8 Best Outdoor Hanging Plants for Your Patio

Updated: Apr. 12, 2024

Running out of room for your garden? Go vertical! Here are some of our favorite plants for hanging baskets.

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Outdoor Hanging Plants xmee/Getty Images

Outdoor hanging plants are really any plant you choose to grow in a hanging planter. Some hanging baskets come pre-planted from the garden store; these can be mixed baskets or a single type of plant. Other hanging baskets come empty so you can fill them with whatever you like. You can even make a hanging planter out of recycled materials, like an old tire! Here’s what you need to know about tire planters.

“Hanging baskets add dimension to a garden. They draw your eye up,” says Lisa Eldred Steinkopf, a writer and blogger best known as the Houseplant Guru. While they’re most commonly used for ornamental plants, some people even grow strawberries, tomatoes and herbs in hanging planters. 

“There are plants that are easy for a new gardener to grow, but also plants that can present a challenge for a more experienced gardener looking for something different,” says Steinkopf. “The key is to ensure you have the right environment for the plant you want to grow.” Here are a few outdoor hanging plants to try for your home.

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Geranium Hanging Plant grbender/Getty Images

Geranium

Geraniums are lovely, low-maintenance flowers that are grown all over the U.S. They are well-known for their stunning red blooms, but they’re frequently sold in pink and white as well. These do well in containers, especially as outdoor hanging plants. They like plenty of sunlight. A full-sun patio is the perfect spot for a hanging geranium.

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Begonia Hanging Plant vaitekune/Getty Images

Begonia

Shady patios can have plenty of color with begonias. There are many species of shade-loving begonia with fabulous flowers and foliage. Some varieties, like the polka dot begonia, are all about the leaves, while others have delicate, showy blooms. Some types of begonias can even tolerate sun.

Not all begonias are well-suited to hanging planters, but a cascading begonia looks stunning as an outdoor hanging plant.

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Petunia Hanging Plant chert61/Getty Images

Petunia

Petunias are a summer favorite. Their cheerful trumpet-shaped blooms come in a variety of eye-catching colors and patterns. Petunias require deadheading to stay in good shape, but with proper care they’ll provide season-long color. If you love the look of trailing plants in outdoor hanging baskets, opt for a wave petunia.

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String Of Pearls Hanging Plants Jessica Ruscello/Getty Images

String of Pearls

For the warm climate gardener, a string of pearls makes a great outdoor hanging plant. These unique succulents look just as their name suggests — like a string of pearls. Small, spherical leaves dot its stems to create a beautiful trailing plant. Its vibrant green pearls look nice when paired with a white or cream pot.

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Fushcia Hanging Plant IKvyatkovskaya/Getty Images

Fuchsia

Fuchsia plants have incredible flowers. The common hardy fuchsia, also called hummingbird fuchsia, has vibrant blooms with white or purple centers. They bloom all season and are one of the best plants for attracting hummingbirds. Fuchsias do so well as hanging plants that they’re almost exclusively sold in baskets.

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Burros Tail Hanging Plant Iryna Imago/Getty Images

Burro’s Tail

It might be tough to find this plant at your local garden center, but you’ve likely seen a faux burro’s tail at a home décor store. A specialty succulent shop or website is most likely to have this lovely outdoor hanging plant. This type of sedum also does well indoors, so you can bring it inside when temperatures drop.

Burro’s tail is easy to propagate. You can find cuttings and starter plants on Etsy.

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Fern Hanging Plants work by Lisa Kling/Getty Images

Big, bushy ferns make elegant outdoor hanging plants. Hang some on a front porch to maximize curb appeal. Their wispy leaves grab attention as people walk by your home. Ferns do cascade over the edge of a hanging basket, but they’re full at the top, too. Thanks to their interesting leaves and incredible volume, ferns when planted alone look simple and sleek—never boring.

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Pothos Hanging Plant Kevin Brine/Getty Images

What to Look For When Buying Outdoor Hanging Plants

Pothos

Here’s another easy plant to propagate that can be grown indoors or outdoors. Pothos comes in many colors. Some varieties, like devil’s ivy, have bright, golden-green leaves, while others are a deep emerald and white variegation. If you’re someone who likes to root cuttings for friends, this is a good outdoor hanging plant for you.

Steinkopf says the first thing to do when shopping for outdoor hanging plants is to determine the exposure where you want to hang it. “Is it facing north, south, east, or west? Then check your surroundings to ensure nothing is blocking the light, such as a tree or overhang.”

Once you’ve figured out where you’re going to hang your plant, consider what it needs to thrive. “Don’t buy a shade plant for a sunny area,” says Steinkopf. “If you aren’t home a lot, don’t buy a plant that needs to be watered every day or sometimes twice a day.”

Why You Should Trust Us

As an assistant editor for Family Handyman, I regularly write about indoor and outdoor gardening, organization and décor. Outside of work, tending to my balcony garden is one of my favorite things to do.

To help me learn more about hanging planters, I consulted Lisa Eldred Steinkopf, who features all things houseplants on her blog the Houseplant Guru. An avid outdoor gardener, she has a regular column in Michigan Gardener magazine and gives lectures around the country about the importance of houseplants and how to care for them. She spent over ten years as the annuals and houseplants manager at Steinkopf Nursery and Garden Center and is a of numerous plant groups, including Garden Communicators International, the Michigan Cactus and Succulent Society, the Town and Country African Violet Society, the Southeast Michigan Bromeliad Societ and the Southeast Michigan Hardy Plant Society. 

How We Found the Best Hanging Plants

To find the best hanging plants, we relied on our ample gardening archives, pulling from years of research and experience on all things flora. Additionally, we consulted with industry expert Lisa Eldred Steinkopf and other gardening sources we regularly reach out to for their insider opinions. 

FAQ

What areas should you hang your plants in?

Steinkopf says you can hang your plants anywhere if the light is correct for your basket. Many use them on their porches or shepherd’s hooks to hang them in their gardens. 

Can you hang multiple plants together?

If you have a way to hang them together, yes! Many shepherd hooks have multiple hooks for plants. Just make sure your hooks can support the weight of your chosen hanging plants and baskets. 

How to take care of a hanging plant

“As a plant matures throughout the summer, it is imperative to fertilize it (my rule is every fourth watering) as some nutrients are washed from the potting medium every time it is watered,” says Steinkopf. “The roots will fill the container and as the summer progresses, your plant will need more water than it did when it was first purchased. Give it a trim to keep it looking full and healthy. If your basket begins to look tired later in the summer, replace it with a fresh new container for the late summer/fall.”