With so many patio plants out there, it’s hard to find the perfect one for your outdoor space. That’s where this guide comes in handy. Below you’ll learn about the best patio plants to add to your backyard oasis.
From ferns to flowers, hostas to lettuces, let this comprehensive guide help you discover the next botanical addition to your patio.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall Patio Plant:
Runner Up Best Patio Plant:
Best Budget Patio Plant:
Dwarf Zinnia Mix
1. Patriot Hosta
The Patriot hosta is a classic All-American plant with signature heart-shaped leaves with white edges. You’ll notice a glossy quality on the foliage that glimmers in the sunlight.
This stunner is one of the best patio plants for a reason. The leaves alone are a selling point, but in mid-summer, you’ll discover tall stems that produce bright lavender flowers. These blooms produce a bright pop of color and attract butterflies.
This variety is low-maintenance and perfect for shady spots in your backyard. Still, you’ll want to make sure this plant receives some sunlight to bring out the best colors in the leaves.
Try to position this plant in a spot that receives gentle morning sun and ensure it receives proper watering since the Patriot hosta thrives in moist soil.
- Low care
- Flourishes in partial shade
- Beautiful leaves
- Requires attentive watering
2. Ostrich Fern
Ferns are renowned for thriving in shady conditions, and this variety is no exception. The Ostrich fern is the perfect plant for livening up that dreary corner of your patio.
Who wouldn’t appreciate the whispy, vase-shaped leaf reminiscent of ostrich feathers? The delicate texture of this plant adds visual interest to your garden or deck.
The Ostrich fern originated in North America, so it’s suitable for cooler climates. This plant is tough, durable, and can handle early spring frost without a problem.
Ferns love cool, damp soil, so this variety wouldn’t bode well in a hot, dry climate. You’ll also want to make sure this variety receives ample watering.
As long as you keep the soil moist, your Ostrich fern will flourish for many months. This variety’s ease and simplicity place it second on our list of the best patio plants.
- Thrives in shade
- Very easy to maintain
- Needs a cool, moist environment
- Lacks color
- No blooms
3. Dwarf Zinnia Mix
Dwarf zinnias are easy to grow and provide a long-lasting display of flowers. They’re great for decorating boxes or baskets and brightening patios, decks, and walkways.
This plant is fast-growing with impressive vitality. If you add this floral beauty to your backyard display, you can expect fresh blooms all season long.
This mix contains various Dwarf zinnia seeds resulting in a medley of pink, red, purple, orange, white, and yellow blossoms.
To make this flower even more enticing, Dwarf zinnias also attract butterflies, so you can enjoy spotting these colorful creatures while lounging on your patio.
- Fast growing
- Ideal for pots and containers
- Beautiful multi-color blooms
- Heat tolerant
- Only seasonal and can’t be brought indoors
- Not suitable for shady areas
4. Amarillo Gold Rudbeckia
The Amarillo Gold rudbeckia is a beautiful, hardy perennial that will grow 12-16? tall. The short, sturdy stems make this plant structurally sound, with the ability to survive temperamental weather.
The deep, golden blossoms add beauty to your patio and attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. This remarkable plant blooms all throughout summer and into early fall.
The Amarillo Gold rudbeckia thrives in the ground and in containers or pots, making it a versatile option for backyard gardening.
While you can’t bring this plant indoors, it makes an ideal candidate for cut flowers to place in a vase or gift to loved ones.
- Excellent pollinator
- Beautiful, golden blooms
- Blossoms need to be pruned
- Short growing season
- Requires full sun
5. Elegans Hosta
The first thing you might notice about the Elgans hosta is its extraordinary stature.
This particular variety is oversized and provides a big visual impact. It measures 3 feet high and 4 feet wide when fully grown.
The best part about this species is that it’s very low maintenance. After planting in a shady, well-drained spot, you don’t really have to worry much about taking care of your hosta.
You’ll love the silvery-blue tinge on the abundant leaves, allowing this plant to stand out from the crowd. The elegant heart-shaped foliage adds a touch of sophistication to your backyard oasis.
With proper pruning, you can even expect white flowers to pop out during summertime. These cream-colored blossoms are fragrant and attract butterflies and bees to your garden.
- Low maintenance and easy to grow
- Stunning color
- Thrives in shade
- Might be too big for small outdoor spaces
6. Red Dragon Lettuce
Not only is the Red Dragon lettuce variety visually striking, but you can eat it too! It’s the perfect vegetable that also doubles as ones of the best patio plants.
The deep, burgundy leaves have a unique shape that makes a great conversation piece for your outdoor space.
Not only will these leaves look great on your patio, but they’ll also make a remarkable addition to your salad. This lettuce variety is known to taste sweet, nutty, and mellow.
You can expect this variety to grow heads that can get to be 12? wide and 8? tall. This lettuce is heat and drought-tolerant and suitable for areas with partial shade.
- Beautiful, rich color
- Produces multiple harvests
- Requires more maintenance
- Shorter growing season
7. Garden Croton
The Garden croton is a true beauty that makes an excellent patio plant. The variegated foliage makes it a spectacular addition to any outdoor space.
Whether your goal is to brighten up your backyard or create an elegant focal point for your garden, displaying this plant can offer many rewards.
