Skip to Content

Potting Up Perennials – How To Create Gorgeous, Low Cost Planters!

If you are looking for a great way to create amazingly beautiful planters without breaking the bank – you are going to love today’s article about potting up perennial plants. It truly is a great alternative to using short-lived and very expensive annuals for container plants!

Every year, gardeners spend a small fortune on flowering annuals for planting into pots, containers and baskets. And although they can certainly be beautiful, annuals can’t be saved when the temperatures turn cold.

Unfortunately, that means replacing the same containers with new plants year after year. And in the process, taking on the recurring cost as well!

potting perennials
Hosta plants are one of the easiest perennials of all to grow in pots. They add big color to shaded porches, patios and more. Best of all, they can be planted into the landscape each fall and used again the following year.

Keeping The Garden Budget In Check

That was certainly a problem we faced here on the farm. With well over 20+ planters of all shapes and sizes to plant, it took a sizable bite from our garden budget each year.

That is, until we discovered the art of using perennials in pots, baskets and containers. Not only do perennials add all kinds of interesting color, foliage and blooms to planters, they also can be used year after year. And best of all, entirely for free!

When it comes right down to it, there are so many incredible perennials that make great container plants. Whether you need plants for full sun, partial sun, or the shadier areas of your landscape, there is a perennial that will fill the need.

agapnthus blue - perennial
There are so many perennials that pot up easily to give greenery and color to all areas of the landscape. Here, Agapanthus Blue, a member of the lily family, is grown in containers to brighten up a patio area.

With each passing year, we have added more and more perennials in pots and containers to the farm. Not only has it saved a small fortune, it also has become quite the conversation piece with visitors. And it all came about by accident!

Potting Up Perennials – An Accidental Discovery

A few years back, we created a holding bed in late autumn after dividing some of our overgrown perennials. We intended to use the new plants the following spring to to create a few new flowerbeds, or to fill in a few open spaces in existing beds to help eliminate weeds. (See: 3 Simple Secrets To Weed Free Flowerbeds)

The following spring, it just so happened we were asked to host an early season event at the farm. In Ohio, there is little in bloom in early May, and things can look a bit sparse until it warm up. And one thing was for sure, we really didn’t want to plant our usual annual flowers into baskets that early and risk a frost.

On a whim, we decided to pot up some of the perennials that were in the holding beds. By early May, these and many other perennials are already sprouting their beautiful foliage.

perennials in pots - lavender
Perennial herbs such as lavender are another great choice for planting into containers. Lavender even adds a nice scent to the surrounding area as well.

We figured it was a great way to add instant color and texture at zero cost. And, we knew we could always transplant them after the event into beds around the farm.

The Perfect Fit – Why Perennial Plants Are A Great Choice For Container Plants

We started with 4 big hosta plants in large pots to place on the covered back porch. Loving shade, they looked great in the pots, and thrived in the location. Next, we potted up a few red and green coral bell plants with their bright leafy foliage and wispy blooms.

After the event, the plants continued to thrive in their pots. And honestly, they looked absolutely wonderful in the pots. So much so, that we decided to keep them in their pots all season. It turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made.

Hosta plants are wonderful for providing foliage and color to shady porches and patios. They transplant quickly and by adding different varieties, you can create quite the display.

Not only did they stay gorgeous all summer and fall long, they also were so much easier to care for than our annuals! We then began to add more perennials to pots that bloomed continuously.

Perennials such as blanketflower, candytuft and bellflower are excellent choices for pots. With blooms that last all summer long, it’s just like having annuals in your containers.

And other perennials, such as shasta daisies, sedum and coneflower can be potted up during their 3 to 4 week blooming cycle for even more seasonal color. When they finish blooming, we simply plant them back into the landscape.

The Advantages Of Planting Perennials In Containers

The advantages of planting perennials in containers are many. For starters, they do not require massive amounts of expensive potting soil. In fact, we pot our perennials up with an equal mix of 1/3 garden soil, compost, and potting soil. That is a big savings on filling the pots entirely with expensive mixes.

There simply isn’t a need for as many nutrients when potting perennials vs.annuals. And likewise, they also don’t require constant watering. In fact, unlike our annual baskets that need water nearly every day (sometimes twice during hot weather), our perennial potted plants can usually go two days without any care at all.

And if that isn’t enough, most perennials will perform well with little to no fertilizer. But best of all, and what makes perennials in pots so amazing, is that at the end of the year, you simply plant them down into a flowerbed to use again the following year. All for free – year after year!

Potting Up Perennials – The Endless Possibilities

Potting up perennials has turned into somewhat of a passion for us. In the last few years, we have added to our perennial list of plants we pot up with another cost effective method – purchasing smaller-size perennials at garden centers in the early spring.

Buying small perennials for potting up is a great way to save money. Unlike annuals, they can be planted again and again. Perennials like this blanketflower will actually bloom all season long.

Early in the season, perennial plants are everywhere in garden centers. And the smaller-size perennials are usually much more inexpensive. They really make for great first and second year plants for potting up. Even better, they can be split at the end of a year or two’s growth to create even more.

It is an excellent way to start potting up perennials, even if you don’t have many on hand in your beds already.

Here is to using perennials in your pots and containers this year, and saving big! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary

Jim and Mary Competti have been writing gardening, DIY and recipe articles and books for over 15 years from their 46 acre Ohio farm. The two are frequent speakers on all things gardening and love to travel in their spare time.

As always, feel free to email us at with comments, questions, or to simply say hello! You can sign up for our free email list in the subscribe now box in the middle of this article. Follow us on Facebook here : OWG Facebook. This article may contain affiliate links.