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The Best Pot Plants: Our Ultimate Guide for both Indoor and Outdoor (Part 3)

Pots of Geraniums - one of the best pot plants

This is the third part in our series on the best pot plants for the home, whether indoor or out. The plants in this post are all easy-to-care-for, low maintenance house plants.

To read part one in our series, please click here. To read part two please click here.

We also suggest that you also check out our introductory article: Smart Tips for Growing Healthy Pot Plants at Home

The following plants continue our theme of promoting easy-to-care-for, low maintenance house plants:

Geranium – easy care house plants

You can’t really talk about the best pot plants and not mention Geraniums. Geraniums are an old favourite to grow as house plants

Geraniums are an easy care plant as they do not need much in the way of nutrients or watering.  Flower colours are many… almost any colour you can imagine.   Whites, purples, reds, pinks etc. 

When growing Geraniums in pots, it is best to grow these plants in a quality potting mix.  Cheap potting mixes tend to reduce the longevity and vigour of the plants.  Also, it is advisable to use a slow release fertiliser in your potting mix.  The regular use of liquid fertilisers will enhance growth and flowers. 

Geranium pot plants are best suited to warm dry climates, mainly temperate regions.  To grow your Geraniums in pots, find a hot sunny spot in the garden or on a patio.  They also do well in hanging baskets or in pots up against a hot wall.  In a good spot your Geranium should flower almost all year.

Care of Geranium pot plants: 

To care for your Geranium provide sufficient nutrients and prune when growth becomes way-ward.  Pruning is important as it will strengthen stems and makes the shrub bushy, and this increases the numbers of flowers. 

Water now and then in summer and reduce watering in winter.  Plants can rot off if sitting in too much water.  Major pests of Geraniums in pots are Curl grubs and some caterpillars will attack leaves. Generally pests are not an issue with Geraniums. 

You can keep Geraniums in pots for 5 years plus in good conditions.

Ivy Geranium – a flowering house plant

It can be hard to find a pot plant that has pretty flowers and is easy care, but Ivy geraniums tick all the boxes. 

In fact Ivy Geranium potted plants seem to thrive in hot dry conditions, with little care or water.  The leaves of Ivy geraniums are thick and waxy compared to other Geraniums and have a glossy finish.  The plant can grow as a vine if tied, or it can sprawl over the ground, or over the edge of a pot. 

Ivy Geraniums have three main flower colours, red, pink and white.  Ivy Geraniums make a great display in hanging baskets with masses of flowers flowing down over the edge of the pot. 

Some gardeners prefer to have a number of pots with the three flower colours, however using a mass planting of a single colour is stunning.  Ivy geraniums grow best In Mediterranean, temperate and warm temperate regions, but they will also grow in cool temperate areas in a hot corner protected from heavy frosts. 

Care of Ivy Geranium pot plants: 

Ivy Geraniums will grow in small pots or hanging baskets in a good quality, well drained, potting mix.  Use a slow release fertiliser in your mix and or use a liquid fertiliser once a month for best flowering.

When caring for your Ivy Geranium pot plants, give your plants a trim any time of year if they begin to grow long and wayward.  You can use the trimmings to make new plants as Ivy Geraniums grow well from cuttings. 

Ivy Geraniums are a joy to grow and will stay happily in a pot for many years, making one of the best pot plants for the home gardener.

Ixora, Prince of orange – a shade house plant

“Prince of Orange” or Ixora is a subtropical plant that looks great as a potted house plant. 

If grown in a warm climate Ixora will flower continuously through out the year, in cooler climates it will flower in spring and summer months.  The great thing about Ixora plants is that they will grow and flower in shaded spots, so making them a good pot plant for patios and verandas’.

It is this versatility that makes them one of the best pot plants.

Naturally Ixora will grow into a medium sized shrub, so they are best suited to pots over 30cm wide and larger.  Best climates for Ixora are tropical, warm temperate and temperate climates. 

“Prince of Orange” pot plants develop masses of burnt orange flowers on the end of each stem.  There are other colours available in Ixora plants, including reds and whites.

Ant on orange ixora flowers - one of the best pot plants

Care of  Ixora “Prince of Orange” pot plants: 

“Prince of Orange” and Ixora plants generally, are easy care plants when grown in the right climate, and make a great house pot plant.  It is important to use a good potting mix when planting.  Azalea/Camellia mix is a suitable potting mix as it is well drained and slightly acid in nature. 

Fertilise your Ixora, Prince of Orange pot plant with a slow release fertiliser plus give liquid fertiliser in the growing season once every two weeks.  If you find your plant lacking vigour it is usually a result of insufficient NPK fertiliser or insufficient light.  Ixora plants grow well in bright diffused light and in some climates will grow with some sun during the day. 

Plants may need a tip prune as plants age, this is best done during the growing season.  Ixora plants will live around 10 years plus in a pot under good conditions.

Agave attenuata – an easy care house plant

At GreenFingers we recently had an animated discussion as the easiest pot plant to grow at home and Agaves came top of the list for low maintenance and trouble-free gardening.

Agave pot plants are not only low maintenance,  they require very little water to grow.  They are also very adaptable, growing from full sun to semi-shade situations.  This makes them the perfect veranda or patio pot plant. 

Being a member of the succulent family,  Agave attenuata thrives in hot dry conditions and climates.  If you are looking for a plant which needs little attention, but still looks great in a pot plant, then Agave are a good choice. 

Agave will grow in an extended climatic zone, from cool temperate up to subtropical climates.  They will even grow in areas with high rainfall, which is unusual for a succulent plant.

