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Low-Maintenance Outdoor Potted Plants for Your Patio or Garden

Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.

I love growing North American pitcher plants in containers to add interest to the garden.

I love growing North American pitcher plants in containers to add interest to the garden.

Large Outdoor Potted Plants (Easy and Pretty)

Today I want to tell you about some great low-maintenance plants for outdoor pots. The following all require full sun, and some may also require protection during the winter. But with the proper care, these specimens can survive outdoors year-round.

Stipa tenuissima, better known as Mexican feathergrass, is a lovely way to add texture to a garden border.

Stipa tenuissima, better known as Mexican feathergrass, is a lovely way to add texture to a garden border.

1. Low-Growing Grasses

Many low-growing grasses make excellent candidates for a pot. The annual squirrel grass (Hordeum jubatum) or the Mexican feathergrass (Stipa tenuissima) are my favorites.

Tips for Growing Grass in Containers

Choose a grass for your zone, but bear in mind that all potted plants are less hardy than ones grown in the ground, so you'll need to protect your pot in winter. Choose a pot with good drainage holes and mix a little horticultural sand or grit in with your soil.

Your grasses will need regular watering, but a lot less than flowering plants require. If you intend to grow your grass in a pot longer term, divide and replace the soil every two years.

Planting aeoniums in among your grasses is a lovely way to blend different textures.

Planting aeoniums in among your grasses is a lovely way to blend different textures.

Agave americana, 'Mediopicta Alba' (Century Plant) makes for a lovely outdoor container plant.

Agave americana, 'Mediopicta Alba' (Century Plant) makes for a lovely outdoor container plant.

2. Succulents (Aeonium and Agave)

Succulents like agaves or aeoniums make excellent low-maintenance pot plants. Bear in mind, though, that they nearly always require winter protection.

Tips for Growing Succulents in Pots

For best results, grow succulents in a clay pot using a cactus mix. They'll look superb as specimen plants or can even be placed in their pot in a flower bed.

Succulents don't need much watering, but in summers of high rainfall, you'll need to bring them under cover.

Pitcher plants are a gorgeous and unique addition to the garden.

Pitcher plants are a gorgeous and unique addition to the garden.

3. Pitcher Plants (Sarracenia)

Finally, for the adventurous among you, consider carnivorous plants like sarracenia for your pot displays. The North American pitcher plant provides interest from spring, with its unusual flowers, right through to late autumn when its handsome pitchers finally fade.

How to Grow Sarracenia in a Pot

Although low maintenance once established, you'll need to set these plants up correctly to start with, which is a bit fiddly, but it's something you only need to do once.

  1. Use a large, preferably plastic container with holes at the base.
  2. Pot your plants in the container in a mix of 50% peat and 50% horticultural sand or pearlite.
  3. Place your pot in a plastic saucer of rainwater and leave in a full sun position where it'll receive rain.
  4. Ensure the saucer always holds water because these bog plants should never dry out.
  5. Cut plants to the base in February to allow new growth to flourish (just like with regular perennial plants).

Most sarracenia should be hardy from zone 9 upwards, but if in doubt, offer winter protection.

Sarracenia close-up!

Sarracenia close-up!

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© 2022 Rachel Darlington