Beautiful Ways To Use Perennials To Dress Up Your Front Porch

A collection of pots brimming with greenery and blooms by your front door enhances your home's porch in a welcoming way. It's not uncommon for people to shell out hundreds each year for entrance plants that they enjoy for just a few months. And then there are the hours planning, arranging, and planting to create the perfect look for your containers. Rather than wasting more time and money, why not invest in native perennials? Perennials are plants that live for more than two years, and with the right care, you'll enjoy them for many seasons to come. In this guide, we'll assemble some looks with native perennials that can thrive in many parts of the country.

To maximize visual interest, the Missouri Botanical Garden suggests using the formula of planting thrillers, fillers, and spillers. Thrillers are the attention-grabbers, often showing off bright colors and flamboyant leaves, and they're typically the tallest element in the pot. Fillers are meant to take up space for a finished look but could also add height to your container. And as the name implies, spillers cascade over the edge of the vessel. Keep it simple with a three-plant design that maximizes drama without overwhelming the eye.

Native perennial combos for shady porches

There are scads of plants that will love living on your shaded porch. Start by going vertical with a Fox sedge (Carex vulpinoidea). This grass look-alike does well in most parts of the continental U.S. It grows up to 3 feet tall and is topped with spiky yellow flowers.

If you live in a warmer area, consider pairing the sedge with eastern red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis). This flower pops up in most of the eastern states and boasts dangling red blossoms tipped in yellow. Plants will top out at between 1½ and 2 feet. Live in a chillier climes? Spotted bee balm (Monarda punctata) will live happily in pots from USDA zones 3 to 9. It's a bit taller than columbine, reaching heights of up to 2 feet, and it features curly, speckled yellow petals atop a layer of purple petals. 

Give strawberries a try for a shade-loving spiller. Its colors complement the sedge and columbine or bee balm, and it gives the extra thrill of producing berries. Almost all everbearings do well in pots, and types like the seascape strawberry proliferate in USDA zones 4 to 9.

Sunny space perennial pots

Transform your front porch into an outdoor oasis with basking beauties like penstemon, milkweed, and stonecrop for sun-filled stoops. This combination offers an array of heights, shapes, and colors. Despite its name, the thrilling Rocky Mountain penstemon is not just limited to the Mountain West. It's suited for USDA zones 4 to 9, making it a good candidate for most of the country. It stretches up to 2 ½ feet in height, and its jewel-toned purple blooms are irresistible to pollinators.

Orange looks striking next to purple, and as a filler, orange butterfly milkweed against a background of purple penstemon is a show-stopper. Butterfly milkweed performs beautifully in a vast range of climates. Reaching 1 to 2 feet in height, its clusters of tiny flowers are magnets for monarch butterflies. 

Let stonecrops play the role of spiller in your sunny porch plantings. Stonecrops, a kind of sedum, are trailing succulents that put out tiny white or yellow blossoms. Their spreading fleshy green stems will finish off your sun-dwelling pot with ease. This tough, low-maintenance perennial loves full sun and can withstand dry summer heat. For more ideas, check out our list of container plants that are perfect for your front porch.