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Best Outdoor Plants for the Netherlands: Full Sun, Winter, Shade, and Balcony

If you’re in the Netherlands and wondering what plants grow best here, you’re not alone. With a unique climate that includes chilly winters and relatively mild summers, picking the right outdoor plants for the Netherlands can be tricky. The most common plant in the Netherlands is the tulip, which also happens to be the flower most known in the country.

Best Outdoor Plants for the Netherlands

This guide will examine the best outdoor plants for the Netherlands’ full sun, winter, and balcony conditions. We will also dive into outdoor plants that are evergreen and ideal for winter. Whether in Amsterdam or other parts of the Netherlands, this guide is tailored to help you select the best outdoor and balcony plants.

Importance of Choosing the Right Outdoor Plants for Netherland Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

Choosing the right plants is crucial not only for aesthetic reasons but also for plant health. A plant that thrives in full sun might struggle on a shady balcony, just as a tropical plant would find it hard to survive a Dutch winter. Picking the correct plants can save you time, effort, and money while ensuring your garden or balcony looks lush year-round. Opting for native plants can also encourage local biodiversity, making your outdoor space a haven for wildlife.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Outdoor Plants for Netherland Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

Several factors come into play when selecting the right plants. First, consider the sunlight exposure; some plants require full sun while others prefer shade. Second, consider the Netherlands’ winter conditions, as not all plants can survive the cold. Lastly, space is essential; if you’re planning a balcony garden, you’ll need plants that can thrive in pots or containers. It’s important to consider whether you prefer plants that stay green all year or those that lose their leaves in winter.

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Best Outdoor Plants for Netherland Full Sun: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re looking for plants that thrive in full sun, look no further than lavender, rosemary, and sage. These herbs not only smell amazing but also love sunny conditions. For flower lovers, marigolds and sunflowers are excellent choices. They’re bright, cheerful, and can withstand a lot of sun. Geraniums are also popular and come in various colors to suit any garden palette. For those who prefer evergreen options, boxwood and yew are robust choices that can endure both the sun and winter conditions.

Top Winter Outdoor Plants for Netherland Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

Evergreen options like holly and ivy are excellent as they provide year-round greenery. Heather is another winter-hardy plant that brings color to your garden even in the coldest months. Snowdrops and winter aconite are bulbous plants that can survive the cold and bloom beautifully in spring.

Cyclamen is another winter bloomer that is perfect for both gardens and balconies. For those looking specifically for outdoor plants in Amsterdam or any other Dutch city, conifers like spruce and pine are popular as they are robust and can withstand urban pollution. These plants will survive the winter and provide aesthetic value to your outdoor space during the colder months.

Choosing Outdoor Plants for Balconies in the Netherlands: Tips and Recommendations

When choosing plants for balconies in the Netherlands, it’s important to consider the conditions of the balcony itself, such as exposure to sun, wind, and even pollution if you’re living in urban areas like Amsterdam. For sun-exposed balconies, herbs like basil and thyme are great options; they are both useful in the kitchen and quite resilient. If your balcony is shady, ferns and hostas are good choices as they thrive in low-light conditions.

Space is another consideration; opt for plants that can thrive in containers, like petunias or pansies, which add color without too much space. Succulents and cacti are ideal for those who want something low-maintenance, as they require minimal watering and care. Balcony railing planters can also be a functional and aesthetic addition, allowing for various plants, from flowers to small veggies like cherry tomatoes.

Low-maintenance outdoor Plants for Netherlands Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

If you’re looking for plants that require minimal attention yet still thrive in the varied climatic conditions of the Netherlands, several options are available. Lavender and rosemary are not just aromatic but also quite hardy, needing little more than full sun. Evergreen options like juniper and pine are robust for winter gardens and require little care.

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Hand picking rosemary

Succulents are another excellent choice, especially for balcony gardens, as they need minimal watering. They are also great for full sun conditions and can tolerate neglect to some extent. Bamboo is another low-maintenance plant that can provide a lush, tropical feel to your outdoor space without requiring too much upkeep.

