Top ten plants for small gardens

By Jessica Mcnamara

Mar 2, 2021

Hands planting planter with garden plants

Just because you have a small garden, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful outdoor space. There are plenty of simple small garden design ideas to transform your outdoor space. Here we will look at ten of the best potted garden plants for small gardens.  

 Red Geranium flowering plant in small garden


Geraniums are a long-time favourite of gardeners and make popular summer bedding plants in the garden. Plant Geranium indoors or outside in hanging baskets and patio containers. Growing Geranium plants is easy if you can give them what they need.  

Geranium plants will produce attractive and vibrant colours, with large blooms and neat foliage, are drought tolerant and emit lovely scents. They are happy in both the sun and shade. They keep producing beautiful blooms throughout the season in a lovely variety of bright colours above sculpted leaves.  

Dahlia flowering garden plants in hanging baskets


Grow Dahlias in your small modern garden for gorgeous, colourful flowers that bloom from midsummer through Autumn, when many other plants are past their best. You must expect your container plants to be without colour until bloom time however, the foliage can provide a nice architectural structure in a mixed planting in a large pot.  

With varieties for beds, borders and containers, dahlias are moderately easy to grow, and very rewarding when they flower. They range in size from small to gigantic. Fill out dry, sunny spots in your garden with Dahlia plants for beautiful blooms throughout the summer. Copes well with hot, dry weather, but thrives in any condition (it’s a good job given that hot British summers are hard to come by sometimes!). 
 Bright orange calendula garden plant


Calendula flowers are commonly used in annual flower beds and container gardening. Gardeners grow these flowering plants for their joyful flowers and profuse blooming habit. Though they are most commonly seen in varieties with yellow and orange flowers, they are also more subtle shade of pink and cream available.  

Calendula are frost tolerant and add long-lasting colour and beauty in a flower bed or container. Daisy-like flowerheads in a vivid shade of orange, create a wonderful display when they appear in abundance above the softly hairy, aromatic leaves. Easy and quick to grow, it is a great choice for a children's garden or adding colour from Spring through till early Autumn.  
 Pink begonia flowering garden plant


Having bright potted flowering plants in the garden can make it look attractive both for you and people who visit. There is nothing like a bright plant pot filled with begonias by the front door to welcome your guests and also make the house look great when people walk past. Begonias are among the most popular of cultivated plants, indoors or outdoors.  

Fantastic in plant pots, beds, and cascading from hanging baskets, begonias provide continuous colour throughout the summer until the first frosts. They are easy to care for and all grow well in partial shade, and available in a wide range of beautiful colours.  
 Coleus garden plants in small garden


Coleus plants have some of the most stunningly coloured foliage in combinations of green, yellow, pink, red and much more. Coleus is a fantastic plant for adding colour to your garden or home, especially in those dark, drab-looking corners. A member of the mint family, it's not known for its flowers, but for its beautiful and vividly coloured leaves which come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  

This means that no matter what area you are looking to put coleus, you can find one that will be perfect. Extremely well suited to growing in containers. They love the heat but will happily grow as annuals in just about any garden. These lovely foliage plants give us all-season colour in full sun, shade, and everything in between and are the ultimate low-maintenance outdoor potted plant.  

Pink Petunia flowering garden plants in hanging baskets


These colourful annuals can offer long term colour to a front lawn and are often used to brighten dreary borders, containers, hanging baskets or even seasonal groundcover. Pretty petunias are treated as annuals because of their long flowering period. Proper petunia care is simple and easy. The flowers come in many colours and patterns, and bloom from spring until frost! Choose a trailing variety to create an impressive mass of colour in your hanging baskets – Petunias really are the gift that keep on giving! 
 White nemesia garden plant in garden bed


With a flowering season lasting months, these are invaluable for bedding but best in containers and baskets. Pairing Nemesia in a bed with other seasonal plants such as Osteopermums and Diascias can create a summer-long display. When temperatures are mild, the plant produces so many flowers that they almost completely obscure the foliage. 
 Gerbera garden plant being held by gardener with gardening gloves


Gerbera daisies are commonly grown for their bright and cheerful daisy-like flowers. Gerbera daisies are so vividly coloured that it sometimes makes you wonder if they are real!. Available in various sizes and colours including pink, yellow, salmon, orange and white. Gerbera daisies can be grown from seed outdoors in both containers and garden beds, but they are not frost-hardy.  
 Fuchsia garden plants in small garden


Either planted as annuals and discarded as the weather turns cold or brought indoors and nursed in bright light and controlled conditions over the winter because they are very sensitive to cold. Fuchsias produce dozens of brightly coloured teardrop-shaped flowers, and they do well in the shady conditions where most plants struggle.  
Great for hanging baskets with their elegant, drooping flowers hanging down. They also look fantastic in almost any container garden. Fuchsias look lovely in a pot on their own but also go well with begonias, lobelia, or coleus.  
 African Daisy garden plant growing

African Daisy 

Often used as a front of border plant or annual bedding, Osteospermums also make great container plants. There is a huge variety of colours available to choose from and the vibrant daisy flowers are good for attracting pollinators. African daisies are a brilliant choice for long-lasting, colour blooms through the summer and into the autumn. 
Watch these beautiful blooms close up every evening as the sky gets darker, and then reopen again the following morning, or choose an impressive double-flowered variety for added colour and a bloom that remains open all day and night.  
You can still make your garden fabulous with these plants, even if it is on the small side.  Now you know the best plants for small gardens, buy your potted plants online here to get started!