Home & Garden Garden 22 Beautiful Patio Plants Anyone Can Grow You don't need a big space to have a gorgeous garden. By Stacy Tornio Stacy Tornio Writer University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee University of Oklahoma Stacy Tornio has authored more than 15 books about nature and gardening. She is a master gardener and master naturalist. Learn about our editorial process Published February 8, 2021 Treehugger / Autumn Wood Share Twitter Pinterest Email Home & Garden Planting Guides Indoor Gardening Urban Farms Insects Patios both big and small can make great spaces to grow a small garden — and you don’t need to be an expert grower to do so. All it takes is understanding your specific needs as well as what your patio can offer your plants. Want to grow veggies and herbs? What about plants that attract hummingbirds and butterflies? How much light does your outdoor area receive? While there's plenty to consider, the following list has you covered. Here are 22 gorgeous patio plants that are easy to grow and can beautifully upgrade the outer appearance of your home. Warning Some of the plants on this list are toxic for pets. For more information about the safety of specific plants, consult the ASPCA's searchable database. 1 of 22 Petunias (Petunia × atkinsiana) Studio Omg / EyeEm / Getty Images Petunias are won’t-let-you-down plants — they provide vibrance all season, come in a variety of colors, and are relatively low-maintenance options. Plant them in your favorite container and water regularly. Petunias are annuals, so you’ll replace them every year. But for a good challenge, try overwintering them. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun to part shade Water: Medium Soil: Moist, well-drained Zones: Annual or 10-11 2 of 22 Million bells (Calibrachoa) Mark R Coons / Getty Images These little blooms are reliable and showy in containers, giving you great color all season long. If you like to put together container “recipes” by mixing two or three plants together, million bells should definitely be on your list. They mix great with just about any plant, including sweet potato vine or ornamental grasses. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun Water: Medium Soil: Well-drained Zones: Annual or 9-11 3 of 22 Coleus (Plectranthus scutellariodes) sololos / Getty Images For those with shady patios, coleus won’t disappoint. Known for its gorgeous foliage due to its tropical roots, there are many coleus options on the market to choose from, and nearly all will thrive in the shade. Buy these plants while they're small because they'll grow plenty throughout the season. Plant Care Tips Light: Part to full shade Water: Medium Soil: Moist, loose Zones: Annual or 10-11 4 of 22 Caladium (Caladium) Kanchanalak Chanthaphun / EyeEm / Getty Images Also ideal for shady patios, caladium is native to Central and South America and can grow up to several feet high and wide, while its colorful leaves growing up to a foot in length. These plants grow from tubers, so at the end of the season, dig those up and save them for the next year. You can also try overwintering caladium as houseplants. Plant Care Tips Light: Partial to full shade Water: Medium Soil: Moist, rich, acidic Zones: Annual or 9-10 5 of 22 Cherry Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) Nicholas Kostin / Getty Images Pretty much any and all tomato plants can grow on the patio — you just need the right-sized container. Cherry tomatoes are particularly appealing for patios for their size and the ability to pick and eat them right there. Check out some container growing tips for tomatoes before purchasing seeds. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun Water: Medium Soil: Moist, well-draining Zones: Annual 6 of 22 Basil (Ocimum basilicum) Westend61 / Getty Images Basil is a must-have if you're the kind of person who wants to step outside and snip some fresh leaves for your Caprese salad or Margherita pizza. There are many different varieties of this plant, and it is another great option to try in a cold frame or herb kit in winter as well. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun Water: Medium Soil: Rich, well-draining Zones: Annual 7 of 22 Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) Geri Lavrov / Getty Images Spinach can be mixed in with your patio flowers or grown on their own. While it won't do that great in the strong heat of summer, spinach typically does well in spring, early summer, fall, and winter (with a greenhouse or cold frame). Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun to part shadeWater: Medium Soil: Rich, fertile, well-draining Zones: Annual 8 of 22 Zinnias (Zinnia) bgwalker / Getty Images Zinnias are a classic sign of summer. They come in all colors except brown and blue, and grow up to four feet tall. Easy to start from seed, zinnias are a favorite among butterflies and bees, so your patio will become a popular place among those flying insects. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun Water: Medium Soil: Moist, well-draining Zones: Annual 9 of 22 Strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa) Boris SV / Getty Images Strawberries offer more than delicious berries. They also provide great foliage in garden beds and on patios. Strawberry plants generally fall into one of two categories — Junebearing and everbearing. Junebearing plants produce one crop per year, often in spring, while everbearing plants produce a spring crop and continue offering berries into the summer and fall. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun Water: Medium Soil: Moist, well-drained Zones: 4-9 10 of 22 Fuchsia (Fuchsia) LordRunar / Getty Images You don’t find too many flowery plants that do well in shade, but fuchsias do. These dangling, bright purple and pinks flowers have been said to look like little dancers, and it’s not hard to see why. These are perhaps the most eye-catching annuals you can grow. Plant Care Tips Light: Part shade to full shade Water: Medium Soil: Rich, medium moisture Zones: Annual or 10-11 11 of 22 Begonias (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum) Elizabeth Fernandez / Getty Images Begonias are versatile annuals that thrive in a variety of light conditions. They have cool foliage (often bronze in colors) and flowers are white, pink, red or bicolor. Known for their ability to thrive in even the hottest conditions, they are forgiving if you forget to water from time to time. