If you want a beautiful porch that will add tons of curb appeal to your home all you have to do is add plants. Most people, however make 3 crucial mistakes when it comes to potting plants on a covered porch or patio.
Mistake #1: You bought sun loving plants.
Most covered porches and patios are going to be shaded or at best partial sun. Make sure you pick plants that are shade tolerant for your porch. Flowering plants that are labeled full sun will quickly loose their flowers if placed in the shade.
Mistake #2: Your plants aren’t large enough.
When you are planting in a large garden bed you can cluster multiple plants together to get a large impact, but unless you have 20 pots on your front porch this technique isn’t going to work for you. You want your plants to be visible from the street, yard, or house so that you can enjoy them when you are not sitting on your porch. Also, if passerbys can’t see the plants from the road then they are not boosting your curb appeal. You have limited space on a porch, so make sure to pick plants that are large and lush looking. You can see from the picture below of our porch that while there are not a lot of plants they all make a dramatic impact from the street.
Mistake #3: You are not watering or fertilizing enough.
Pots have many benefits over gardens: no weeding, less space, can be placed on concrete. However, they do have one downfall: the suck up water and nutrients out of the soil since they can’t be replaced naturally through rain or organic decomposition. This means that your pots need to be watered and fertilized frequently. I find that once the summer heat hits my pots need to be watered everyday and since the ones on my porch do not receive rainfall that means I water them by hand. Typically fertilizing once every 1-2 weeks is fine or you can plant in Miracle Grow soil or use a slow release fertilizer.
Below are my 3 favorite plants to use on our covered porch. All do well in the shade, look beautiful and lush, and are easy to maintain.
Hostas are a mounding perennial that prefer shade to partial sun and produce purple flowers in late Spring. Many people don’t think to plant perennials in pots, but the major advantage of them is that with absolutely no work they come back every single Spring. In fact, Hostas require absolutely no work to maintain. One of my favorite things about Hostas is that you can split your stock. After a year or two if your plant is becoming rather large you can dig it up (preferably in the Fall) break it in two, and replant them as two separate plants. I’ve done this many times in my garden and they always come back beautiful, and well, hey who doesn’t like free plants? Hostas are planted for their foliage and will maintain their bright green leaves until winter (the flowers will die back after a couple of weeks). They come in many different varieties including variegated which you can see in my picture above.
Boston Ferns are another shade loving plant that is grown for it’s foliage. I hang 3 ferns in baskets on my porch every year, and they instantly add a vibrancy and lushness to an area that looked otherwise dead all winter. As tropical plants, ferns do well in the heat and won’t die back until the first frost.
My first two picks for the best plants for the porch were both green foliage and for good reason. They are large, lush, impressive, and won’t lose their vibrancy, but sometimes a little color is called for. My favorite flower to use on my porch is impatiens. Impatiens are shade loving and come in a variety of colors. Other than deadheading, watering , and fertilizing they do not need any extra care. They will bloom all spring and summer until the first frost hits. The variety I have planted above is called a New Guinea Impatiens and is a little more fancy than your typical run of the mill variety.
Well those are my top 3 choices for plants that do well on a covered porch. Keep in mind that I live is zone 7, so your success with some of these plants may vary depending where you live, but in general they are all pretty low maintenance. So tell me, what are you go to plants for covered areas?
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