These Are the Perfect Plants for Your Container Garden

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Local horticulturist and landscape designer Kate O’Keefe shares her favorite plants that are ideal for containers.

Kate O’Keefe knows her plants. She has a graduate degree in landscape design and is NOFA Organic Lawn Care Certified. Her business, Kate O’Keefe Design, does a lot of beautiful design installations in both Fairfield County and Westchester.

“Summer is the time we are all outside, enjoying the weather, patios, barbecues with friends, and I think we are all wanting lots of color in our lives,” says O’Keefe. “Container gardens are a great way to add some color.” Here, she shares five of her all-time-favorite container plants:

million bells

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Million bells (Calibrachoa hybrid) comes in a huge variety of colors and is great in almost any container. Its trailing habit makes it ideal for hanging baskets, bringing masses of blooms that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Another bonus: It requires no deadheading.


Verbena (Family Verbenaceae) is a great container plant for those sunny spots, because it blooms all summer long and into fall. It is a truly forgiving plant that is very drought-tolerant and loved by butterflies; regular deadheading will encourage more blooms. Like most flowering annuals, verbena likes to be fed every couple of weeks.


Angelonia (Angelonia augustifolia), with its upright habit, can be the main attraction in small containers, but in a large containers, it is a great supporting player.

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Caladium is the perfect plant to brighten up a shady spot in your summer garden or container. This plant is all about foliage, due to its insignificant flower. However, they don’t lack in color: The leaf colors come in a wide variety of white, pink, red, and green combinations. Most caladiums prefer shade, but there are new cultivars, such as Red Flash and Celebration, that grow in sun.


Fuchsia is a stunning plant for a hanging basket. I love this plant for its versatile nature, doing well in both shade and sun. If planted in shade, expect a longer, trailing stem; with sun, a more compact plant will be produced. Fuchsia is loved by hummingbirds for its tubular flowers and comes in a massive variety of colors.

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