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun to part shadeWater: Medium Soil: Moist, well-drained Zones: Annual or 10-11 12 of 22 Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas) lzf / Getty Images At the beginning of the season, sweet potato vine might not look like much, but it’ll quickly grow up to 10 feet long. Its quick growth makes it perfect for a hanging basket or deck planters because it hangs down to add great visual interest. Look for this popular vine in bright green, black, or even multicolors. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun Water: Medium Soil: Average, well-drained Zones: Annual or 9-11 13 of 22 Oregon grape holly (Mahonia japonica) Masahiro Nakano/a.collectionRF / Getty Images If you want color in winter, your best patio options are going to be in the evergreen family. The Oregon grape holly is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to seven feet tall. It produces fragrant yellow flowers that bloom in late winter to early spring. Plant Care Tips Light: Part shade to full sun Water: Dry to medium Soil: Moist, well-drained Zones: 6-8 14 of 22 Eggplant (Solanum melongena) simonkr / Getty Images Not only can you harvest eggplant, which typically grows up to six fruits, but it also adds great visual interest in a pot or planter. Be aware that eggplant can be a little cold sensitive, so make sure the risk of frost has passed before you put it out on the patio. If cold is on its way, just bring it inside. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun Water: Medium Soil: Well-drained Zones: Annual 15 of 22 Cannas (Canna) Jacky Parker Photography / Getty Images Growing up to eight feet tall, cannas have tropical-looking flowers and foliage, making them a perfect option for framing a small patio space. There are great to group in beds or borders and can be effectively planted with both annuals and perennials. At the end of the season, dig up the rhizomes and overwinter them in a cool, dark place. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun Water: Medium Soil: Moist, well-drained Zones: 7-10 16 of 22 Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) Monika Nebel / EyeEm / Getty Images A low-maintenance, coarse perennial native to moist prairies, meadows, and open woods, purple coneflowers bloom in the summer and can easily grow in dry-to-medium, well-drained soil. These vibrant flowers attract birds, butterflies, and bees; the dead flower stems, in particular, can remain erect during winter, attracting goldfinches or other birds that feed on seeds if present. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun to part shade Water: Medium Soil: Well-drained Zones: 3-8 17 of 22 Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) Annie Otzen / Getty Images If you want to see more butterflies by your house, a milkweed plant on your patio can do just this. Swamp milkweed (pictured) is a clump-forming plant commonly found in swamps, river bottomlands, and wet meadows in Missouri. Great for low spots or other moist areas, swamp milkweed serves as a key food source for the larval stage of Monarch butterflies. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun Water: Medium to wet Soil: Wet to well-draining Zones: 3-6 18 of 22 Lantana (Lantana camara) stockcam / Getty Images Lantana blooms are small but come in bright and noticeable pinks, yellows, reds, purples, and even mixed colors on a single plant. They are native to the tropics and definitely have that look. These are popular plants to use in containers and when mixed with others. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun Water: Medium Soil: Well-drained Zones: Annual or 10-11 19 of 22 Geranium (Pelargonium × hortorum) Diana Haronis / Getty Images Geraniums are reliable, easy to grow, and even drought-resistant. They are popular for containers and hanging baskets and have a long bloom season from early spring into fall. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees all love geraniums, so they help bring more life into your garden, too. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun to part shadeWater: Medium Soil: Well-drained Zones: Annual or 10-11 20 of 22 Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum) shunyufan / Getty Images Chrysanthemums, commonly known as garden mums, are most popular in fall but can also thrive in spring and summer. They are considered short-day plants because their flowering response is triggered by the length of the days in late summer. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun Water: Medium Soil: Well-draining Zones: 5-9 21 of 22 Pansies (Viola × wittrockiana) RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images Resilient and easy to care for, pansies are an excellent choice for patios from spring through fall, whether you have sun or shade. They really do well for handling cold weather, which is why you’ll often see them at the beginning and end of the growing season. Pansies are available in multiple colors and can be bicolored. Grow them on their own or with other plants. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun to part shade Water: Medium Soil: Well-draining Zones: Annual 22 of 22 Elephant Ear (Colocasia) Cyndi Monaghan / Getty Images Elephant ear plants really live up to their name. The giant foliage can grow up to six feet wide and high. Grow it in a pot (a big one) to create a tropical space on your patio. At the end of the season, save the bulb to overwinter and try growing it next year. Plant Care Tips Light: Full sun to part shade Water: Medium to wet Soil: Fertile, rich soil Zones: 8-10 View Article Sources “Winter Sowing Annuals.” National Gardening Association. “Caladiums -- Classy, Colorful, and Carefree.” National Gardening Association. “How to Grow Tomatoes in Pots.” Bonnie Plants. “Basil Varieties.” National Gardening Association. “Mahonia Japonica.” Missouri Botanical Garden. “Echinacea Purpurea.” Missouri Botanical Garden. “Asclepias Incarnata.” Missouri Botanical Garden.