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Hardy Plants for Outdoor Pots in Australia

Growing plants in outdoor pots allows you to add more greenery and colour to your outdoor living spaces.

Surrounding your deck or patio with a selection of hardy plants in pots creates a nice ambience and a homely feel to the space.

However, it’s important to select the right plants to grow in your outdoor pots to ensure that they thrive and grow well.

Here’s a selection of some of my favourite hardy plants that do well in pots in Australia.

Agave

Agave in pot | Plant varieties

Agaves are excellent landscaping plants that look fantastic when grown in a large pot. Their symmetrical growth habit can add a bit of structure to your outdoor space.

Make sure that the pot you’re growing them in has good drainage and use a free-draining mix to grow them in.

Aloe

Aloe in pot | Plant varieties

Aloes are hardy large succulents that make a dramatic statement when grown in large pots. These plants come in a number of different varieties and will also flower in autumn and winter.

They need a well-draining mix and plenty of drainage holes in the pots as they don’t like having their roots sit in water.

However, this makes them ideal for growing in pots as they will tolerate drying out a bit better than many other plants.

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea in pot | Plant varieties

If you want an explosion of colour, you can’t go past a bougainvillea. Choose a dwarf variety to grow in a large pot and add a trellis or climbing structure to support the plant as it grows.

Bougainvilleas don’t mind being pruned and shaped to keep them more compact. But, watch out for those thorns when you’re pruning.

Casuarina Cousin It

This lovely casuarina has a rounded and compact growth habit that lends itself perfectly to growing in a tall pot.

As a bonus, the Cousin It plant is hardy and requires very little maintenance except for occasional watering.

Cordylines

Cordyline 1 | Plant varieties

These hardy and colourful foliage plants will add a touch of the tropics to your outdoor spaces. They grow very well in pots and prefer a sunny position. 

You can find cordylines in a range of different leaf colours ranging from pink or red to lime green or purple. Try mixing up a few different colours for a dramatic display.

RELATED: Best Hardy Border Plants

Crassula ovata

Crassula ovata in pot | Plant varieties

The jade plant has been a popular choice for gardeners to grow in pots for years. It’s a hardy succulent that doesn’t expect a lot of maintenance. 

Ensure that you use a free-draining potting mix and that the pot has adequate drainage to ensure your plant thrives and grows. 

This is also the perfect plant for a hot sunny spot as it handles these types of conditions very well. You only need to water your plant once the soil in the pot has dried out.

Geraniums

Geranium | Plant varieties

Geraniums are such hardy plants and they will grow really well in pots around your garden, patio or deck. They’re amazingly low-care plants that only need water to ensure the soil is moist and some liquid fertiliser to promote flowering.

Geraniums are also available in a range of different colours and you can even get scented varieties, although these are generally pelargoniums. 

I have a lovely citrus-scented one in a pot on the steps of my front deck that I propagated from a plant that I have growing in the garden. It has pretty pink flowers and the most delicious scent when you rub the leaves.

Hibiscus

Adding soil to Hibiscus in Pots | Plant varieties

For warmer regions, you can easily grow a variety of hibiscus in pots. These will add a lovely tropical feel to your outdoor spaces and will thrive in sunny spaces.

Make sure you keep them well-watered and use a liquid fertiliser high in potassium to promote plenty of blooms.

RELATED: Best Hibiscus Varieties to Grow in Australia

Lemon or lime trees

Lemon tree | Plant varieties

Except for needing a fair amount of water and regular fertiliser, citrus trees like lemons or limes grow really well in pots too.

And, because they’re growing in a pot, it keeps their growth relatively compact.

Mandevilla

Mandevilla in pot | Plant varieties

I had a lovely pink blooming Mandevilla growing in a pot for many years and it was quite spectacular when it flowered. 

As it is a climbing plant, mandevilla does need a trellis or structure to climb over so add one of these to your pots. Or, position the pot in a spot near a verandah post or similar and train the plant up this.

I had mine sitting on an old wooden ladder and trained it to grow over this. Just watch out for the milky sap when you prune the plant because this may cause irritation to some people.

Pansies

Pansies in pot | Plant varieties

For an instant pop of colour, you can’t go past flowering annuals such as pansies and violas. These pretty plants are perfect for growing in a range of different pots including hanging baskets.

Pansies will provide your outdoor space with an explosion of colour in the colder months and the blooms will last for ages. 

Yucca

Yucca in pot | Plant varieties

I’ve had a single branched Yucca in a large pot for years and it lives happily on my verandah. It is seriously the most low-maintenance plant that I’ve ever grown. 

All I normally do is give it some water every now and then and turn it occasionally so that it gets light evenly on all sides. When I remember, I might give it some slow-release fertiliser pellets, usually once a year or so.

So, if you want a hardy plant to grow in a pot that requires very little care, I would definitely recommend a yucca.

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Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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