Container Garden Ideas for Any Household

Photo: Helen Norman

Whether you want to fill yours with succulents or beautiful blooms, you'll love these creative container garden ideas, which allow you to make any space a little more green.

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Susie Cushner

Container gardening lets you explore your love of plants in a more manageable environment. No need to worry about weeds or varying pH levels of your soil—container gardening is oftentimes as easy as planting, watering, and enjoying the fruits of your labor. We're sharing easy-to-create container gardens to brighten every corner of your yard (and your home) from spring to fall.

Create a winter forest in miniature to enjoy all year long by potting low-maintenance dwarf conifers, like the ones pictured here. A galvanized steel planter adds a rustic touch to the simplistic, wintry scene that's sure to entice, and that's true whether you're a beginner gardener or a seasoned green thumb. Another winter-friendly container gardening option is to cultivate houseplants. Varieties like ferns and pileas do well indoors while adding dashes of green to windowsills and other surfaces of your home. Of course, you'll also find plenty of container garden ideas that work for the warmer, summer months, too. Plant a variety of springtime roses in small containers grouped together to put on a colorful show. Or, fill window boxes with pretty peonies from April through June for added intrigue.

If you already know the type of plant you'd like to add to your container garden, the next step is figuring out what type of home to give them. We're also sharing out-of-the-box planters you can use. From centerpiece-worthy upcycled china that's been passed down for generations, to faux bois planters from our founder's collection, you'll want to bookmark these container garden ideas to spruce up your space.

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Tropical Scene


Begonias make for a lovely tropical plant and feel right at home in a container garden.

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Window Boxes


A white window box with pink and purple flowers adds a dose of color to a minimalist home's exterior. Incorporate greens that play nice with the blooms and you have a stunning container garden idea.

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Lush and Low Maintenance


Succulents are striking, but many are small and low-growing, making them hard to appreciate when planted in the ground. Planting a mix of hardy hens and chicks (Sempervivum sp.) in a hanging sphere allows you to enjoy them in a new way. Work from a wire form with soil, then press individual plants into holes no deeper than their roots. Hang it securely (it will be heavy) in a place where the spiky silhouettes and varied textures and colors can be enjoyed up close. As new offsets form, they should be pinned to the surface with a bent paper clip or hairpin to preserve the tight, compact profile.

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Citrus Trees

potted plants for privacy
Getty / Westend61

Perfect for balmy climates but easy to move indoors in colder ones, this stunning lemon tree and surrounding greenery creates a container garden that brings a touch of the Mediterranean to any sunny spot.

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Shade-Friendly Ferns

boston fern hanging from porch
grbender / Getty

A Boston Fern, like this one, looks lovely on a porch or patio. Suspend a container from the ceiling to block out the sun and create a shady spot, or simply use them in a darker space for an easy to grow and care for plant.

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Nature-Inspired Planters

Martha Stewart Garden Faux Bois 14-inch Planter
Courtesy of Amazon

Plant anything from overflowing moss to classic English ivy in tree-inspired planters, like these Martha Stewart Faux Bois ones (from $35,

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Raised Garden Bed

VegTrug Trough Planter
Courtesy of Gardeners

A container garden doesn't have to be small. For those looking to plant multiple varieties of their favorites, a raised garden bed is a great way to dip into container gardening without keeping your options to a tiny planter.

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Unique Shapes

Anna Müller / Getty Images

A favorite houseplant for a reason, adding a pilea plant to your container garden not only adds intrigue through its unique shaped leaves, but it's also easy to care for—making it just the thing to add to your home.

  • Why Pilea Will Be the Next Trending Houseplant
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Charming Fern Container


Old-fashioned enamel milk pails, available at flea markets and farm-supply stores, have a rustic charm. Place sword ferns (Nephrolepis obliterata 'Kimberly Queen') or similar plants in 10-inch pots inside large buckets (left); consider ferns in four- to eight-inch pots for smaller pails. If the bucket is too deep, put an upturned plastic pot inside, and stand the plant on top. Remove plant to water.