Climbing or Trailing Outdoor Plants for Netherland Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

Climbing and trailing plants can add a unique aesthetic to your outdoor spaces. Clematis is a popular climbing plant that enjoys full sun and comes in various colors. Ivy is a hardy option that can withstand winter and be used for climbing and trailing. For balconies, consider trailing plants like the trailing petunia or creeping thyme, which can drape beautifully over the sides of containers.

Jasmine is a sweet-smelling plant that grows nicely on trellises or fences. These climbing and trailing options offer a different dimension to your garden or balcony, providing both vertical and horizontal interest, and many are well-suited to the varying conditions of the Dutch climate.

Drought-Tolerant Outdoor Plants for Netherland Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

Drought-tolerant plants are especially useful for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time watering. Plants like the ground-cover plant sedum are excellent for full sun and can withstand dry conditions. Ornamental grasses like blue fescue also do well in drought-like conditions and add texture to the garden.

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Blue fescue

Agave and aloe are great choices for both gardens and balconies, given their tolerance for drought and full sun conditions. If you want a drought-tolerant plant that offers winter interest, consider witch hazel; it blooms in late winter and is quite resilient. These plants are not just water-saving but also perfect for the varying weather conditions in the Netherlands.

Shade-Tolerant Outdoor Plants for Netherland Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

Not every outdoor space enjoys abundant sunlight, and certain plants are more suited for those shaded areas. Hostas are excellent for shade and come in various sizes and leaf colors, providing texture and visual interest. Ferns are another good option; they enjoy the damp, shady conditions often found in Dutch gardens.

For winter shade gardens, consider the hellebore; it’s a perennial that blooms in the winter and tolerates shade well. Fuchsia is a beautiful flowering plant that can grow in shaded balconies, adding color. These shade-tolerant plants can thrive in less sunny outdoor spaces, whether a garden, winter plot, or balcony.

Fragrant Outdoor Plants for the Netherlands Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

For those who want their outdoor spaces to smell as good as they look, various fragrant plants can thrive in the Netherlands. Jasmine is popular; its sweet scent is especially potent in the evenings. Lavender is another fragrant option that thrives in full sun and is fairly low-maintenance.

For winter gardens, consider adding winter honeysuckle; it produces a lemony scent even in the cold months. Gardenias are another fragrant choice, suitable for both gardens and balconies, offering a sweet, intoxicating aroma. These fragrant plants add a sensory element to your garden or balcony and often attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, contributing to local biodiversity.

Edible Outdoor Plants for the Netherlands Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

Herbs like rosemary and basil are excellent for sunny spots and can be used in various dishes. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are hardy and can withstand colder temperatures, making them good options for winter gardens. Cherry tomatoes are great for balcony gardens; they can be grown in containers and enjoy a lot of sun. Strawberries can also be grown in containers, making them suitable for balcony gardening. These edible plants offer the dual benefits of being functional and decorative in various outdoor settings.

Colorful Outdoor Plants for Netherland Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

For those looking to add a splash of color to their outdoor spaces, several plants are known for their vibrant hues and suitability for the Dutch climate. Marigolds and zinnias are excellent for full-sun gardens and come in various colors, from yellows to reds. Pansies and violas offer various colors and can tolerate colder temperatures, making them suitable for winter gardens.

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marigolds on the plantation

For balconies, consider colorful container plants like geraniums in various shades, including pinks, reds, and whites. If you’re after something evergreen but still colorful, consider ornamental cabbages, which offer a unique blend of greens, purples, and whites and can survive colder temperatures.

Native Outdoor Plants for Netherland Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

When considering plants for your Dutch outdoor spaces, going native can offer multiple benefits, like being well-adapted to the local climate and supporting local wildlife. Wild marjoram is a native herb that enjoys full sun and can also be used for cooking. The Dutch iris is another native plant that thrives in sunny gardens and brings a splash of color.

For winter gardens, consider the native snowdrop, which not only survives the cold but also blooms to signal the arrival of spring. Wild thyme is another native option that thrives in various conditions, including balconies. Native grasses like reed canary grass are hardy and can withstand sun and shade, making them versatile choices for any outdoor space in the Netherlands.

