Plant Your Own Dramatic Patio Planter!

Dramatic Patio Planter Post Cover

It’s time to raise your trowel and solemnly pledge that you will plant at least one exciting or dramatic patio planter this year. Petunias are pretty, Geraniums are showy, but aren’t you just a teensy bit tired of having the same old same old in your outdoor living space?

I know I am! I’m especially tired of  those spikes that are in every damn thing, so this is what I planted in the four 20″ planters on my deck instead.

Plant Your Own Dramatic Patio Planter!

Dramatic Patio Planter Plants

The Plants:

Fern after splitting

A) Kimberley Queen or Australian Sword Fern

I purchased one large Kimberley Queen fern and divided it into four plants, one for each planter, for some green. Ferns do well in shady spots outdoors, like the shade of the large maple tree that keeps my deck comfortable for the summer.

Peace LilyOr you could use a Peace Lily


Or an Anthurium

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B) Rubber Tree or Rubber Fig

Another Tropical house plant, I love the way the dark shiny leaves look in my planters. My only concern is it may grow too slowly to keep up with the rest of the plants over the summer, but let’s face it nothing grows very fast in the shade.

Elephant Ears

Or you could use one of these black and silver elephant ears

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C) Silver Spike Helychrysum

Sold as an annual for full sun, this is another gamble, at best my deck could be a part-sun area. Since it’s grown for foliage instead of flowers, I’m hoping it will prove me right this summer and behave itself. Or I could end up with a leggy mess.

You could also use Artemesia Silver Mound or a Calocephalus Silver Bush. These are still all full-sun plants, but I’m already stretching planter boundaries anyway. Live dangerously!

My inspiration for this planter actually came from a landscape planting I saw of Calocephalus Silver Tumbleweed paired with a black Ajuga. It was striking but Ajuga in the landscape is living too dangerously for me.

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D) Non Stop Mocca White Begonia

Hang around for a bit and you’ll find out Non Stop Begonias are one of my favorite plants and that I usually avoid white flowers. The brown marks on spent flowers are so much more visible on white. But – I received 3 of these as samples so free plants – obviously.

Or you could use any dark-leaved begonia in a color of your choice. A begonia matched with an Anthurium of the same color would look sweet!

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E) Polka Dot Plant

I wish I could use almost any other plant than polka dot plant here, but I haven’t found anything else with that much clear white in the foliage. If you’ve got a suggestion for an alternate plant be a pal and share in the comments.

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F) Tradescantia (Wandering Jew)

Another tropical house plant, tradescantia makes a really nice spiller in planters. I especially like this silver and green variety. You can bet I’ll over-winter some cuttings from these so they’re handy for next year.

The Planting Diagram:

Dramatic Patio Planter Planting Guide

Happy Gardening!

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Author: The Shade Gardener

Hi there! I'm Vanessa, the Shade Gardener. I live in a tiny little house in Ontario with my 2 grown boys, 2 dogs and a cat, where I do my best to grow plants in a heavily shaded yard and soil like cement. I am passionate about my family, my pets, MCM furniture and cheese. When I'm not in the garden I do a bit of crafting and sewing. Sometimes I build topiary animals from chicken wire for fun.