Care of Agave pot plants: 

Agave house plants do best in full sun to semi-shade conditions.  A single Agave attenuate plant can grow to around 60cm wide in good conditions, so use a large low pot if possible. 

It is best to use a succulent style potting mix, which is high in gravel and sands to grow your Agave in pots.  However they seem to grow in almost any well drained potting mix.  We find that using a slow release fertiliser is excellent for potted Agave.

Agave plants take root easily and usually can be transplanted without complications.  Cuttings of Agave usually entail taking a single stem (with leaf) from an old sprawling plant. Agave can live for many decades in pots. 

Rhoeo spathacea dwarf Moses in the cradle

Bright and colourful are two words which describe the next entry in our list of the best pot plants – Rhoeo.

They are also easy to care for. Rhoeo spathacea dwarf (Moses in the cradle) is an unusual plant as it has purple and green foliage.  This unusual leaf colour has made Rhoeo a popular potted plant. 

Due to the small size of this plant they can be grown in small pots and used as table decorations. 

Rhoeo (Moses in the cradle) is a succulent plant and has soft, upright leaves.  Being a succulent it requires very little water to grow. 

Moses in the cradle is best suited to full sun to part shade positions.  Best climates for Rhoeo are subtropical, temperate and warm temperate regions. 

These plants love warm dry spots in the garden, however regions with frosts in winter should be avoided.  Rhoeo is burnt substantially by frosts, however when they are grown under cover in these regions they do well.

Care of Rhoeo “Moses in the cradle” pot plants: 

Caring for your Rhoeo is a breeze.  Pot your plant in a good quality, well drained, potting mix.  Use a slow release fertiliser in your mix or use a liquid fertiliser once a month. Water now and then, but avoid excessive watering.  Plants can die-back if over watered. 

Pests are not usually a problem in pots, however snails can damage leaves.  Moses in the cradle plants will live around two years in a pot, by pruning off leaves at the base annually will refresh foliage and extend the life of your Rhoeo.

Phormium tenax sp New Zealand Flax house plants

Flax plants make great colourful and low maintenance garden plants.  Flax plants also make excellent outdoor potted plants. 

To grow your flax plants in pots to best advantage, grow them in full sun positions.  However, in some warmer climates, they grow equally well in semi-shade spots. 

Flax plants have arching leaves that grow from the base.  They can be used in all sorts of garden styles, but are particularly suited to modern, low maintenance gardens.

Flax plants or Phormium, come in various colours from greens to reds and even blacks.  They also come in various sizes, from varieties that are only 30cm tall, to varieties as tall as 3m.  Make sure that when you pick a Flax plant you choose one that Is the right size for your pot. 

Flax have a fine matted root system which make them excellent in pots.  They can grow in a variety of pot sizes including small pots, however they will grow out of these in a short period. 

If your Flax plant looks like it has out-grown your pot,  then it is an easy process of removing it from the pot and dividing it.   Each divided clump will grow into a new plant.  Pot your Flax into a well-drained rich potting mix and use a slow release fertiliser.

One of the best pot plants - Phormium, Phormium tenax Variegatum or New Zealand flax shrub

Care of Flax pot plants: 

Flax (Phormium) plants are generally easy care house pot plants.  They are quite hardy and can grow well without much water.  However, during very hot dry periods potted Flax have a tendency to die back to conserve water.  To keep your potted flax looking good water your Flax plants well in hot weather.  

Flax plants grow best in warm temperate, temperate and cool temperate regions and can withstand moderate frosts in most cases.

Flax generally do not get many pests.  However Curl grubs and Mealybugs can attack plants. 

Phorumium flax plants can grow in pots for many years in good conditions.

Are you interested in Growing Roses in Pots? See our Guide.

Azalea – a colourful house plant

Azalea pot plants are an old favourite potted garden plant in temperate and cool temperate climates.  

When in flower they make a stunning feature. Azaleas flower from Autumn to Spring (southern hemisphere).   There are many varieties flowering at different stages over this period. Flower colours range from white to reds and there are even purple varieties too. 

Azalea potted plants are suited to growing outdoors in semi-shade to full sun positions, depending on variety.  There are full sun varieties and shade growing varieties.   Azaleas are best suited to growing in out-door spaces or under a tree. 

Grow your Azalea in a medium to larger pot, use a good quality potting mix and the use of a slow release fertiliser a must.

Care of Azalea pot plants: 

Care for your Azalea house plant by watering regularly in summer and use a liquid fertiliser every two weeks.   A seaweed based tonic can also enhance growth and flowering, especially for plants that are lacking vigour.  

The major pest of Azalea plants is “Azalea lace wing” and also “Spider mite”.   Both these pests can be controlled by using systemic insecticides available from your local plant Garden centre.   When treating for these insects, it is important to start before the insects attack if possible, to avoid leaf damage.  Consult your local  plant nursery for information on the active period of these insect pests.  

Azalea plants will live for a number of years in a pot.


The Best Pot Plants: Our Ultimate Guide for both Indoor and Outdoor (Part 4)

The Best Pot Plants: Our Ultimate Guide for both Indoor and Outdoor (Part 5)

The Best Pot Plants: Our Ultimate Guide for both Indoor and Outdoor (Part 6)

The Best Pot Plants: Our Ultimate Guide for both Indoor and Outdoor (Part 7)

The Best Pot Plants: Our Ultimate Guide for both Indoor and Outdoor (Part 8)

The Best Pot Plants: Our Ultimate Guide for both Indoor and Outdoor (Part 9)

The Best Pot Plants: Our Ultimate Guide for both Indoor and Outdoor (Part 10)

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