There’s a host of front porch ideas you can use to add some curb appeal to the front of your house. You can opt for string lights, throw in a porch swing, and pepper your space with other front porch decor.
But plants can add quite the curb appeal to your front outdoor space too. We can’t overstate the understated elegance of front porch plants.
Spicing up your front porch with splashes of green is one of the easiest ways to make the front of your home stand out. Think potted plants, window boxes, shrubs, hedges and climbers.
But what are the perfect plants for your front porch?
Here’s where things get a little tricky. When it comes to decorating front porches, ideas can come and go and no one gets hurt.
But plants are a different story. One wrong choice and a plant can die on you.
You don’t exactly want to display a dying plant on your front porch for everyone to see.
Today we bring you some useful plant ideas for front porches. By the time you’ve read this article, you’ll know exactly how to choose the perfect plants for your porch.
Full Sun Plants
You may run out of ideas for a front porch soon after you’ve made a list of plants that grow in shade or partial shade. Since it’s an enclosed area, chances are your front porch will have some filtered sun throughout the day. But if you’re lucky, you’ll have a few hot spots where you can fit in some blooms.
If you’re able to scrape up a few full sun spots, bingo! This means you’ll be able to add more versatility when porch decorating.
Open areas along the edges of your porch are typically more exposed to the sun. So this is where you can sneak in some of your sun-loving favorites.
Start with planting petunias. These flowers are attested sun-lovers that are dead easy to grow.
Regular petunias will work well if you want to add a splash of color in the summer months. While wave petunias are perfect if you’d rather have your porch blooming into the early fall.
Petunias give you plenty of freedom to decorate your outdoor space. They work charmingly if you want to accentuate different parts of your porch area.
But you can do much more with the flowers. Plant petunias in garden beds, use them as foundation plants, or put them in containers and let them trail down.
Petunias are perennials in 9 and 10 USDA Hardiness Zones, but they thrive as annuals in colder zones.
Thinking about what to put in your front porch planters? Many experienced gardeners agree that lantanas are a good choice.
Gardeners choose these plants for the front porch for several reasons. They grow colorful flowers, they’re low-maintenance and they keep flowering long into November. As long as the plant receives at least 6 hours of sun a day, it will thrive and blossom for you.
Lantanas do best in partial sun but will grow fewer flowers with less sun. They thrive in 8 through 11 Hardiness Zones.
Hang lantanas from the ceiling along with some porch string lights for a charming effect.
Bougainvillea is one of our favorites when it comes to front porch plants. These exotic, bright-colored flowers can lend you a million-dollar front entrance.
They grow best in areas that receive at least 5 hours of sun exposure a day. If you aren’t confident the plant will grow well where you live, get a front porch planter and plant it in direct sun.
This will give your flowery friend a fighting chance.
Bougainvillea grows vibrant flowers almost year-round in temperate climates. Careful though, the plant may wilt and die in temperatures below 40°F.
Gardeners love bougainvilleas because they lend themselves to planting versatility.
- Grow them in containers to save space. You can move around your potted plants to help them grow to their full potential.
- Let them wrap around your porch columns to get vine-like floral arrangements.
- Experiment with some bolder ideas to add even more character to your front porch. Shape your bougainvilleas into beautiful ornamental topiary trees.
Bougainvilleas can be safely grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and above. Growing them in Zone 9 is also manageable.
Keep in mind, you’ll have to heavily prune the plant if you’re all set for a flower bonanza on your front porch.
Plants That Thrive in Partial Shade
When porch decorating, you’ll want to landscape the area outside the actual front porch area as well. By rule of thumb, this is where you’ll plant most of your sun-loving plants. But once that area is planted, you’re still far from finished.
You want to inject some greenery right on your porch.
But what if your front porch is not the brightest of places? There’s a solution – and we’ll share it with you.
Choosing from the plants below will give you something to work with even if your porch receives as little as 2 hours of direct sun daily.
The ideas are easier to bring to life, so here’s some more exciting front porch greenery for you.
Hostas are a smart choice when you want to landscape the shady areas at the front of your home. They can thrive in the filtered light found on most porches. And if you want to cover some bare patches, they make for great ground covering under the trees.
You can use hostas to landscape almost any space in your home garden as they do well in a variety of different shade conditions. So, you can use them to dress up your front porch, whatever your sun situation.
