Container Recipes with Favorite Annual Plants

Ilona Erwin

I love annuals! So much so, that it is a daunting task to try to profile all my favorites. As I was planting up my containers, it occurred to me that the ones I was combining in my pots and baskets would be an ideal way to share some of these ideas for containers with favorite annuals.

Putting together the annual combinations in a recipe that can be repeated every year, or tweaked to produce a new effect saves time and reproduces a successful arrangement. Each year the plants available in the garden centers vary, so you may not be able to find the exact variety listed.

However, these ideas offer some easy suggestions, including the necessary information to combine light and moisture needs for plantings that thrive throughout the season. Look for the basic plant, and try out varieties that have similar color when a substitute is necessary.

Want to find general information on annuals and the many ways to use them? See the pages listed under Annuals for more info and inspiration. When I use Proven Winners, I listed their plant care advice with a link to their pages.
On this page

Annuals For Containers

OsteospermumSalvia splendens
CalibrachoaTuberous Begonia
Sedge GrassAsparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’
Ipomoea batatasVerbena

Sunny Containers of Joy!


Fill a large, dark brown container with:
Heliotrope, description and plant needs of this perennial treated as an annual.
Osteospermum ‘Soprano Purple’
Or ‘Ostica Lilac’
Plant Needs

  • Bloom Time: Planting to Hard Frost
  • Zones:Annual except in zones 9 – 11
  • Hardy Temperature: 25 °F (-4 °C)
  • Exposure:Plant in sun or partial shade
  • Water Needs:Normal
  • Maintenance:Easy
  • Uses: Landscapes, containers, hanging baskets, window boxes, landscaping and combination planters

Superbells Plum Calibrachoa hybrid
Plant Needs

  • Bloom Time:Planting to Hard Frost
  • Zones: Annual except in zones 9 – 11
  • Hardy Temp: 30 °F (-1 °C)
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Water Needs: Normal
  • Maintenance: Easy
  • Uses: Containers. Calibrachoa do not like to have constantly damp soil. They will do well in the ground only with good drainage.

Scented purples in a terra cotta planter

dark purple petunias
blue petunia
‘Dreams Waterfall Mix’ has subtle tints with large flowers. I bought the blue mix, it also comes in other mixes… any soft lilac-blue petunia can be substituted. Petunias take regular moisture, full sun, and enjoy rich soil.

See More…
5 Container Tips
Plant Great Containers

This is a somewhat monotone container planting. I started growing Calibrachoa some five or so years back- they give an impressive show throughout the hot Midwestern summer.
Love the colors!
Heliotrope is always a choice plant for its fragrance and big purple corymbs of bloom. It likes more moist conditions than Calibrachoa, -so keep the well draining soil watered in hot weather.

Cappuccino Sweets

petunia Cappuccino

Color Standout

‘Cappuccino’ Petunia

“Potunias” (no that’s not a typo) are a breed of petunias with a round habit.

They are strong bloomers all season. Sun and normal moisture- loves rich soil.

‘Cappuccino’ Sedge Grass
Carex tenuiculmis ‘Cappuccino’ consistently moist soil is needed- don’t let it dry out.

Peaches and Cream Verbena
or ‘Tuscany Peach’
Sun – Full Sun, dry to normal soil.

‘Sweet Caroline Purple’ Ipomoea batatas
or ‘Blackie’
Purple-leaved sweet potato vine needs normal water- don’t overwater. Trim when they get too vigorous and want to take over the world.


Superbells Dreamsicle Calibrachoa hybrid
Like the way this color punches up the petunia, and brings out the tints in the grass. Nice contrast with the ‘Sweet Caroline Purple’ sweet potato vine.

*Extra: ‘Van Houttei’ Salvia splendens for a strong vertical accent.

Love the subtlety of these colors inspired by the sight of the ‘Cappucino’ petunia. The sedge provides a graceful veil of harmonizing color for the flowers. Salvia splendens are always a long lasting, tough annual for sunny spaces. I prefer the more subtle shades, but the siren reds are beautiful, too.

Cappuccino colors

Plants in Cappuccino Sweets

Part Shade Hanging Planters of Gentle Peach

Warming up a Shady Porch

Hanging planter of 16″ filled with:

flower baskets

shade hanging baskets

‘Illumination Apricot’ Tuberous Begonia
Part shade, dry to normal moisture.

Flying Colors Coral Diascia
Plant Needs

  • Bloom Time: Planting to Hard Frost
  • Zones: Annual except in zones 7 – 10
  • Hardy Temp: 0 °F (-18 °C)
  • Exposure: Plant in sun or partial shade
  • Water Needs: Normal
  • Maintenance: Easy

Asparagus densiflorus ‘Sprengeri’
Plant care
dry to moist, part shade.

Helichrysum petiolaris (licorice plant). A trailing sub-shrub that spreads and has a graceful look. It has several variations – I used the golden variegation.

More on Annuals
Proven Winners plants
Color Theory for Gardens
Pretty container ideas from Tellys

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.