Elevate Your Garden: What to Plant in Tall Planters

Tall planters can effectively accentuate the beauty of outdoor or indoor spaces while providing ample room for an array of plants. Choosing the right plants for these towering containers may seem like a daunting task, but having a diverse selection of plants can create a visually stunning display. This article aims to help garden enthusiasts select the most suitable plants for a tall planter and provide tips on how to maximize their potential.

One key factor to consider when choosing plants for tall planters is their growth habits. Plants that naturally grow tall or have a trailing growth habit can add height and dimension to the planter, creating a balanced and eye-catching focal point. It’s essential to blend a variety of plants, mixing tall plants with those that cascade or spill over the edges of the planter to create depth and visual interest.

Additionally, it’s crucial to combine plants with corresponding water and light requirements, as the tall planters will house multiple plants in a shared space. This compatibility ensures that all plants thrive harmoniously in their environment without one out-competing another for resources. In the following sections, we’ll explore noteworthy plant options that are excellent choices for tall planters, along with tips for their care and maintenance.

Benefits of Planting in Tall Planters

Tall planters offer numerous advantages over traditional planting methods. Some of the key benefits are:

  • Better Drainage: Tall planters elevate the plants, which allows excess water to drain away more effectively. This helps prevent root rot and other water-related issues.

  • Improved Soil Quality: By utilizing a high-quality potting soil in tall planters, gardeners can provide the optimum garden soil conditions for their plants, free of contaminants and with the perfect balance of nutrients, aeration, and moisture retention.

  • Ease of Maintenance: Gardeners can more easily access their plants for pruning, watering, or pest control in tall planters. This naturally leads to healthier plants and improved yields.

Tall planters also contribute to a more ergonomic gardening experience. The following list details some of the ergonomic advantages:

  1. Less Bending: Tall planters reduce strain on the back, knees, and joints by minimizing the need to bend down repeatedly.

  2. Accessible for Seniors or Disabled Individuals: Raised planters make gardening possible for those with limited mobility or other health issues.

  3. Child-friendly: Introducing children to gardening becomes easier and safer when using tall planters, as they won’t be in direct contact with potentially harmful materials like chemicals or pests.

In terms of aesthetics and environmental benefits, tall planters stand out as well. They offer:

  • Visual Appeal: Tall planters can serve as focal points and add dimension to any garden or outdoor space, creating a more dynamic, visually engaging area.

  • Space-saving Design: Vertical gardening with tall planters maximizes the use of limited space, making it possible to grow beautiful plants in small areas such as balconies or patios.

  • Urban Gardening Opportunities: City dwellers, who typically have limited outdoor space, can practice urban gardening with tall planters to grow fresh produce and ornamental plants.

  • Temperature and Pest Control: Tall planters create microclimates, providing plants with improved temperature control and reducing exposure to pests.

These benefits make a tall planter a popular choice for gardeners who appreciate innovative gardening techniques, ergonomic design, and the opportunity to make the most of limited outdoor spaces.

Choosing the Right Plants for Your Tall Planter

Consider Plant Height

When selecting plants for tall planters, considering the plant’s eventual height is crucial. It is essential to choose plants that will not outgrow the planter itself or become top-heavy.

  • Short plants (12-18 inches): petunias, geraniums, impatiens

  • Medium-height plants (18-36 inches): dwarf sunflowers, salvias, coleus

  • Tall plants (over 36 inches): dahlia, canna lilies, tall grasses

Make sure to take into account the height and width of each species for a balanced aesthetic.

Factor in Root Depth

The depth of the planter should accommodate the root systems of the chosen plants. Plants with shallow roots may struggle in tall planters, while deep-rooted plants will appreciate the extra soil and space. Here are some examples:

  • Shallow-rooted plants (up to 6 inches deep): lettuce, wildflowers, annuals

  • Medium-rooted plants (6-18 inches deep): tomatoes, peppers, most perennials

  • Deep-rooted plants (over 18 inches deep): small trees, shrubs, tall grasses

Do research and provide a rooting environment appropriate for your plants to ensure they thrive.

