If you're looking for a quick and easy way to add a burst of colour to your garden, then a container packed full of plants is the perfect solution. And in the middle of summer, there's an abundance of options to bring fabulous flowers and foliage to your pots. Discover some of the best plants for glorious summer containers. Our choices include recommendations from the Gardeners' World team and familiar faces from across the gardening industry.


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The container pictured above, includes: Ocimum 'African Blue', Gomphostigma virgatum, Fuchsia 'Thalia', Salvia leucantha 'Midnight', Salvia coahuilensis, Cuphea caeciliae.


Purple zinnia, chosen by Arit Anderson
Zinnias come in a vivid variety of colours and have a long flowering season

Chosen by Arit Anderson, Gardeners' World presenter

This year I am hoping my seed-grown Zinnia elegans 'Benary’s Giant Purple' are going to pack a punch in my containers, giving me cut flowers and colour all the way through to October….fingers crossed!


Hebe chosen by Sue Kent
Hebes don't need rich soil and will tolerate drought, making smaller varieties ideal for pots

Chosen by Sue Kent, Gardeners' World presenter

In larger containers, as I can’t move the pot or change the plants with ease, I select evergreens for year-round interest. Choose a compact variety, such as Hebe ‘Caledonia’, which will not grow to more than 60cm in height and spread, making it ideal for a pot, and it has an abundance of small purple flowers blooming from spring to late summer and beyond if deadheaded regularly.

Cushion bush

Calocephalus chosen by Toby Buckland
This half-hardy shrub can survive over winter in a sheltered spot with good drainage

Chosen by Toby Buckland, Gardeners' World presenter

The Cushion Bush (Calocephalus brownie) is a must in my containers. It loves full sun, survives infrequent watering and the leaves are the colour of liquid silver. A perfect contrast to neighbouring flowers and greenery.

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Angel wing begonias

Angel wing begonia chosen by Flo Headlam
Angel wing begonias make great bedding plants or can be grown as house plants. Getty Photos

Chosen by Flo Headlam, Garden Rescue presenter

Every year I have a container of Angel wing begonias in my garden. I love the heart-shaped leaves and the blousey, garish coral or salmon coloured flowers that put on a show right up until the first frosts.

Erigeron karvinskianus

Erigeron karvinskianus is often used to soften brick steps or tucked in wall crevices
Erigeron karvinskianus is often used to soften brick steps or tucked in wall crevices

Chosen by Manoj Malde, garden designer

I love using Erigeron karvinskianus as it makes a great filler, gently draping over the edge of the container. The profusion of small, pretty, daisy like flowers, which are white in colour with a blush of pink, provide a long season of interest and I mix it with other perennials and grasses in a container.

Ocimum 'African Blue'

Ocium African Blue chosen by Adam Duxbury
This short-lived perennial can be overwintered with protection. It grows best in full sun

Chosen by Adam Duxbury, commissioning editor

Although basil might seem an unusual choice for a summer container, I think everyone should try growing this unusual herb in a mixed pot. Not only do you get delicious, highly aromatic leaves but, in summer, purple spires of flowers will shoot up. They make a lovely foil to other summer ornamentals and will be abuzz with pollinators too.

Agapanthus 'Arctic Star'

Agapanthus chosen by Cel Robertson
Agapanthus 'Arctic Star' has large white flowerheads above grey-green semi-evergreen foliage

Chosen by Cel Robertson, founder of Forever Green flower company

I’m not a huge fan of bedding plants in pots, but I do love a statement perennial in a container. Agapanthus are well suited to growing in pots, where they will thrive for many years. 'Arctic Star' is one of my favourite varieties; the white flowers always look fresh and cool at the height of summer.

Ipomoea 'Sweet Caroline Purple'

Ipomoea chosen by Isabelle Palmer
This tender evergreen can be trained to grow up a small trellis or allowed to trail

Chosen by Isabelle Palmer, The Balcony Gardener founder

I love the sumptuous, dark burgundy-purple foliage of this annual, and use it widely in my windowboxes. Its soft, trailing foliage finishes of the look wonderfully with a cascade of leaves. It also lightens to a softer hue in the summer sun with a metallic hue. It does flower, if the growing conditions are right, but I use it for the leaves.


Osteospermum chosen by Catherine Mansley
This tender perennial grows best in full sun – deadhead to keep the flowers coming

Chosen by Catherine Mansley, digital editor

Osteospermums will fill pots with large, vibrant flowers from June until October. I love the pink and purple-flowered varieties, but there are also yellow and orange ones, if you prefer. They make a great centrepiece in small pots or a striking filler plant in large containers. They are perennial, but need protection from frost.

Indian mint

Satureja douglasii chosen by Sinead Fenton
Satureja douglasii has a wonderful trailing habit and captivating fragrance

Chosen by Sinead Fenton, Aweside Farm manager

I love the way this variety drapes down just like an ivy plant, cascading in the most wonderful way. It is even more spectacular when it’s in flower – the dainty white flowers create a whimsical feel. It also has the most unique scent – fresh mint meets oregano; it’s a true delight.

Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis chosen by Jason Williams
The tall, slender stems of Verbena bonariensis combine well with ornamental grasses

Chosen by Jason Williams, creator of the Cloud Gardener blog

Plants for pots don't have to be small. I like to create focal points around my balcony by adding some height into larger containers – and Verbena bonariensis is perfect for doing just that.

Pelargonium tomentosum

Pelargonium chosen by Oliver Parsons
Scented leaf geraniums or pelargoniums make wonderful summer bedding plants but are not hardy

Chosen by Oliver Parsons, horticultural sub-editor

At its best growing en masse from the biggest terracotta pot you can find, as the amazing furry foliage will spill down beautifully. Not many pelargoniums do shade, but this one benefits from a little, and even sometimes a lot – certainly don't leave it in intense midday or afternoon sun for too long in summer or those huge leaves may curl up and wither in short order.