10 Low-maintenance Outdoor Potted Plants That Do Well in Full Sun

Updated May 5th, 2024
outdoor pot plants in full sun that need low maintenance

Here are ten low-maintenance outdoor potted plants that thrive in full sun:

Sedum (Stonecrop)

Pink Sedum

Sedum, commonly known as Stonecrop, is an ideal choice for outdoor potted plants that thrive in full sun. Best planted in the spring, these succulent plants are renowned for their resilience and minimal watering needs. Sedum typically blooms from late summer into fall, offering extended periods of interest with their star-shaped flowers. Care for Sedum is straightforward: ensure it is in well-draining soil and it rarely needs watering unless there are extended periods of dryness. One tip for keeping Sedum healthy is to divide the plants every few years to prevent overcrowding and to promote vigorous growth.


Lavender in sun

Lavender is perfect for those looking for a fragrant, sun-loving plant. Plant lavender in early spring in a spot that receives full sun. This herb blooms mainly in late spring and summer, providing beautiful and aromatic purple flowers. Lavender requires well-drained soil and minimal watering once established, making it quite low-maintenance. To encourage a bushy growth and prevent woodiness, prune lavender annually in the early spring. Additionally, mulching with gravel can help reflect heat to the plant’s base and control moisture levels.


Red and pink Geraniums

Geraniums are favored for their bright and cheerful blooms that can handle full sun exposure. They should be planted in spring after the threat of frost has passed. Geraniums will bloom from spring until the first frost in fall if deadheaded regularly. They require well-draining soil and consistent watering, though they are tolerant of short dry spells. Fertilizing geraniums every two weeks during the growing season can help maintain their vibrant blooms. Also, removing faded flowers will encourage new blooms and extend their flowering period.

Portulaca (Moss Rose)

white red and pink Portulaca moss rose under full sun

Portulaca, or Moss Rose, is a drought-resistant succulent that thrives in hot, sunny conditions. It is best to plant Portulaca in the late spring, and it will bloom profusely throughout the summer months. Care for this plant involves minimal watering and planting in well-draining soil to prevent root rot. Portulaca flowers close at night and reopen with sunlight, so for best results, place them where they will receive maximum sun exposure. Pinching off spent blooms can also promote a fuller, more robust growth.


Petunias in a pot

Petunias are popular for their ability to bloom all summer long under full sun. Plant petunias in the spring in a location where they will receive at least six hours of sunlight daily. They require regular watering and benefit from weekly fertilization during the blooming period. Deadheading the spent blooms will encourage new flowers and extend the blooming season. Additionally, petunias may need occasional trimming back to keep them bushy and full.


purple Salvia outdoors

Salvia is an excellent plant for attracting pollinators and is well-suited to full-sun environments. Plant Salvia in the spring, and expect blooms from early summer into fall. Salvia prefers well-draining soil and requires occasional watering once established, particularly in dry conditions. Cutting back the plant after the first bloom can encourage a second bloom period later in the season. Additionally, Salvia is deer resistant, making it an excellent choice for gardens in areas with high deer populations.


yellow outdoor Marigolds in pot under sunlight

Marigolds are not only easy to care for but also excellent at repelling garden pests. These should be planted in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. They thrive in full sun and bloom from spring until fall. Marigolds need regular watering and well-draining soil. Deadheading spent blooms will encourage continued flowering. As an additional tip, consider planting marigolds near vegetable gardens as they can help deter pests.


Pink Zinnias

Zinnias are colorful flowers that love full sun and warm conditions. Plant them in the spring in a sunny spot and watch them bloom from early summer until the first frost. Zinnias are adaptable but prefer fertile, well-drained soil. They need watering just at the base to avoid leaf mildew, and frequent deadheading will promote more blooms. For taller varieties, staking might be necessary to keep them upright.


outdoor Verbena

Verbena is a vigorous plant that spreads out and covers the ground with lovely clusters of flowers. Plant it in early spring; it blooms throughout the summer and into fall. Verbena thrives in full sun and tolerates drought well, though it prefers regular watering during prolonged dry spells. To keep verbena looking its best, trim back the plant mid-season to encourage new growth and more blooms.

Echinacea (Coneflower)

Echinacea (Coneflower) in pot

Echinacea, or Coneflower, is favored for its medicinal properties and its ability to attract butterflies. Plant Echinacea in the spring in a sunny part of your garden. It blooms from early summer to fall, providing long-lasting color. Echinacea is drought-tolerant once established and thrives in well-drained soil. Deadheading spent flowers can extend blooming and prevent excessive self-seeding. Leaving some spent blooms on the plant in fall, however, can provide food for birds and add winter garden interest.

Comparison Chart

This chart provides a snapshot of when to plant each of these sun-loving potted plants, their bloom periods, water needs, and a few essential care tips along with any special notes that might be helpful.

Plant NamePlanting SeasonBloom PeriodWater NeedsCare TipsSpecial Notes
Sedum (Stonecrop)SpringLate summer to fallLowWell-draining soil, infrequent watering, divide every few yearsDrought-tolerant, great for rock gardens
LavenderEarly springLate spring to summerModerateWell-draining soil, prune annually, mulch with gravelAromatic, attracts bees and butterflies
GeraniumsSpringSpring to first frostModerate to highRegular watering, deadhead flowers, fertilize biweeklyColorful blooms, tolerates dry spells
Portulaca (Moss Rose)Late springSummerLowWell-draining soil, minimal watering, deadhead spent bloomsDrought-resistant, flowers close at night
PetuniasSpringSummerModerate to highRegular watering, weekly fertilization, deadhead spent bloomsRequires full sun for best blooming
SalviaSpringEarly summer to fallModerateWell-draining soil, occasional watering, cut back after first bloomAttracts pollinators, deer-resistant
MarigoldsSpringSpring to fallModerateRegular watering, well-draining soil, deadhead flowersPest-repellent properties
ZinniasSpringEarly summer to first frostModerate to highWell-draining soil, water at base to avoid mildew, deadhead regularlyColorful, tall varieties may need staking
VerbenaEarly springSummer to fallModerateRegular watering during dry spells, trim back mid-seasonSpreads and cascades, great for hanging baskets
Echinacea (Coneflower)SpringEarly summer to fallLow to moderateWell-draining soil, deadhead to prevent self-seeding, minimal wateringMedicinal properties, attracts wildlife

Among the plants listed, lavender is arguably my favorite potted plant to create the outdoor plant magic. I love the lavender’s beautiful purple blooms and soothing scent. Lavender thrives in full sun and well-drained soil, although in hotter climates, a bit of afternoon shade can be beneficial. Regarding soil conditions, lavender prefers low to moderately fertile soils, and it is best not to enrich the soil with organic matter prior to planting.

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