16 Best Summer Planter Flowers for Full Sun or Shady Yards

different spring and summer flowers

Nothing brightens up outdoor living spaces during the summer better than beautiful containers filled with flowers. Whether you have a huge yard or a tiny balcony or patio, you can bring summer to life outside your door with a few (or many!) wisely chosen summer planter flowers. Beautify your space with a selection of beautiful potted flowers that bloom all summer.

Gorgeous Summer Planter Flowers for Full Sun

If you’re looking for container flowers that bloom all summer to put in the sunniest areas of your yard, consider the full sun selections below.

Annual Lobelia

Blue white lobelia flowers in plant hangers

If you’re looking for a compact container flower for your summer garden, annual lobelia (Lobelia erinus) is a great option. This diminutive plant doesn’t get taller than six inches, but it adds a powerful punch of color to any flowerpot.


Yellow Blanket Flowers

Blanket flowers (Gaillardia) are a great full-sun option for summer contains. These easy-care perennials produce blooms all summer long and will come back year after year. Deadhead regularly to boost flower production.



With their unique spiky blooms, cockscomb (Celosia) plants are a striking addition to any summer container garden. This plant is related to the grain amaranth. Cockscomb flowers are edible, as are the plant’s stem and leaves.

Common Geraniums

Common Geraniums

Common geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) are among the best potted flowers for spring and summer, as they start blooming in late spring and keep going through the entire summer. It’s easy to grow and care for geraniums in containers.



Dahlias (Dahlia) look especially darling when displayed in decorative containers. Plus, dahlias will bloom year after year if they aren’t exposed to freezing temperatures. Container planting makes it super-easy to move them indoors for winter months.



Daisies (Bellis perennis) are a great choice to plant in your summer container garden. It’s very easy to grow daisies, and they make great potted plants. Get creative by mixing together a few different kinds of daisies in the same container.



If you’re looking for a summer-blooming plant to put in a large container, echinacea (Echinacea), also known as coneflower, is a great choice. Use at least a two-gallon container to accommodate this perennial’s long taproot.


Marigold Flowers In Pot

Marigolds (Tagetes) make marvelous planter flowers. These sun-loving flowers bloom all summer long with lovely red, yellow, or orange flowers (based on variety). They’re very easy to grow and will provide you with tons of seeds to plant next year.


Woman planting flower in a flower pot

Petunias (Petunia) are a cheerful-looking addition to any summer garden. No matter what kind of garden container you have, it will look positively precious with some colorful (and low maintenance!) petunias cascading over the side.



Sunpatiens (Impatiens x hybrida SunPatiens®) plants are patented and trademarked. Most impatiens need shade, but this hybrid loves full sun. They are a great option for all kinds of containers, including urns and hanging baskets.



Zinnias (Zinnias) start with the last letter of the alphabet, but they should be first on your list of summer planter flowers. There are many varieties in all sizes, shapes, and colors. You’ll never get tired of looking at garden pots filled with zinnias.

Best Summer Planter Flowers for Shady Areas

If your yard has some areas that get more shade than sun, fill some containers with shade-loving plants that bloom. There aren’t as many options for shade as full sun, but there are some lovely ones.



Balsam (Impatiens balsamina) is an old-timey heirloom plant that thrives in partial shade. It is a low-maintenance plant that grows very well in containers as long as it’s not exposed to either too much sun or too much shade.

Madagascar Periwinkle

Group planting of Madagascar periwinkle

Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus), also known as bright eyes and cape periwinkle, is a lovely container flower for summer. It prefers to grow in part shade, but it can also tolerate a good bit of sun.

Tuberous Begonia

Tuberous Begonia

Tuberous begonias (Begonia × tuberhybrida) are terrific container flowers that bloom all summer, as long as they are placed in part shade or dappled shade. They work great in hanging baskets or any kind of garden pot.

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal Flower

The cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is a wildflower, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t put this shade-loving perennial in a container. As long as you plant it in rich soil that you keep moist, it will reward you with beauty.


A Woman Replants An Impatiens In A New Po

Impatiens (Impatiens) are the saving grace of many a shady backyard. These plants thrive in shady conditions. They will bloom profusely in even heavily shaded areas where most other summer plants wouldn’t produce a single petal.

Creative Outdoor Planter Ideas for Summer

Colorful flowers and pots on deck

You don’t have to stick with just one kind of flower in your favorite planters, nor do you have to purchase containers from a nursery or garden center to hold your potted plants. There are many unique container garden ideas.

  • Create a tire garden – Paint some old tires and fill them with dirt to create a unique upcycled container garden for your yard. Chances are that a local tire store will be happy to give you some older tires.
  • Convert a fire pit – Did you upgrade your backyard firepit? Don’t send the old one to a landfill. Drill a few holes in the bottom and use it as a planter. Then, think about what other unusual items can you use as a planter.
  • Mixed plantings – Who says you have to stick with just one type of plant per pot? Mix several kinds of flowering plants in the same container, or pair a leafy plant like coleus with a plant that produces a lot of blooms.

Beautify Your Yard With Summer Planter Flowers

In-ground gardens and raised beds are awesome, but no summer landscape is complete without a collection of containers overflowing with beautiful blooms. When it comes to creating a seasonal container garden, there are no hard and fast rules to follow. Plant your favorite summer flowers in whatever you have handy – from decorative containers made to be used in formal container garden designs to creative upcycled options that will help you create an eclectic garden design that is uniquely yours.

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