Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, has a unique climate that is pivotal in determining what plants do well outdoors. Gardening enthusiasts often ask: What plants are suitable for Philadelphia outdoor pots? When considering this, one must consider not only the local climate but also the plants’ specific needs in terms of sunlight, shade, and maintenance. Philadelphia’s best outdoor potted plants range from those that love full sun to those that thrive in the shade.
Some potted plants can survive winter outside in Philadelphia, while others are low-maintenance, suitable for those who want a beautiful garden without frequent upkeep. This article dives deep into the diverse range of outdoor potted plants suitable for every Philadelphia home garden, focusing on winter resistance, low maintenance, full sun, and shade plants.
Best Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia
Winter-Resistant Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia
One of the best choices is the Boxwood. Known for its dense evergreen leaves, Boxwood is not just winter-hardy but looks gorgeous with a layer of snow. Another popular option is the Blue Star Juniper, with its unique bluish-green hue that can withstand the cold and remain evergreen throughout the season. Ornamental Grasses, such as Fountain Grass, are also ideal as they add movement and texture to winter landscapes. And let’s not forget the classic Winterberry, which loses its leaves in winter but showcases bright red berries.
Low-Maintenance Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia
Succulents, like the Hen and Chick, are perfect because they store water in their leaves and can withstand heat and cold. They’re also among the best outdoor potted plants for Philadelphia low maintenance, especially if you’re seeking something drought-resistant. Another excellent choice is the Coral Bells, known for its rich foliage colors and delicate bell-shaped flowers.
For those areas that get full sun, Lavender is an excellent low-maintenance outdoor potted plant for Philadelphia full sun. It adds a burst of purple to your garden and emits a calming fragrance. Finally, consider adding Hostas to your garden. They’re perfect for shaded areas and require minimal care, making them one of the best outdoor potted plants for Philadelphia shade.
Full Sun Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia
Geraniums are an absolute favorite. They come in various colors and thrive in full sunlight. Marigolds, with their bright yellow and orange flowers, are sun-loving and help keep pests away. Petunias, available in various colors, are another popular choice and are excellent for adding a pop of color to any sunny spot.
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For those seeking both color and fragrance, consider the Rosemary plant. Not only is it a hearty herb that loves the sunlight, but it also provides fresh sprigs for culinary use. Lastly, Zinnias, with their multiple petals and bright hues, thrive in the direct sun and can be a delightful addition to any Philadelphia home garden.
Shade Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia
Ferns are a top pick, bringing a verdant and delicate texture that thrives in low-light conditions. With their vibrant and cheerful blossoms, Impatiens are a natural choice for such areas, brightening up the shadiest of spots. The romantic Bleeding Hearts, recognized by their unique heart-shaped blooms, relish the cool shade and introduce a whimsical touch.
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The colorful foliage of Coleus plants offers an artistic palette, making them a great addition to shaded corners. Lastly, the Peace Lily’s graceful white flowers and deep green leaves provide a calming and elegant presence, making it a favored choice for shaded locations in Philadelphia gardens.
Hardy Evergreen Shrubs for Winter Season in Philadelphia
Philadelphia winters require plants with strength and tenacity, and hardy evergreen shrubs are the answer. Boxwood remains a classic choice, holding onto its dense green leaves even when the temperatures plummet. With its distinct bluish-green shade, the Blue Star Juniper can battle the cold and retain its color throughout the chilly season.
The Mountain Laurel, native to the Eastern US, flourishes in Philadelphia winters and showcases clusters of beautiful pinkish-white flowers in late spring. The Yew, versatile and dense, not only withstands winter’s chill but also provides a robust green backdrop or hedge for gardens. For those looking for height, the Eastern Red Cedar stands tall, proud, and green, even in the heart of winter.
Drought-Tolerant Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia
Philadelphia gardens sometimes demand plants that can withstand periods of drought, and several outdoor potted options fit the bill. Succulents like Hens and Chicks thrive with minimal water, storing moisture in their leaves and showcasing a unique design. With its aromatic purple blossoms, the resilient Lavender can endure dry conditions while adding beauty and scent.
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Sedum, with its fleshy leaves and star-shaped flowers, not only resists drought but also introduces texture and color to gardens. With its silvery foliage and delicate lavender flowers, the Russian Sage can stand strong against drought and still put on a show. Lastly, the ornamental Fountain Grass thrives in dry conditions, waving its plumes gracefully with the breeze.