Evergreen Outdoor Plants for Netherland Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

Evergreen plants are a great option if you want your garden or balcony to maintain its green appearance throughout the year. Boxwood is a well-liked type of greenery that can be trimmed into various shapes and grows well in sunny and partially shaded areas.

Yew is another evergreen that can withstand the cold Dutch winters and can be grown in gardens and containers on balconies. Junipers are hardy and adaptable, making them ideal evergreen choices for various outdoor settings. Holly is another winter-hardy evergreen, and its red berries provide additional color during winter.

Succulents and Cacti Suitable for Netherlands Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

Succulents and cacti are excellent choices for low-maintenance gardens or balconies. Aloe vera and agave are both good choices for sunny locations and are quite drought-tolerant. Jade plants are another option; they can tolerate sun and shade, making them versatile for outdoor conditions. For balconies, consider smaller succulents like hens and chicks, which can be grown in small pots or containers. These succulents and cacti are easy to care for and add a modern touch to any outdoor space.

Flowering Outdoor Plants for Netherland Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

If you’re looking to add color through flowering plants, plenty of options are available for the Dutch climate. Sunflowers and marigolds offer bright and cheerful blooms for full-sun gardens. Consider the hardy pansy for winter gardens, which can bloom even in colder months.

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Sunflower gardening

Geraniums are versatile flowering plants that can thrive in gardens and on balconies and come in various colors. Lavender is another flowering option that offers beautiful blooms and a delightful fragrance. These flowering plants can brighten any outdoor space, and many are well-suited for full sun and winter conditions.

Ornamental Grasses for the Netherlands Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

Ornamental grasses can add a unique texture and movement to your outdoor spaces. Blue fescue is a popular choice for sunny areas; its bluish tint contrasts with other plants’ green foliage. Reed canary grass is a native Dutch grass that can tolerate various conditions, from sun to shade and even wet soil. For winter gardens, consider miscanthus, a tall grass that retains its shape well into winter. These ornamental grasses are aesthetically pleasing and versatile, able to suit various outdoor conditions in the Netherlands.

Medicinal or Aromatic Herbs for the Netherlands Full Sun, Winter, and Balcony

Growing your herbs can offer not just culinary benefits but also medicinal and aromatic ones. Lavender is famous for its soothing properties and grows well in bright sunlight. Rosemary is another herb that enjoys sunny conditions and has multiple uses, from cooking to herbal remedies. For winter gardens, consider hardier herbs like sage, which can withstand colder temperatures. Lemon balm is another aromatic herb that can grow in various conditions, including balconies.

Table for Best Outdoor Plants for the Netherlands

ConditionBest Plants for Full SunBest Plants for WinterBest Plants for ShadeBest Plants for Balcony
HerbsLavender, RosemarySageWild ThymeBasil, Thyme
FloweringMarigolds, SunflowersPansiesHostas, HelleboreGeraniums, Fuchsia
EvergreenBoxwood, YewHolly, Juniper Pine, Juniper
NativeDutch Iris, Wild MarjoramSnowdropReed Canary GrassWild Thyme
Low-MaintenanceLavender, BambooJuniper, PineHostasSucculents, Cacti
Drought-TolerantSedum, Blue FescueWitch Hazel Agave, Aloe
FragrantLavender, JasmineWinter Honeysuckle Jasmine
ColorfulMarigolds, ZinniasPansies, Ornamental Cabbages Geraniums, Petunias
EdibleBasil, RosemarySpinach, Kale Cherry Tomatoes, Strawberries
Climbing/TrailingClematisIvy Trailing Petunia, Creeping Thyme
Ornamental GrassesBlue FescueMiscanthusReed Canary Grass 
Succulents and CactiAloe, Agave  Jade Plant, Hens, and Chicks
Medicinal/AromaticLavender, RosemarySage Lemon Balm


Choosing the right plants for your outdoor spaces in the Netherlands doesn’t have to be complicated.


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