Container plants for sun

Most of us love to relax in the warmth of the sun, so it makes sense to decorate bright areas of the garden with pots and containers for sun.

All the pot and container ideas for sun in this section will thrive in a sunny locale – perfect if you have a south-facing garden or a sheltered courtyard. Some are also suited to windy conditions, where compost is prone to drying out, so look to these if you’re battling with an exposed plot, including coastal and higher altitude gardens. For more plants suited to exposed conditions, take a look at our top 10 plants for windy sites.

Discover beautiful container plants for full sun, for dazzling displays, below.


Curry plant, catmint and sea holly

The beautiful silver foliage of Helichrysum italicum softens the edge of this wooden planter, while the flowering plants (Eryngium variifolium and Nepeta x faassenii) provide height and interest at the back of the display. This is a tough combo that will withstand the elements, with the added bonus of fragrance.

Salvia, plectranthus and euphorbias

Restricting the colour palette to pink and silver gives this container a country feel with a contemporary twist. We used Salvia ‘Savannah Salmon Rose’, Plectranthus ‘Silver Shield’ and Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’. The plants will mingle as the season progresses, putting on a display until the first frosts. A pale terracotta pot completes the look.

Pelargoniums, petunias, lobelia and busy Lizzies

This haphazard mix of traditional summer bedding creates a display that will produce flowers for months on end. Aim for a range of shapes, colours and textures, and use a dark-glazed pot to let the blooms stand out. We went for dark red pelargonium, pink and purple petunia, dark pink busy Lizzie, violet trailing lobelia

Dianthus, verbena and fescue

Perennial blooms of Dianthus ‘Devon Dove’, Verbena rigida and an ornamental grass (Festuca glauca) make the perfect team in a display that’s tough and perfect for an exposed spot. Make sure all the flowers are a similar height for a thought-through feel, and consider using fragrant plants.

Bidens, coleus, tulbaghia and euphorbia

A dark terrazzo trough allows the yellow blooms of Bidens aurea and lime foliage of Coleus ‘Lime Wizard’ to really zing. Large leaves will make an impact, and create highlights of colour with a trailing plant that has intense, vibrant blooms. The other plants used are Tulbaghia violacea ‘Silver Lace' and Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’.

Fleabane, feathergrass and sea holly

Three tough perennials combine to create a pot that will hold its own in hot and windy conditions. Stipa tenuissima provides movement, while Erigeron karvinskianus will flower all summer. All plants can be transferred to the garden. We also used Eryngium variifolium.

Marguerites, feathergrass and pansies

This vibrant colour mix of container plants for full sun has a refreshing feel. Plenty of flowers, including Argyranthemum 'Madeira' and yellow pansy give it a pretty edge, and the ornamental grass (Stipa tenuissima) provides a textural backbone to the whole scheme. This display will last all summer, too.

Dahlia, pelargonium and verbena

A compact dahlia (Dahlia ‘Terracotta’) provides a big flower hit in this display and creates the centerpiece of the container. The interesting foliage and complementary blooms of Pelargonium ‘Occold Shield’ and Verbena ‘Peaches ‘n’ Cream’ accompany it, while a traditional terracotta pot completes the look.

Houseleeks, aloe vera, sempervivums and sedums

A contemporary metal container sets the tone for this display, creating a look that’s modern and sophisticated. Succulent plants are a major part of this look, ensuring the scheme needs very little maintenance during the summer. Aeonium arboreum ’Atropurpureum’ provides the backbone, while smaller succulents including Aloe vera, Sempervivum calcareum, Sedum spurium ‘Tricolour’, Aeonium arboreum and Sedum ‘Ruby Glow’ are planted around.

Looking to perk up shady spots in the garden? Our feature on container plants for shade is packed with ideas.


Discover more ideas and inspiration

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