In general terms, these lush foliage plants do best in shady areas. One variety, though, will require more shade than the other.
The varieties with white, gold and blue stripes grow best in filtered sun. Whereas hostas with deep green foliage are the most shade tolerant.
You can grow hostas across 3-9 USDA Hardiness Zones.
Wandering Jew (Transcendentia zebrina) is the perfect plant for those who want to add some character to their front porch. This plant captivates with its eye-catching colors and vine growing habit.
The plant will fit snugly on your front porch if you put it in a hanging basket and let it sprawl down. You can expect the mature plant to reach 14 inches in height.
Another great idea is to use the plant to line the steps outside your front door.
It fares best in filtered light but requires some bright indirect sun to develop the colors.
And here comes the best part. Wandering Jew is pretty easy to grow, allowing you the freedom to decorate your space in a no-fuss manner. Plant it in a good potting mix, make sure it doesn’t get too dry and this hard-to-kill plant should be fine.
Ferns are perfect for your front porch too. They blend in well with flowers and provide an excellent backdrop for other foliage. This versatility makes them a favorite plant of many home gardeners.
You can never go over the top with ferns.
Place them at your front entrance as a feature green or arrange them in a pot with other plants. They match wonderfully with companion plants such as Ajuga, hostas and English ivy.
Invest a little thought before you place a fern just anywhere on your front porch. As a rule of thumb, ferns prefer bright filtered sun. So if your porch is sunlit, place your ferns farther to the back.
The Kimberly Queen variety tolerates some sun while Boston ferns will do better in indirect sun.
Dry Shade Plants
If your front porch is surrounded by tall trees, you’ll have to be super careful about what to plant. This is true whether you want to populate garden beds that line your porch or throw in some potted plants.
Areas like these provide little to no natural sunlight. This is where only the toughest plants will survive.
Your main concern here will be the dryness of the soil beneath the tree canopy. Plants that grow in areas with dry shade have to compete with the trees for moisture, hence the name.
Even some shade-loving plants won’t make it in this harsh environment. However, the plants below give you a fighting chance to dress up even the driest and darkest of places.
Once you put them on your porch, remember to water your dry shade plants regularly.
Greater Wood Rush
Of all the front porch ideas, this one is intended for porch areas with next to zero sunlight. If you’re having trouble finding plants that will grow in your shady areas, greater wood rush is the plant for you.
This ornamental plant won’t give you a hard time as it’s handy and low maintenance. As a weed-proof, grass-like plant, it makes for an excellent groundcover. You can match it with other shade-tolerant plants, such as ferns and hostas.
It will grow up to 12-24 inches tall and form loose patches of covering. You can place it in areas with some sun, but it will thrive only if the soil is moist enough. Otherwise, you’re better off planting it in partial to full shade.
Japanese pachysandra is grown for its thick covering that clusters into shrubby formations. It’s ideal for filling in any unwanted bear spots and creating a beautiful and compact porch look.
Pachysandras are a great shrub choice for planting in shady areas at higher angles. They form a colony as they grow, preventing any soil erosion.
Plant this low-growing shrub in moist soil and full shade. Throw it into your shady garden beds, low-light nooks and in dry shade beneath the trees.
Pachysandra is hardy in Zones 4 to 9 and it will grow well in colder temperatures, but won’t tolerate winter sun.
Get Your Green Thumbs Ready
Ready to put those green thumbs to work? If so, kudos to you.
But think hard before settling on any plants for your front porch pots and garden beds. Unfavorable position of your porch can leave you with little choice for your planting project.
The good news is, you don’t have to save all your plant beauties for the back porch. You can have a beautiful front porch even with less-than-perfect growing conditions.
The front porch ideas above are a great place to start.
They’ll help you choose plants that suit your unique porch requirements. And you won’t even have to bend your personal taste too much.
First, make sure a plant can thrive in your front yard. Then allow your porch decorating idiosyncrasies to show.
Want more inspiration on how to landscape the space outside your front door? Head over to Gardening Channel to fetch more plant ideas for front porch. We help home gardeners just like you create a green haven just outside their living room.
Our gardening platform will fast-track your way to that beautiful front porch of your dreams. You’ll be able to up your outdoor living and ratchet yourself up the gardening knowledge ladder. In no time at all.