Colorful Winter-Blooming Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia
Winterberry sheds its leaves but holds onto its vibrant red berries, starkly contrasting the white snow. The Christmas Rose, or Hellebore, braves the cold to showcase its lovely blossoms, varying from white to deep purple. With their large, glossy leaves and exquisite flowers, Camellias can bloom in shades of pink, red, or white during winter’s chill.
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Witch Hazel is another winter bloomer, presenting spider-like yellow or orange flowers that emit a subtle fragrance. For those looking for ground cover, the Winter Jasmine comes alive with a profusion of yellow flowers even in the cold.
Native Perennials for Low-Maintenance Outdoor Pots in Philadelphia
Philadelphia’s native perennials are a boon for gardeners seeking beauty with minimal upkeep. The Black-Eyed Susan, with its golden-yellow petals and dark center, is a summer staple that requires little attention. Coneflowers, in pink, white, and yellow hues, are not just low-maintenance but also attract butterflies and birds.
The Mountain Mint, with its aromatic leaves, thrives with little care and is a magnet for beneficial pollinators. The Wild Bergamot, or Bee Balm, is another native beauty offering tubular flowers and a distinctive fragrance. Lastly, the Butterfly Weed, with its bright orange flowers, requires minimal care and serves as a significant nectar source for monarch butterflies.
Fragrant Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia Gardens
In Philadelphia gardens, fragrant plants add a layer of sensory delight, making any outdoor space more inviting. Lavender stands out as a favorite, with its soothing purple spikes and calming aroma, perfect for potted arrangements. With its intoxicating scent and delicate white flowers, Jasmine is another excellent choice for an aromatic garden. The Gardenia offers a sweet fragrance that can fill any garden space.
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For those looking for a more subtle scent, the Lily of the Valley introduces a delicate perfume with its tiny bell-shaped flowers. Finally, the Rose, often termed the ‘Queen of the Garden,’ is a timeless choice. With countless varieties available, each brings its unique fragrance, ensuring that a Philadelphia garden can be as olfactorily delightful as it is visually.
Cold-Tolerant Succulents for Outdoor Containers in Philadelphia
In Philadelphia, where winters can be chilly, having succulents that can brave the cold is essential. The Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum) is a favorite, known for its rosette shape and ability to endure freezing temperatures. Another top pick is the Stonecrop Sedum, which showcases fleshy leaves and can easily withstand cold spells.
The Agave parryi, with its rosette form and spiky leaves, can endure the Philadelphia cold while adding a dramatic touch to any pot. With its sharp-tipped leaves, Yucca is not only cold-hardy but also brings an architectural element to outdoor containers. Lastly, the Winter Hardy Opuntia, known as the prickly pear cactus, can survive snow and freezing temperatures, making it a unique choice for Philadelphia gardens.
Ornamental Grasses for Full Sun Outdoor Pots in Philadelphia
For sun-drenched Philadelphia gardens, ornamental grasses in outdoor pots can provide texture, movement, and beauty. The Fountain Grass, with its arching plumes and feathery seed heads, thrives under the full sun and dances gracefully with the wind. Another excellent choice for sun lovers is the Blue Fescue, known for its compact size and bluish-green hue. With its tall stature and silky tassels, the Maiden Grass can stand proudly in pots and create an elegant backdrop.
For a pop of color, the Japanese Blood Grass, which transitions from green to a striking red, is perfect for sunny spots. Finally, the Feather Reed Grass, upright and sturdy, loves the sun and can serve as a focal point in any container arrangement.
Winter-Flowering Bulbs for Outdoor Containers in Philadelphia
Certain bulbs come to life to combat the bleakness of winter, offering blooms and brightness in Philadelphia’s chilly months. Snowdrops are among the first to appear, often piercing through the snow with their delicate white bell-shaped flowers. Crocuses follow closely, showcasing their purple, yellow, or white blooms and signaling that spring isn’t far away. The Winter Aconite, with its yellow buttercup-like flowers, is a welcome sight against the backdrop of snow.
For those looking for a hint of exoticism, the Cyclamen coum, with its heart-shaped leaves and pink or white flowers, blooms in the cold. Lastly, the Daffodil, a symbol of hope and renewal, can be planted in outdoor containers to ensure early spring blossoms, sometimes even appearing at the tail end of winter.
