintenance garden.
  • Heuchera plants –  also called coral bells, are easy to grow evergreen perennials.

Plants for winter

There are also plenty of plants to plant up during winter, some of which are included in the year-round list above. A more comprehensive list can be found in our guide for ‘10 best container plants for winter’

Things to plant besides flowers

If flowers aren’t your thing, there’s plenty more you can pop in a planter that make great additions to your garden and can often be multi-purpose (such as herbs you can then use to garnish your cooking with!)

  • Vegetables – which you can grab in both seed and plant form to suit your needs.
  • Herbs – easy to create an edible garden on your own windowsill!

House plants – bringing the joy of gardening indoors to help fill those empty corners.

Other ways to use a planter

If you don’t feel like planting anything in your new planter yet/right now then you can always utilise it in other ways indoors or outdoors which will maximise your space without leaving empty planters or containers lying around.

  • Use them for storage – arrange an array of items within your planter and keep somewhere sheltered for an extra utility box of sorts.
  • Use to store beverages – fill with ice and throw in a few bottles or cans to keep handy during a garden party or barbecue.
  • Use as a makeshift table – whether placed upside down or right way up and covered with some wood, glass or a tray, planters can make the perfect tables.