Selecting Sun-Loving Varieties

There are numerous sun-loving plant varieties that will do well in tall planters with proper drainage. Be sure to place the planter in a spot that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Annuals Perennials Grasses Petunias Lavender Blue fescue Zinnias Black-eyed Susan Japanese blood grass Calibrachoa Coneflowers Fountain grass

These sun-loving species are ideal for creating a thriving, colorful display in tall planters.

Finding Shade-Tolerant Plants

For shady areas, there are many shade-tolerant plants that will do well in tall planters. These are plants that can tolerate less than 4 hours of sunlight per day. Be sure to provide adequate drainage, as damp soil can lead to root rot or fungal issues.

  • Annuals: impatiens, begonias, lobelia

  • Perennials: hostas, fern varieties, coral bells

  • Grasses: Japanese forest grass, sedges

Shade-tolerant plants offer a lush and textured choice for areas with limited sun exposure.

Design Principles for Your Tall Planter

Creating Visual Interest

When it comes to your plant pots, it is important to create visual interest. Start by selecting plants that vary in height, from tall to medium and short. This creates a sense of depth and draws the eye through the planter. Include a focal point, such as a striking or dramatic plant, to anchor the arrangement. Lastly, incorporate plants with contrasting forms, such as vertical grasses, mounding flowers, and trailing vines.

Combining Textures and Colors

Combining textures and colors is another critical aspect of designing tall planters. Utilize different leaf textures, from large and smooth to small and frilly, to create a visually engaging arrangement. Additionally, play with color combinations to create a cohesive and harmonious look. Here are some winning color combinations:

  • Cool Tones: blues, purples, and whites

  • Warm Tones: reds, oranges, and yellows

  • Monochromatic: shades of the same color family

Plant Layering Techniques

In tall planters, it’s essential to use plant layering techniques to ensure that each plant receives appropriate sunlight and space. A simple layering method is:

  1. Place tall plants in the back or center of the tall planter depending on its placement against a wall or in an open space.

  2. Arrange medium-height plants around the tall plants.

  3. Position short plants or ground covers in the front or around the edges.

Following these design principles will help create visually appealing tall planters with a diverse mix of textures, colors, and heights that keep the interest of onlookers.

Best Plants for A Tall Planter

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses are a perfect addition to tall planters due to their height, texture, and low maintenance requirements. Some popular options include:

  • Miscanthus sinensis: This tall, feathery grass reaches 3 to 8 feet in height and adds a touch of elegance to any planter.

  • Pennisetum setaceum: Commonly known as Fountain Grass, it grows up 2 to 3 feet tall with beautiful arching plumes.

  • Calamagrostis x acutiflora: Also known as Feather Reed Grass, it can reach up to 5 feet in height and provides a strong vertical element in planters.

Small Shrubs

Small, compact shrubs can look great in tall containers and add structure and interest throughout the year. Consider these options:

Shrub Height Special Features Buxus sempervirens (Boxwood) 2-4 feet Evergreen, easy to shape Ilex crenata (Japanese Holly) 2-5 feet Evergreen, small leaves, similar to boxwood Hydrangea paniculata (Dwarf Hydrangea) 2-3 feet Large, showy flowers during summer

Flowering Perennials

Add color and excitement to your tall planter by incorporating flowering perennials. Some excellent choices include:

  1. Echinacea purpurea (Coneflower) – Vibrant flowers in shades of pink, red, and yellow attract butterflies and bees.

  2. Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susan) – These hardy perennials provide a stunning display of yellow or orange flowers with dark centers.

  3. Salvia nemorosa (Woodland Sage) – Spikes of purple, blue, or white flowers mix well with other tall plants and create visual contrast.

