Welcome to Lowe's
Find a Store

Prices, promotions, styles, and availability may vary. Our local stores do not honor online pricing. Prices and availability of products and services are subject to change without notice. Errors will be corrected where discovered, and Lowe's reserves the right to revoke any stated offer and to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions including after an order has been submitted.

Desert Gardening: Favorite Summer Container Plants

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Desert gardeners, here’s how to make the most out of container pots over the warm months.

blue flower and chartreuse foliage combination

By Scott Calhoun

Some Like It Cool

If having plants in bloom is your thing, annuals give a lot of bang for the buck. For containers the photo above illustrates how well cool colors work with bold foliage plants. This combination pairs the delicate blue flowers of Proven Winners Angelface Blue (Angelonia angustifolia) with a flamboyantly colored chartreuse sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas). Both plants like lots of heat.

Victoria Blue Sage

Another good cool-color flower mixer is ‘Victoria Blue’ sage (Salvia farinacea).

‘Purple Robe’

I also like ‘Purple Robe’ (Nierembergia scoparia).

Fighting Fire with Fire

potted Gaillardia Dakota Reveille

Hot colors -- even during our scorching summers -- can be exciting inclusions. In recent years plant breeders have even jazzed up standard wildflowers. Consider the plant in the photo right.

At first glance you might think it is a zinnia or even a dahlia. But it’s a new twist on a common roadside wildflower, blanket flower. It’s called Dakota Reveille, and it features clusters of tightly packed trumpet-shape blooms that resemble pompoms.

potted Tecoma Bells of Fire

Other hot-color flowers you can work into pots include calibrachoa, also called Million Bells, which comes in many hot and cool shades. There also are perennials such as coral fountain (Russelia equisetiformis); and woody shrubs such as Bells of Fire (right).

Going Succulent

Assorted succulents in a porch planting

A downside to growing annuals, and especially annuals in containers, is they require daily and occasionally twice daily, watering during the hot months to keep them blooming and thriving. For some gardeners this is simply too much fuss. Many folks turn to planting succulents for their ease of care and interesting forms.

The combination of plants and pots, right, are all happy on a shaded patio. It includes ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata), mottled spurge (Euphorbia lactea), green ice gasteraloe (Gasteraloe ‘Green Ice’), and hearts and flowers (Aptenia cordifolia).

blue, green, pottery, containers, succulent plants, slipper plant

The second combination, right, uses multi-color blue and green pots to cool down the arrangement. Key plants are slipper plant (Pedilanthus macrocarpus) and ‘Purple Heart’ (Tradescantia pallida). Many succulents don’t like full sun in the summer months in desert climates. This makes them well-suited to container culture on patios and beneath shade trees.

What are your favorite go-to plants for containers during summer?