Asked on Mar 10, 2019

How do I choose plants for my front porch?



I live in the NW Florida panhandle. I’m taking on my front porch for a make over. I’m adding a white iron rocking bench, white wicker chairs and various old and new planters. I’m interested in a “shabby chic “ look. I need plants that are hardy to the heat, high humidity and work well in the shade. This was a poor attempt last fall. Want a really lush place to sit and enjoy early morning and later afternoons. Oh,yes I do have the much needed bug zapper, as there’s a beautiful view of two ponds but tons of mosquitoes at times. Working on next years project of re-screening it. PS I don’t have a green thumb.

Planters on steps have tiger Lily’s that are the few things that have survived over the years.

11 answers
  • Pat Willis
    on Mar 10, 2019

    Too much "stuff". Take the whatever it is off from the door, take the hanging planters down (not doing well) as well as some of the others that do not appear to be doing well either. Visit your nursery and inquire what you need for this area. Maybe leave the two white planters and the house number but replace the plants. Then...........spray the wicker chair white.....add either a wicker chaise or white wrought iron. Place a nice piece of wrought iron on your door. I live in a vintage home on the river and I have may pieces of old wrought iron and I spray everything white and then use several planters filled with generally plants of similar color, mixed with tall grasses. Makes a statement and everyone loves it. Good luck and your house being brick will surely how up the white accents.

  • Jere
    on Mar 10, 2019

    Thank you. Those are plants from the end of last fall. The door hanger was in memory of my husband who had recently passed. The rocking bench is iron and white. I’m looking for vintage wicker chairs and have a Wright iron medallion for front door. Have a new front door but not installed yet and putting up new white storm door. The old wooden screen door can’t be saved.

  • Rymea
    on Mar 10, 2019

    That is lovely area. It might be easier to grow flowers and bushes in the ground in front of the porch and just keep the two pots on the steps and maybe one other plant on a table on the porch. You could put up a trellis or two for beautiful climbing vines possible at the ends of the porch. i can't recommend varieties as I'm not familiar with your area but you can get recommendations from a garden center.

    FYI mosquitoes are not attracted to bug zappers and neither are flies. however the zappers kill lots of other beneficial insects

  • Lynn
    on Mar 11, 2019

    Sounds like you are on the right track! Sorry about your loss,but maybe a large porch plant or tree would honor him also. Take advantage of the beautiful spacious front porch you have ... i have some huge autumn ferns that love cold weather,sun and rain.. in other words they are beautiful and i font have to baby them..they dont shed either like other ferns..have funwith it !

  • Jeanette S
    on Mar 11, 2019


    I love having plants in pots. However, if you want some color, you usually have to go to Annuals. One of my favorite are Caladium...they come in all colors. Pick a pretty vibrant one for your porch.

    You can get a little color by using different color non-blooming plants in each pot.

    Cora Bells - looks like grape leaves; subtle color

    Cordyline - maroon spike (no stickers)

    Variegated Ivy - small leaves with light green and cream

    Variegated Lariope - light colored border grass

    Dusty Miller - a whitish grey plant

    I would then make a sitting arrangement to the left (under those windows) and then arrange all the pots on the end to the right of the door. Use different heights of pots, set some on bricks to make them higher with others in front. I would not set anything on the step...and move the number to the far right of the step, not in the middle.

    Then hang the baskets a little lower at 2 different lengths to the left of the sitting area. I use larger resin pots because they are not that heavy. You can fill the large pots with some styrofoaf pieces at the bottom to keep them even lighter.

    Miniature trees are also pretty in pots...and the come in varying greens. Keep in mind that you do not have to plant in pairs. Every pot with a different look can be very beautiful.

    I am having trouble posting photos.

  • Debra Y
    on Mar 11, 2019

    I love your large porch! I think color is what you need. A few colors (or 2) that go together well. Lots of flowering plants in shades of those colors. You have space below your light, on the brick by your door for large tropical plants ( canna's, elephants ear, other bulbs) or vines (in pots). Group smaller pots in front of the larger pots.

    You could put a colorful bow on the wreath matching your flower colors? A couple of chairs or stool, small table, something whimsical, make it your own special place.

  • Columbia GB
    on Mar 11, 2019

    I'd keep it simple. Sometimes less is more. As you're doing, put your rocking chair and a small table there. Then a nice palm. Something like the photos. One plant can often bring the lush look. Remove everything else. On the other side do something similar with your iron chair and a matching palm. Let your furniture be your shabby and the two palms your lushness. Easy to take care of two large statement plants, then a dozen tiny poor performers.

  • Land
    on Mar 11, 2019

    I walk through my local nursery and get what I love to look at and what will do well in the space. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

  • Daisy@TX
    on Mar 11, 2019

    I would keep it simple per Columbia GB reply. However you may try a full size Nandina which is winter hardy and lush all year. Changes colors with the seasons and it looks tropical as well. I was looking for that lush tropical look and realized a Nandina could work. I'm trying it this Spring. Good luck.

  • Ellis
    on Mar 12, 2019

    You have a very lovely porch, it must be wonderful to sit there. I'm sorry for your loss. I like the idea of the hanging plants, I'd just get something more trailing in the pots--maybe fuschia plants or trailing geraniums? (Forgive me if what you have IS trailing, but just getting started!) I like Daisy@TX's idea of Nandina, they come in several varieties, and having one near the entrance is supposed to bring good luck.

    Above all, just pick what you like. It's your house, and you should have things you like around you.

  • Judi
    on Mar 12, 2019

    You have a lovely porch. I'm sorry for your loss. I like the idea of keeping it simple per Columbia gb. How about a swing at the end of your porch and climbing vines on your columns? Maybe put the street numbers on the brick to the right of the door. They do make zappers that work for mosquitos that you want to keep away from your area so you draw the mosquitoes away from you. Just google the mosquito zappers. What about a shade tree in your front yard in memory of your husband? Whatever you do enjoy your beautiful porch.

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