Summer wouldn’t be complete without some beautiful containers. Whatever look you’re going for, we’ve done the hard work for you, picking a mix of plants for sun and shade, in a range of different colours and planting styles.
Our selection mixes traditional bedding plants such as garvinea with perennials such as black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), achillea and penstemon, with grasses and foliage plants for extra interest. Take inspiration from our selection, below.
More summer gardening content:
- No Fuss Guide: planting a summer pot
- No Fuss Guide: feeding plants in summer
- Garden guide to summer watering
This fiery pot is perfect for a sunny spot.
- Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Emily McKenzie’
- Penstemon ‘Red Riding Hood’
- Rudbeckia fulgida ‘City Garden’
- Anemanthele lessoniana
- Libertia ixioides ‘Goldfinger’
This bright pot will thrive in a sunny position. The plants may not be fully hardy, so will need some protection over winter.
This meadow-inspired pot will do best in a sunny spot.
- Centranthus ruber
- Achillea ‘Terracotta’
- Salvia nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’
- Hordeum jubatum
- Linaria purpurea
- Geum ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’
This pot will attract bees and other pollinators.
- Achillea millefolium ‘Red Velvet’
- Malva sylvestris ‘Brave Heart’
- Penstemon ‘Pershore Pink Necklace’
- Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’
- Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Black Cat’
This planting combination will thrive in a shady area.
- Acer palmatum ‘Katsura’
- Tiarella ‘Iron Butterfly’
- Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Alba’ (Dicentra)
- Ivy (Hedera helix)
It wouldn’t be summer without some fragrance to fill the air.
Light and dark
Use a black container to contrast with the paler tones of these plants.
- Bidens ferulifolia
- Solenostemon ‘Lime Wizard’
- Tulbaghia violacea ‘Silver Lace’
- Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’
Shades of pink
Perfect for a sunny spot, this container is packed with shades of pink, purple and green.
- Canna ‘Phasion’
- Cosmos ‘Casanova Red’
- Nicotiana alata
- Solenostemon ‘Lime Wizard’
- Ipomoea ‘Black Tone’
- Begonia ‘Glowing Embers’
- Petunia ‘Bright Lights’
- Celosia caracas
Pink + white
This floaty combination will last for months on end.
- Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’
- Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’
- Diascia ‘Juliet Pink’
- Verbena ‘Aztec Silver Magic’
- Heucherella ‘Tapestry’
Move on up
Extend the interest vertically with climbing plants that flower along their length.
- Tropaeolum peregrinum
- Nemesia ‘Easter Bonnet’
Keep it simple
Planted in a rustic metal container, this bountiful lavender exudes south of France charm.
Fresh and formal
Planted in a wooden tub, this clipped box cone is ideal where formal containers are required.
Planted with sun-loving succulents, this pot is best sited in those hot spots of your garden.
- Hylotelephium ‘Pinky’
- Sedum ‘Blue Carpet’
- Saxifraga ‘Doctor Ramsey’
- Rhodanthemum ‘African Eyes’
- Sedum ‘Cape Blanco’
Brilliant for bees
Bees are especially attracted to purple and pink flowers, and this pot is brimming with them.
This cheery pot is filled with long-flowering daisies, complemented by glaucous brassica leaves.
Nicotianas are brilliant performers. This pared back pairing combines a red-brown and a green-flowered variety.
A mix of zinnias are a cheering sight in this pot, but they’re supported by beautiful veg and herbs that hide bare soil.
This refreshingly blue container is planted up with masses of cornflowers, direct-sown in early spring.
This three-plant blend will lend a relaxed, cottage garden feel to wherever you site it.
You don’t always need to pack a container with different to plants to make an impression. This robust pearlwort will positively sparkle all by itself.
- Sagina subulata
Keep the display going
Many of the plants shown here are perennials. Cut back after flowering and they should reappear next year. Alternatively, plant in the garden when the display is over.