Summer Pots

Summer is finally here and we are inundated with anything and everything we could possibly want for our pots…only problem? What goes where? What’s best for sun? Partial sun? Shade? Here are just a few ideas of plants and possibilities for your pots.

Anything that says full sun should have at least 6 hours of direct sun to help the plants perform at their best. Most plants will tell you pretty quickly if they are happy or not. Stretching and a lack of bloom is something that you will see in plants that are not getting enough light. Moving them to a sunnier location and giving them plenty of water and fertilizer will help them bloom more profusely. Conversely, plants that are getting too much sun will burn up and wilt in no short order….these are often harder to bring back to life! If you catch it early enough, just move it to a shady location and again….food and water.

Some good sun plants that can make a big bold statement are:

  • Datura (requires LOTS of water if in a sunny location)
  • Canna
  • Succulents
  • Angelonia
  • Banana
  • Lantana
  • Salvia
  • Purple Fountain Grass
  • Cosmo
  • Castor bean plant (all parts are poisonous)
  • Zinna
  • Cuphea
  • Nicotiana
  • Black Eyed Susan
  • Agapanthus
  • Leonotis


Most of these plants are fairly drought tolerant, but always keep in mind that a plant in a pot has nowhere to go for water or nutrients, so try to be consistent with your watering and feeding. Starting plants off with a good potting soil, the right light condition and a good regimen of feeding (Miracle Grow Bloom Booster is a good way to go for annuals) will keep them growing and blooming all summer.

For Shade pots try:

  • Chenille Vine/Plant
  • Begonia ‘Bellfire’
  • Coleus
  • Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’
  • Fuchsia ‘Autumnal e’
  • Fuchsia – Gartenmeister
  • New Guinea Impatience
  • Perilla
  • Talinum
  • Torenia
  • Elephant Ears
  • Caladium
  • Mondo Grass
  • Hellebore
  • Autumn Fern
  • Leucothoe
  • Brunnera

Most shade pots fare a bit better thru the summer months as they are not subject to the extreme heat and drought that full sun pots have to deal with. Popping in a few of the above plants to add some punch to the pot later in the season, often helps keep the pot looking fresh and last longer. Filling in some trailers like lobelia, creeping jenny or Chenille vine help fill in and any spots that need help. Again, feeding with a bloom booster will help keep the blossoms going well into the summer.

As the season winds down, there will be more chances again to change things up and get your pots ready for the fall/winter display.

And as to those confusing keys about Partial Sun/Partial Shade, here is a good guideline to help you determine what goes where.

FULL SUN = at lease 6hrs of sun a day.

PARTIAL SUN = Partial sun requires at least 3-6hrs of sun a day.

PARTIAL SHADE = Needs at least 3 hrs of sun but relief from the intense afternoon sun.

DAPPLED SUN = Understory or Woodland planting

FULL SHADE = Less than 3 hrs of sun during the day, but needs filtered sun thru the day.