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Tabletop Planter Ideas

By: Sherri RibbeySherri Ribbey
These tabletop planters may be small, but their colorful flowers and foliage can make a big impact on your outdoor living area.

Spring tabletop planter: Spring tabletop planters ensure that you won't miss out on the show — it's easy to pull this pot indoors if a late frost threatens.

Grow a better tabletop planter

Because tabletop containers rest on surfaces that are meant for more than just propping up plants, there’s a little more to consider when putting one together. Here are a few simple tips to help you design a container perfectly suited for your table.

Proportion is key

The number one rule for tabletop planters is to use plants and containers that aren't too tall to see over. You don’t want to block the view of the others seated at the table. Matching the height of the plants to the height of the container makes pleasing proportions.

Don’t forget the details

These are containers you’re going to be able to see up close so plants with dainty flowers and fine foliage really get a chance to shine. Opt for two to four repeated plants, to help make sure your tabletop planter looks pretty from all angles. That way no matter where you sit, you’ll have a good view.

Think about the maintenance

Because the plants are so close, it's easier to spot the small imperfections, so choose low-maintenance varieties that are self-cleaning or need little deadheading. Have a plan for watering: Use saucers or remove the container from the table before watering to prevent any water stains.

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Spring tabletop planter aerial view: Since this planter lives on a tabletop it's good to make sure it looks great from all angles, even above!

Pretty & petite tabletop planter

Some of the daintiest spring flowers are so small and sweet they’re easy to miss. The Scotch moss in this combo is usually found creeping through stones in a walkway or even as a lawn alternative. But the speckling of small, white, early spring flowers is impossible to observe from these spots. A tabletop container elevates the Scotch moss to eye level for a lush and lively setting. Scotch moss and forget-me-nots need moist but well-drained soil; water when the top inch of soil feels dry. A few small stones here and there make a great texture contrast.

Forget-me-not flowers are a favorite of early spring pollinators, so you might even get a visitor or two while seated at your table. This container needs part sun in early spring, but as the days get hotter, heavier afternoon shade will help extend their life.

spring tabletop container lettered planting plan

Plant list (number to plant)

A) Scotch moss Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’ (2)
B) English daisy Bellis perennis Bellissima Rose Bicolor (2)
C) Forget-me-not Myosotis sylvatica ‘Ultramarine’ (2)
D) Twinspur Diascia Sundiascia® Peach (1)
Container is 12 inches in diameter

Tabletop planter with polka dot plant and begonia: Bring light to a shady seating area by choosing flowers or foliage in pastel shades or white.

Tabletop planter for a shady spot

You may have seen all of these plants at the florist or in a grocery store display. But that doesn’t mean they’re just houseplants. You can grow them in a shady spot outdoors, as well. Rieger begonia continues to bloom all summer, and kalanchoe will blossom a second time after the first flush is deadheaded. Zebra plant’s yellow flower is icing on the cake of this striking plant, but pinch it off when it begins to turn brown and you won’t even miss it — you’ll be looking at the contrasting white venation on the shiny dark leaves. Pinch polka dot plant often to keep it compact and full of white-speckled leaves.

shady tabletop planter lettered planting plan

Plant list (number to plant)

A) Zebra plant Aphelandra squarrosa (1)
B) Kalanchoe Kalanchoe blossfeldiana (1)
C) Polka dot plant Hypoestes phyllostachya (1)
D) Rieger begonia Begonia x hiemalis (1)

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Tabletop planter with herbs and flowers: Tabletop planters are the perfect place to grow plants with scented foliage — just run your hand through the leaves and enjoy!

Mix flowers & herbs

Brush your hand through the foliage in this tabletop planter and inhale. You’ll be rewarded with soft herbal scents from lemon thyme and tricolor sage. Don’t be afraid to snip an occasional stem or leaves for your kitchen. ‘Kent Beauty’ ornamental oregano isn’t used for cooking, but its papery flowers can be dried easily for arrangements. Keep this drought-tolerant planting in full sun and go easy on the watering or the roots may rot.

flowers & herbs tabletop container lettered planting plan

Plant list (number to plant)

A) Ornamental oregano Origanum rotundifolium ‘Kent Beauty’(1)
B) Cape daisy Osteospermum eklonis FlowerPower Purple Red(1)
C) Mexican heather Cuphea hyssopifolia (1)
D) Tricolor sage Salvia officinalis ‘Tricolor’ (1)
E) Sedum Sedum sieboldii (1)
F) Lemon thyme Thymus citriodorus (1)
G) Calibrachoa Calibrachoa Million Bells® Trailing Yellow (1)
Container is 12 in. square

Tabletop planter with vinca and globe amaranth: Both globe amaranth and vinca thrive in the heat of full sun and tolerate drying out a bit between watering.

Playful pairing

There are only two plants in this terra-cotta bowl, but that’s enough to be the center of attention for months for a tabletop planting. An underplanting of white vinca is perfect to set off the playful orbs springing from the globe amaranth. Make sure your planting partners share the same growing needs. Both globe amaranth and vinca thrive in the heat of full sun and tolerate drying out a bit between watering.

Cut flower tip

Those sweet, round globe amaranth blooms make a long-lasting cut flower for bouquets and even better dried flower — just cut a stem when the blossom is fully opened and hang it upside down in a dark, dry spot for about three weeks.

gomphrena and vinca tabletop planter planting plan

Plant list (number to plant)

A) Vinca Catharanthus roseus Vitalia White (4)
B) Globe amaranth Gomphrena globosa ‘Ping Pong Purple’ (1)
Container is 14 in. in diameter

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