Compact Conifers for Small Spaces in Philadelphia Gardens
Compact conifers are ideal for Philadelphia gardeners working with limited space, combining aesthetics and functionality. The Dwarf Alberta Spruce, with its pyramidal shape and dense foliage, provides year-round greenery without occupying much space. Similarly, the Globe Blue Spruce offers a spherical shape with a beautiful bluish tint, making it a centerpiece in compact gardens.
The Lemon Cypress stands out for its tight growth habit and its vibrant yellow-green foliage that emits a subtle lemon scent when touched. The Juniper ‘Blue Rug’, with its sprawling nature and bluish hue, can be a perfect fit for those looking for a ground-hugging conifer. The Little Gem Spruce, with its miniature size, can also be a splendid addition, bringing the charm of larger spruces to small spaces.
Heat-Tolerant Annuals for Full Sun Outdoor Pots in Philadelphia
Philadelphia summers can get quite hot, demanding plants that can withstand the heat, especially in full sun. Marigolds are a brilliant choice, with their vibrant orange and yellow blooms that thrive under the scorching sun. With their vast array of colors and long-lasting blooms, Zinnias are not just heat-tolerant but also add a burst of vibrancy.
Portulaca or Moss Rose, with its fleshy leaves and dainty flowers, is an excellent choice for its resilience to heat and drought. Although more commonly associated with fields, the Sunflower has dwarf varieties that fit perfectly into pots and adore the sun. Finally, the Vinca or Periwinkle, with its glossy leaves and starry flowers, loves the heat and can offer continuous blooms throughout the hottest months.
Edible Herbs and Vegetables for Winter Container Gardening in Philadelphia
With its ruffled leaves and rich green or purple shades, Kale not only withstands cold but also becomes sweeter after a frost. With slender green shoots, Chives can grow in containers and provide a mild onion flavor throughout the colder months. Parsley, a versatile herb, can brave the cold and offer fresh leaves for culinary use.
For a touch of spiciness, Arugula can be container-grown, thriving in the cold and adding a peppery flavor to winter dishes. Additionally, Carrots can be sown in deep containers, where they’ll grow slowly but surely, ready to be harvested in the heart of winter or early spring.
Best Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia: Winter, Low-maintenance, Shade, and Full Sun
|Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia||Best Plants to be noted|
|Compact Conifers for Small Spaces in Philadelphia Gardens||Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Globe Blue Spruce, Lemon Cypress, Juniper ‘Blue Rug’, Little Gem Spruce|
|Heat-Tolerant Annuals for Full Sun Outdoor Pots in Philadelphia||Marigolds, Zinnias, Portulaca (Moss Rose), Sunflower (dwarf varieties), Vinca (Periwinkle)|
|Edible Herbs and Vegetables for Winter Container Gardening in Philadelphia||Kale, Chives, Parsley, Arugula, Carrots|
|Shade Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia||Ferns, Impatiens, Bleeding Hearts, Coleus, Peace Lily|
|Hardy Evergreen Shrubs for Winter Season in Philadelphia||Boxwood, Blue Star Juniper, Mountain Laurel, Yew, Eastern Red Cedar|
|Drought-Tolerant Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia||Hens and Chicks, Lavender, Sedum, Russian Sage, Fountain Grass|
|Colorful Winter-Blooming Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia||Winterberry, Christmas Rose, Camellias, Witch Hazel, Winter Jasmine|
|Native Perennials for Low-Maintenance Outdoor Pots in Philadelphia||Black-Eyed Susan, Coneflowers, Mountain Mint, Wild Bergamot, Butterfly Weed|
|Fragrant Outdoor Potted Plants for Philadelphia Gardens||Lavender, Jasmine, Gardenia, Lily of the Valley, Rose|
|Cold-Tolerant Succulents for Outdoor Containers in Philadelphia||Hens and Chicks, Stonecrop Sedum, Agave parryi, Yucca, Winter Hardy Opuntia|
|Ornamental Grasses for Full Sun Outdoor Pots in Philadelphia||Fountain Grass, Blue Fescue, Maiden Grass, Japanese Blood Grass, Feather Reed Grass|
|Winter-Flowering Bulbs for Outdoor Containers in Philadelphia||Snowdrops, Crocuses, Winter Aconite, Cyclamen coum, Daffodil|
Choosing the right plants for specific conditions and preferences can transform any Philadelphia garden into a haven. Whether you have a compact space, face the summer’s heat, or wish to grow edibles in winter, there’s always a plant ready to bring life, color, and flavor to your outdoor space.
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