Trailing Vines

To soften the edges and create a lush appearance in tall garden planters, try adding trailing vines like the ones below:

  • Hedera helix (English Ivy): A versatile and adaptable evergreen vine, it forms a dense, trailing foliage that adds an interesting texture.

  • Lysimachia nummularia (Creeping Jenny): A fast-growing, low-maintenance vine with round, golden leaves that contrast with the other plants in the planter.

  • Petunia (Trailing Petunias): These classic, colorful flowers cascade from planters and provide a splash of color throughout the growing season.

Plant Care in Tall Pots

Watering Strategies

When it comes to watering plants in your tall planter, the key is to ensure consistent and even moisture. Different plants have various water requirements, so consider the following strategies:

  • Use a water gauge: Insert a water gauge into the soil to monitor moisture levels. It helps determine when it’s time to water your plants.

  • Consider self-watering planters: These planters contain a reservoir that provides water to the plants, reducing the watering frequency and ensuring consistent moisture.

  • Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch on the planter’s surface to help retain moisture and reduce evaporation loss.

Fertilizing Tips

It’s essential to provide proper nutrients to plants (especially indoor plants) in tall planters to ensure their growth and health. Follow these tips to fertilize your plants correctly:

  1. Choose the right fertilizer for tall pots: Select a fertilizer based on the specific nutritional needs of your plants (e.g., an all-purpose fertilizer or one formulated for specific plant types like succulents or flowering plants).

  2. Follow instructions: Always read the product label and follow the recommended application rates and frequency.

  3. Incorporate slow-release fertilizer: Slow-release fertilizers provide nutrients over an extended period, reducing the need for frequent applications.

Pruning and Maintenance

Taking care of your plants in tall planters includes routine pruning and maintenance. Below are some essential maintenance tips for plant owners:

  • Pruning: Remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches/plant roots to promote healthy growth. Make clean, angled cuts, and disinfect pruning tools between uses.

  • Pest control: Keep an eye out for pests, and apply organic or chemical pest remedies as needed. Be careful not to harm beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and bees.

  • Deadheading: Remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms and maintain a tidy appearance.

Seasonal Planting Guide for Tall Planters

Spring Favorites

During spring, consider planting tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths in your tall planters, as they provide beautiful colors and fragrances. Place bulbs at least 6 inches deep to ensure proper growth and plant health.

For foliage and texture, add ferns or hostas to your arrangement. These plants grow well in various lighting conditions and can fill in empty spaces effectively.

Summer Standouts

When summer arrives, your tall planter can shine with sunflowers and cannas. Choose sunflower varieties such as Sunzilla or Russian Giant for impressive height. On the other hand, cannas provide stunning foliage and blossoms in shades of red, orange, or yellow.

If you prefer lush greenery, plant grasses like Purple Fountain Grass or Blue Lyme Grass. These add movement and texture to your design.

Autumn Options

As autumn approaches, swap out your summer standouts for seasonal options in your tall planters. Ornamental kale, chrysanthemums, and asters bring delightful colors to your autumn display.

Incorporate grasses such as Feather Reed Grass or Switchgrass for added texture. Along with the grasses, add pumpkins and gourds for an even more festive touch.



Tall planters offer a unique opportunity to transform any space into a flourishing green haven. With the right selection of plants, these versatile containers can elevate the aesthetic appeal of gardens, patios, and indoor areas alike. By understanding the specific needs of different plants – from sun-loving flowers to shade-tolerant foliage – gardeners can create stunning, multi-dimensional displays that not only catch the eye but also thrive in their environment.

The beauty of tall planters lies in their ability to blend functionality with style, offering better drainage, easier maintenance, and ergonomic benefits. Whether you’re looking to make a bold statement with towering ornamentals, craft a serene green corner with lush ferns, or experiment with vibrant floral arrangements, tall planters provide the perfect canvas. This guide has explored the vast possibilities and practical tips for making the most of these gardening gems. By applying these insights, you can transform tall planters into vibrant, living sculptures, adding a touch of nature’s artistry to your everyday spaces.