10 Best Low-Maintenance Outdoor Plants for Containers in Sun or Shade

This ornamental grass features striking spiky, purple foliage, which adds height and volume to a low-maintenance container garden. It is highly heat tolerant. While it can grow quite tall in a garden bed, it will remain more subdued when planted in a container, making it ideal for smaller spaces.

Purple Fountain Grass:

Supertunias are heat-tolerant hybrid petunias that require minimal maintenance beyond regular watering. They thrive with a controlled-release fertilizer and do not need deadheading, making them an easy choice for busy gardeners.


These vertical stunners are perfect for adding height to a flowering container garden. Angelface and other angelonia hybrids enjoy full sun and tolerate both overwatering and neglect.

Angelface (Angelonia hybrids):

Salvias are robust container garden plants that produce spikes of deep color with a nice mound of foliage below. They are particularly loved by pollinators, especially hummingbirds.


These excellent foliage plants thrive in partial shade locations. Rex begonias add lots of color and texture to gardens, lasting all season without the hassle of deadheading or pruning. They only require regular moisture to be happy, making them a convenient choice for shaded spots.

Rex Begonias:

Caladiums bring brilliant contrasting colors on the same leaf and serve as an eye-catching element in slightly shady locations. They are heat tolerant and of medium height, making them a nice pairing with begonias and impatiens.


Ideal for partial shade, fuchsias will cascade over the edge of a pot or hanging basket, providing bright color throughout the summer. They perform best in areas with cooler summer temperatures, making them suitable for gardens that do not receive full sun.


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) can grow into a medium-sized shrub in a large planter. It is a perennial in warmer climates, but gardeners in cooler areas can bring it indoors for the winter. Rosemary thrives on a bit of neglect, preferring dry soil and minimal fertilizer.


Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is an easy-to-grow herb with a low, upright profile, although its errant stems will spill gracefully over the sides of a container. It pairs well with rosemary and sage in both the kitchen and in a pot.

Common Thyme:

Garden sage (Salvia officinalis) is another low-maintenance herb that thrives in containers. It can be planted with other herbs to create a "poultry seasoning pot."

Common Sage: