Best Patio Plants for Southern California

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Southern California is famous for its Mediterranean-like climate, where freezing temperatures are rare.

Since many enjoy spending their time outdoors, it’s no surprise that homes often have spacious patios.

To make the experience even more enjoyable, you might want to try your hand at growing the best patio plants for Southern California.

These plants not only add seasonal colors to your outdoor space but also attract pollinators like hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.

What To Consider When Choosing a Patio Plant

Before you decide on buying a plant, you have to understand its needs and the correct way of caring for it.

First is the amount of sun your patio gets throughout the day, as it is the primary factor for their survival.

Basically, your patio gets full sun if it receives more than six hours of sunlight and full shade if it only experiences an hour or two of it.

Some plants love the heat more than others and will not do well in the shadows.

In comparison, those that love the shade will wither under the sun.

Another factor is the amount of space you have on your patio and its overall layout and design.

Depending on the available space, you can choose to grow big or small plants or those that grow vines.

Best Patio Plants for Southern California

The whole of California offers a wide selection of plants to grow because of its unique planting zones.

Still, there’s no denying that we all have different preferences when it comes to the kinds of plants to grow.

Some like experimenting with various plants, while others enjoy having a variety of pots and containers.

Painted plant pots, for instance, will instantly add a different perspective to your patio, brightening dull spots or softening corners.

Here are plants you can grow in your SoCal patio:


Succulents have a small and uncomplicated root system that can thrive even in a tiny amount of soil.

As such, you will often see them grown in pots.

They are excellent patio plants that can survive in sunny locations and do not require much care and attention.

Besides growing them in pots, you can also grow them in-ground if you have enough space in your garden.


This succulent grows faster when planted in-ground but can also survive in pots and containers.

Its leaf symmetry may vary from smooth, toothed, sword-shaped, or carried in rosettes.

Agave rarely blooms, but when it does, it grows enormous and magnificent and then dies afterward.

It can also survive without water for weeks.


Aloes have pointed and fleshy leaves in a rosette-like arrangement similar to agaves.

However, in comparison to agaves, aloes come with regular showy flowers.

The most extensive displays typically show up from February to September.

Some come in a tubular shape that blooms in bicolor or yellow, red, or orange shades.

With roots close to the surface, this succulent needs more water than agaves to keep its leaves moist.


Dudleya is another succulent that produces lovely flowers.

Its rosette-shaped fleshy petals come in various colors of green, grey, purple, and red.

The grey and white Dudleya varieties come coated with a chalky powder that gets washed off when it rains.

For this reason, they are among the best plants for a covered patio.

Dudleya is dormant during summer and would rather stay dry in that season.

Its flowers come out on long stalks in various colors like pink, red, white, and yellow.


Sedum has fleshy leaves in varying colors, shapes, and sizes depending on its species.

Some are small and trailing, while others are bushy and upright.

Also, it comes with small star-like flowers that bloom in clusters while the larger species look like shrubs.

list of best patio plants for southern california

Annuals and Perennials

Annual plants are those that complete their life cycle in one growing season and then die.

Nevertheless, you can expect them to have an extended blooming season.

These are typically bright and showy plants that add color to container gardens and flower beds.

Compared to annuals, perennial plants can live for more than three growing seasons.

There are many varieties of perennials suitable for containers that can grow in either sun or shade.


Croton is a perennial typically classified as a houseplant but can grow more prominent when exposed to sun and rain on your patio.

It comes with leathery rainbow-colored leaves that can survive with moderate watering requirements.

Croton’s colorful foliage sometimes symbolizes change when given as a gift.


Pentas can be an annual or a perennial, depending on the climate in your area.

You will like it for its starry blooms that come in large clusters of lavender, pink, red, or white throughout summer.

It’s a pollinator-attracting plant where bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love to rest.

It is also a low-maintenance plant that grows well either in containers or in the ground.


Like Pentas, a lantana plant can be an annual or a perennial that you can grow in containers or in-ground.

It also comes in a trailing variety best grown in a hanging basket.

Lantana plants bloom well in large patio containers under warm and sunny weather with clear signs of drought resistance.


Coleus is a perennial plant grown as annuals with various colors, shapes, and styles.

It grows well in the shade or full sun but will grow to full size in one season when planted outdoors.

Coleus has vividly colored leaves that look great on outdoor containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes.

Unfortunately, this plant is toxic to pets, so keep that in mind if you have one in your household.


A bromeliad is a perennial plant with strappy tropical leaves perfect as an exotic and colorful patio accent.

Growing it as a houseplant is easy while bringing exciting colors and texture to your interior garden.

Many home gardeners like it for its thick foliage that grows in a natural rosette pattern.

Sometimes, a bromeliad may produce a flower in varying forms and colors before it dies, depending on the variety.


A caladium is a perennial plant that doesn’t like cold weather.

It has heart-shaped leaves showcasing excellent color combinations of green, pink, red, and white.

This plant can survive in hot and humid weather but will develop better in partial to full shade.

Also, planting it in pots and planters allows you to brighten your covered deck or shady porch.

Ornamental Peppers

Ornamental peppers are annuals that you can also grow indoors as a houseplant.

They have brilliantly colored fruits as beautiful as any other flower or foliage.

These small plants come with tiny root balls that can grow well in slow-drying large containers.

Level up Your SoCal Patio With Plants

Knowing the best patio plants for Southern California allows you to add color and beauty to your surroundings.

With the variety of textures, shapes, and colors they come in, you’d be able to play with different plants and pot arrangements.

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