The Garden croton hails from Australia and Southeast Asia, so it thrives in a warm climate. You’ll find this plant performs best around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re worried about what to do when the first frost hits, you can easily bring your Garden croton inside and let it grace your home as a decorative indoor plant.
Whether you place it in your backyard space or living room, make sure you place this tropical beauty in a sunny spot. It requires at least 6-8 hours of rays to reveal the gorgeous color in the leaves.
The Garden croton’s beauty comes at a slight cost, as you must stay on top of watering this plant. Still, this variety is easy to grow and aesthetically beautiful, making it an ideal patio plant.
- Striking foliage
- Purifies air
- Easy to maintain
- Needs frequent watering
- Requires ample sunlight
8. Japanese Painted Fern
The Japanese painted fern is renowned for its bright purple stems, veins, and accents. These violet features pop against the deep emerald color and create a colorful contrast brimming with beauty.
Aside from this plant’s unique color combo, you’ll love the light, feathery texture of the leaves. It adds a delicate elegance that stands out in your garden.
This shade-loving plant is very durable and performs wonderfully in damp, mossy areas with well-drained soil.
While this variety loves moisture, it doesn’t like to be sopping wet, so keep a careful eye on your watering schedule. Still, the Japanese painted fern deserves a spot on our list of the best patio plants.
- Great for shady patios
- Interesting texture
- Doesn’t flower
- Can’t be grown in full sun
What to Look for in Patio Plants
When trying to find the best patio plants, you’ll need to figure out what works for your particular outdoor space.
Specify the time you’re willing to spend maintaining your patio plants, and figure out what look you’re going for. Doing so will help you save time and money in the long run.
Shade vs. Sun
Determine the amount of light that shines into your backyard, as this will help you find the best patio plants for your specific space.
If your patio is enclosed with trees, you’ll want to seek out different plants than if your patio receives full sun. Ferns, hostas, and other leafy plants do better in the shade, whereas flowers usually need ample sunlight to produce brilliant blooms.
Keep an eye on the direction of the sun. Depending on your positioning, you might have spots on your patio with 6-7 hours of sunlight when other parts might only get 4-5 hours of rays.
After calculating your sun exposure, start thinking of plants to include in different areas. Try planting that potted Amarillo Gold rudbeckia in the area that receives the most golden light, and stick the ferns in that darker corner.
Once you map out the sunlight in your patio, you can find the best patio plants to thrive in your outdoor oasis.
Size of Pot
Another factor to consider is the size of the pot, container, or raised bed to use. Before you ponder this, contemplate the size of your patio and the overall design.
While including a raised bed in your garden might be tempting, it might overwhelm the space. Stick to smaller pots and containers if you have a quant patio. Or consider gardening vertically with a trellis or other plant support.
If you have a smaller patio, you should also rethink certain plants. For example, the immense Elgans hosta might not be one of the best patio plants compared to the Dwarf zinnia variety.
Low vs High Maintenence
Be thoughtful with the amount of time you want to spend tending to your garden. While all plants require some maintenance, each variety differs in the amount of upkeep.
Tropical plants and flowers tend to be needier and may test your green thumb. Hostas, ferns, and ornamental grasses are easier to maintain, so you can spend less time gardening and more time actually enjoying your garden.
Keep in mind the overall look desired for your garden. Do you want a space that’s full of zen greenery? Or are you a fiend for color and want your deck to reflect the rainbow? Choose patio plants that represent the overall aesthetic of your backyard getaway.
Patio Plants Frequently Asked Questions
Are you still stumped about choosing the best patio plants for your outdoor space? Below, you’ll find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about outdoor vegetation.
What plants are best for patio pots?
Not only do pots and containers offer versatility to garden beds, but they’re also a great way to try out different designs on your patio.
Smaller pots offer an opportunity to decorate in abundance while displaying foliage. Instead of planting many different flowers in a large pot, you can mix and match colors with smaller vessels, adding eclectic beauty to your patio.
Small pots dry out quicker than their larger counterparts, so choose plants that need water sparingly. Succulents are ideal, but you can plant ornamental grasses, shrubs, or other low-water plants.
What can I grow on a small patio?
Just because your outdoor space is tiny doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your green thumb. There are many ways to capitalize on foliage in a small patio.
Try taking a vertical approach to gardening. Grow bedding plants such as Hydrangeas or Baby’s Breath in hanging baskets, then suspend them around your outdoor space for splashes of color. Or construct a trellis to transform a bland fence into a lively wall of vines.
Another way to capitalize on space is to grow plants that are both visually stunning and edible. Borage and Purple Ruffles basil accomplish this remarkable feat.
What are the best low-maintenance outdoor potted plants?
Would you rather be relaxing in your backyard instead of working on it? Consider growing low-maintenance patio plants to downsize on labor.
Shrubs are always a safe bet when it comes to easy potted plants. Peonies are ideal if you’re looking for an easy flower to brighten up the backyard.
You also can’t go wrong with ornamental grasses such as Porcupine or Maiden, since these plants require little watering.
Find the Best Patio Plants for Your Outdoor Space
Whether you’re looking to expand on your Japanese-inspired garden or trying to match your colorful patio decor, you can’t go wrong with one of these plants.
We hope that by reading this guide, you found the best patio plants for your outdoor oasis.
Looking to upgrade your outdoor spaces at home? Then find inspiration for your Minnesota backyard with our landscaping ideas, outdoor furniture suggestions, gardening recommendations, and more!