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Colorful summer containers for sunny spots

By: Garden Gate staff
It’s summer so you need colorful containers to dress up your deck or patio for those backyard parties with friends and family. Check out these container plantings that can take the heat and still look great.

Summer sunlight is intense, so you want colorful containers that are equal to its intensity and can take the added heat, too. These two bright plantings will do just that when you water regularly and supply a water-soluble plant food at quarter strength every week.

colorful-summer-container-ideas-canna-succulent-impations-verbena-lead: An easy way to design a container is to pick one main plant, like the canna here, and then build out from there, choosing plants that  descend in height down to the edges of the container.

Sensational summer container

Packed with bright jewel-toned flowers and lots of different flower shapes, this custom-built raised container is a show-stopper! It’s easy to care for, too, since you don’t have to bend to reach it. The planter is made of two plastic milk crates covered in sheet moss, then filled with potting mix. Wire and hot glue keep the sheet moss in place. You will want to choose a spot out of the wind to prevent this wire bench from being toppled over.

Planting plan


Plant list (number to plant)

A) Canna Canna indica Tropicanna® (1)
B) Angelonia Angelonia angustifolia Serenita® Purple (2)
C) Sweet alyssum Lobularia maritima ‘Snow Crystals’ (2)
D) Bidens Bidens ferulifolia (1)
E) Angelonia Angelonia angustifolia Serenita®White (2)
F) Impatiens Impatiens SunPatiens® Compact Magenta (2)
G) Verbena Verbena peruviana EnduraScape™ Red (1)
H) Basil Ocimum basilicum purpurascens ‘Red Rubin’ (1)
I) Black-eyed Susan Rudbeckia hirta ‘Tiger Eye’ (1)
J) Echeveria Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg’ (1)
K) Lobelia Lobelia erinus Techno® Heat Upright Blue (1)
L) Gaura Gaura lindheimeri Belleza™ Dark Pink (1)
M) Cape daisy Osteospermum ecklonis ‘Summertime Yellow’ (1)

Bench is 39 in. long × 16 in. wide

Container maintenance tips

  • Deadhead the angelonia, rudbeckia and cape daisy when the blooms start to fade and more will take their place.
  • The lobelia and alyssum may look a bit tired when it really gets hot but trim back any lanky stems and they’ll perk back up when things cool off in fall.

Overwintering canna and echeveria

When it’s time to put the container to bed for the year hang on to the canna and echeveria. Save canna tubers in a paper bag that’s stored in a cool dry spot that won’t freeze and put the echeveria in its own little pot. Put it in a sunny window for winter to grow again the following season.

Check out our list of 8 of the best container plants


Tropical colors for a sun-filled spot

Coleus and impatiens have traditionally been limited to the shade garden, but no more! This sun-loving coleus stays fairly compact, instead of overwhelming the container, while the Sunpatiens thrive in sun all day. Have you heard of petchoa? It's a hybrid of petunias and calibrachoas, offering loads of flowers bigger than calibrachoas but not as large as the bigger petunias all season on plants that are more heat-, wind- and rain-tolerant than either of its parents. These tough plants will take the heat and look great all through a long hot summer.

See our no-fail formula for designing beautiful containers

Planting plan


Plant list (number to plant)

A) Coleus Plectranthus PartyTime™ Lime (2)
B) New Guinea impatiens Impatiens SunPatiens® Compact Electric Orange (2)
C) Petchoa Petchoa SuperCal® Violet (2)

Container is 14 in. square

Container care tip

  • Wait until the potting mix is dry to water and be sure to water at the base of the plant to avoid causing the foliage or stems to rot.

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