Top 5 Unexpected Plants for Large Planters

Posted by Jason Wyrwicz on Jun 1st 2022

Remember who won the 1992 Olympic gold medal for basketball?

Maybe this will jog your memory.

The GOAT. Bird. Chuck. Magic. David Robinson. A really short guy from the Bulls. Agave.

Getting a collection of all-star NBA talent together like this was a massive undertaking with

stunning results. Think about the planning, the coaxing, the arranging, and the vibe in the arena

when these guys stepped in.

It’s the same feeling you get when you bring together *the* right group of plants in the *the* right


That one was a stretch, I know.

But with a little help, you won’t have to work nearly as hard to bring together a group of plants to

make your space shine, either.

And Agave was not a member of the team. It’s actually one of our top 5 unexpected plants you

could use in a large planter.

Here’s the rest of the lineup.

X. Zamioculcas Zamiifolia


You may have heard it called it a “ZZ Plant,” and it’s also known as a Zanzibar Gem.

It has a hip, modern look with the glossy leaf aesthetic of a succulent, not to mention it’s “an

easy to grow and care for indoor plant… which can grow up to 3 ft long indoors” (House Plants

Expert, 2022). Not too big, and not too small, it works with a variety of large planters.

Who knew plants could be hip and modern?

X. Agave

Best known as the quintessential building block of Tequila, Agave plants can be used for

ornamental use as well.

They look incredible in large planters with clean lines – our Santiago Tall Square Planter Box

would be a perfect pairing. Often known for their ability to reach enormous size, make sure to

“look for varieties that stay fairly compact, like ‘Blue Glow’ agave [Agave ‘Blue Glow’]…

artichoke agave [Agave parryi var. truncata], and foxtail agave [Agave attenuata]” (Houzz,


X. Fountain Grass (Pennisetum setaceum)

So often you see the same cast of characters in the same kinds of planters everywhere you go.

Looking for something different?

Grasses offer a light, wispy look that complements more rigid architectural features. That’s why

they’re great for stone patios or interior spaces.

Try a fountain grass. They’re great indoor and outdoor plants, they work well in a planter, they

create a dramatic overflowing look without taking up too much of a footprint, and they produce

beautiful flowers (see care tips here).

X. Barrel Cactus

It’s a desert beauty. You know it. You love it. You’ve probably been injured by one and you just

keep coming back for more.

It’s the barrel cactus.

Why does this prickly plant make it to our list?

They’re great conversation starters (hey, is that a cactus?), and they’re beautiful in their own

spiky way with translucent spines that captivate your attention in natural light. They’re also

hearty and can thrive in many environments. Check out these tips for caring for your barrel

cactus here.

Also, have you ever seen a dead barrel cactus? Didn’t think so. These things can stand up to

the most negligent plant-waterers and still look amazing.

Try one in a white, fiberglass planter for a striking green on white contrast.

X. Ornamental Pepper

Shrubs. Flowers. Succulents.

That’s where the list might end for most people.

But not you. You’re ready to spice things up.

Ornamental peppers can add some much needed variety to traditional planters. Their dark hues

and red fruit could liven up your space and start a few interesting conversations. You could try

Purple Flash or Black Pearl varieties or even mix and match pepper plants with other types of

surrounding arrangements.

Tip: Color is everything. Try a more neutral planter tone with this plant for a homey vibe or go

wild with a primary color like yellow.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, the peppers are actually edible but incredibly spicy!

The perfect plant needs the perfect planter

None of these plants can dunk, except maybe Agave. But they’re all stars in their own right.

Which one was your favorite?

While you’re at it, head over to our selection of large planters and start planning your layout today.