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Informal Arrangement


A selection of three plants makes for just the right amount of variety; the arrangement feels balanced without being uniform or overly formal. Easy-to-grow coleus, fuchsia, and moneywort create a rich palette in an attractive bronze-colored base. Religious Radish Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Religious Radish'), Coralle Fuchsia (Fuchsia 'Coralle'), and Golden Moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia Aurea) make their presence known, too.

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Tropical Trio


Tropical plants shoot orange and blue flares, framed by pale-green ferns and an understated pot. Kimberly Queen Fern (Nephrolepis obliterata 'Kimberly Queen'), Amethyst Flower (Browallia Americana), and Bonfire Begonia (Begonia 'Bonfire') look lovely together.

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Window Wonder


A wooden window box anchors this planting without detracting from the delicate leaves and flowers. Aaron Caladium (Caladium 'Aaron'); Diamond Frost Euphorbia (Euphorbia hypericifolia 'Diamond Frost'); and Wishbone Flower (Torenia Summer Wave Blue) come together for a beautiful container garden idea.

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A Touch of Texture


Textural contrast adds life to this mostly monochromatic display, showing off shades of copper. Copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana 'Haleakala'), Toffee Twist Sedge (Carex flagellifera 'Toffee Twist'), and Sweet Caroline Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Sweet Caroline Bronze') live harmoniously in this container garden.

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Outdoor Hanging Planter


Instead of the usual sphagnum moss or coconut fiber, line a hanging planter with canna or hosta leaves. Choose large, thick leaves from your garden or florist, and overlap them a few times to create a supportive base. Plant cascading annuals, such as these sun-loving Calibrachoa, and enjoy the sight of them brimming out of a better-looking basket. Though the leaves will eventually brown, they will become obstructed from view as the colorful annuals trail toward the ground.

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Full of Surprises


All curves, spikes, and colors, this arrangement is set off perfectly by a traditional pot. Red Sensation Cordyline (Cordyline Australis 'Red Sensation'), Zinfandel Oxalis (Oxalis Vulcanicola 'Zinfandel'), and Vancouver Centennial Geranium (Pelargonium 'Vancouver Centennial') compete for space in this container garden.

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Modern Planter

Helen Norman

Steel utility boxes from the hardware store make sleek, modern containers. Choose a range of shapes and sizes. Turn so that the side with holes is at the bottom, and plant with low-growing succulents, such as Echeveria 'Black Prince' (left) and Sempervivum; top with gravel. (We used No. 2 grade grit.) For an exotic centerpiece, arrange several in a tray filled with grit.

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Tower of Herbs


Don't miss out on fresh herbs (or pay a lot for them at the market) just because you don't have a big yard. Situate this compact herb garden in a sunny spot near the kitchen door for easy snipping.

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Silver Serenity


Silver-edged fleeceflower and silver-white trailing dichondra are set off by dark-green flax and an unobtrusive textured gray pot. New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax), Red Dragon Fleeceflower (Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon'), and Silver Falls Dichondra (Dichondra argentea 'Silver Falls') make for an intriguing display.

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Rooftop Oasis


This garden, 19 stories above a New York City street, would also be at home on a suburban deck or patio. It has all the trappings of its more earthbound relatives: formal, architectural elements (a pair of juniper 'Skyrocket'), fine-textured shrubs (hakuro nishiki willow and variegated redtwig dogwood), a big fountain of four maiden grass 'Morning Light,' and a generous sprinkling of annuals and perennials. The combination of evergreen and deciduous, woody and herbaceous plants provides year-round interest and structure.

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Upcycled Planters

china soup tureen reused as planter
Ashley Poskin

Whether you'd like to make use of your mother's favorite china patterns or simply want a unique DIY, create a small container garden with multiple upcycled planters, like these.

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Pumpkin Display

pumpkin succulents

This simple and beautiful DIY makes for a great low-maintenance container garden idea. Fill small pumpkins with some succulent potting mix and your favorite succulent for a fun display.

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Vining Plants

wrapped leather plant hanger
Johnny Fogg

Take advantage of hanging planters by showing off your favorite vining plants. Placed indoors or out—some English ivy or pothos plants are sure to wow.

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Water Garden


Creating a container water garden is one of many cool ways to beat the summer heat. These plants need sun, but they don't require soil because they get their nutrients from water.

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