Best Outdoor Plants for Small Spaces

No space? No problem.

Small Balcony with plants and wooden folding chair and table

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While it is the dream of many gardeners to have acres of land to grow their favorite plants, the reality for many is much less square footage in which to create their outdoor oasis. However, it’s possible to grow a variety of outdoor plants even in small spaces such as city balconies, patios, and those postage stamp-sized suburban lots. Here are the best outdoor plants for small spaces, recommended by the pros.

Red mandevilla blooms on leafy green vine

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Mandevilla Vine

Kaylyn Hewitt, lead floral designer at The Bouqs Co (yes, The Bouqs is known for flowers, but they also offer a variety of plants), tells me, “There are so many good plants you can grow in a small outdoor spaces. Do not let size keep you from enjoying gardening.” 

One of the plants she recommends trying to grow in smaller spaces is a mandevilla vine, especially for those with limited gardening experience. “For those new to gardening, I would suggest this plant for its hardiness and fullness,” she explains.

An Herb Garden

One of the best things to grow in a small outdoor space is an herb garden, according to Hewitt. “This way you have fresh herbs for cooking and something to attract butterflies, she explains.

This is also a great way to reduce grocery bills and always have something fresh on hand to add to recipes. All you need are small planters that can even be hung from windows and balconies. 

Tomato Plants

Along the same lines, Hewitt is a proponent of growing tomato plants, especially for amateur gardeners. “Tomatoes are easy, and one plant will yield a ton of fruit,” she explains. It's easy to experiment with growing different varieties, whether cherry, plum, or grape tomatoes. The best part: you'll always have a fresh tomato ready for your next BLT.

Bird's Nest Fern plant in pink pot

The Bouqs Co

Bird’s Nest Ferns

If your outdoor space is small and shaded, Hewitt recommends growing a Bird’s Nest Fern, which can be purchased pre-potted in a chic pink pot. As the plant begins to thrive, it can be replanted in a larger pot and the smaller pot can be used to plant something else. 


Monstera plants have been trendy for a while now. These beauties are sometimes called Swiss cheese plants because the holes in the heart-shaped leaves allow light to pass through to any smaller leaf babies toward the bottom. 

Ideal for shaded areas such as city balconies, direct sunlight should be avoided when growing monstera to prevent the leaves from becoming scorched. However, these plants still need to be kept in relatively warm environments with temperatures above 55°F (preferably 65 to 78°F). So, if you live in a very cold climate, it’s probably best to keep your plant indoors during the winter. 

Alocasia Bambino plant with variegated leaves

The Sill

Alocasia Bambino (And Other Houseplants)

In addition to monstera, many other indoor plants can be grown outside in smaller spaces, according to The Sill's plant expert Paris Lalicata. “The best plants for small spaces outdoors include some of our favorite houseplants like the alocasia bambino, ZZ plant, calathea rattlesnake, cuddly cactus, and the coffee plant.”

Lalicata highly recommends checking each plant's light requirements as well as the local climate before relocating pots or planting them outdoors. “[These] plants are tropical and can't be exposed to temperatures lower than 60 degrees outside, both day and night,” she explains. 

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