Extend your gardening prowess onto your front porch.
rocking chairs on porch
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A few well-designed planters are the perfect addition to your front porch or stoop—and a cost-effective way to add some pizzazz to the front of your home. But finding the perfect planters—and the best front porch plant ideas—can be a little tricky with so many amazing options out there.

Here's how to add some instant (and super-easy) plant-filled curb appeal to your front porch.

Credit: Grace Canaan

Choose your focus areas

Most people place planters flanking the stairs or the doorway, but depending on your porch size and style, there are plenty of other options—like hanging baskets from the eaves, or putting a large, showy fern or mini tree in the corner near a seating area. 

Credit: Grace Canaan

Pick the right porch planters

Consider the style of your house when you're choosing planters—an ornate, antique-style design will look out of place next to a sleek, modern porch. And size matters, too—both for the look and for a more practical reason. "The bigger the container, the more soil volume and the better chance for plants to survive without drying out," says Blythe Yost, landscape architect and the CEO and co-founder of Tilly Design, a site that offers landscape design services. That's especially key for hanging baskets. "Hanging baskets are particularly susceptible to drying out since they are open to the air on all sides."

Tip: If you're a bit of a black thumb, consider self-watering planters that can help keep your plants thriving when you're on vacation or a little forgetful. 

Credit: Grace Canaan

Skip the full-sun plants

For most porches, the plants will be shaded for at least part of the day, so full-sun plants will not thrive there. Pay attention to how much sun the planters actually get before you plant. "There's a difference between bright shade and deep shade," says Yost. "If you're able to plant in bright shade there are many more options. Not even impatiens will do well in deep shade."

Yost suggests moving the planters away from the front door and out where they can get a little sun—and also out from under eaves or porch roofs, if possible, to reduce the amount you may have to water. 

If your planters will be in a brighter shaded spot, New Guinea impatiens, begonias, and lobelia are some options for you. In deep shade, try plants like torentia, caladium, Persian shield, tradescantia, coleus, or Boston fern.

Credit: Grace Canaan

Choose your floral design style

The traditional porch planter formula calls for a "thriller, filler, spiller" set—a big, showpiece flower or plant, a plant with small blooms or greenery to fill in the gaps, and a "spiller" that trails over the side of the planter. But Yost says that you can make a big impact with an even more simplistic formula. "Your container does not have to be busy to add to your curb appeal," Yost says. "People often try to use variety to make an impact, but really you can make a big statement with one color or kind of flower."

Credit: Grace Canaan

Find your color scheme

Consider the color of your planters, your home, and the rest of your plantings when you're deciding on your front porch flowers. You can opt for a blend of different colors—bold fuchsia and orange together in a neutral planter, or a soft blend of pastel peaches and creams in a similarly colored planter—or just go with a single, statement-making hue. 

Credit: Grace Canaan

Change your porch planters with the seasons

While it's always nice to "set it and forget it" by choosing plants with long-lasting blooms like celosia, begonias, marigolds, or petunias, you can also opt to change out the flowers in your planters as the seasons change—pansies for spring, dahlias for summer, and chrysanthemums for fall. 

Credit: Grace Canaan

Consider perennials

While most people think of annuals when it comes to planters, some perennials, like primroses, salvia, dianthus, and daylilies, grow well in planters, and may come back the following year. (Your chances are better if you live in a milder climate.) The bonus: You'll reduce your annual planting budget!