21 Perennial Flowers for Your Balcony Garden

Looking for some perennials you can grow on a balcony? Tired of spending money on annuals year after year? In this article, certified master gardener Liz Jaros proposes 21 perennial flowers that are well-suited to container growth and life on the balcony.

A selection of perennial pots features asters, mums, dichondra and Japanese forest grass.

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Though we typically associate balcony gardens with annual flowering plants such as geranium, petunia, and impatiens, plenty of perennials grow well in containers and should not be overlooked. With some strategic planning for color and timing and a little extra TLC, a perennial balcony garden can offer the same changing season joy that a backyard garden does. 

Choose plants that are hardy in your zone and suited to your balcony’s light conditions for the best possible outcome. Plant perennials in well-drained pots that are large enough for their specific root systems and meet their particular watering needs, and you’ll be off to a great start. 

To help you make some choices that’ll work for you and your unique hardscape, we’ve compiled a list of 21 perennials that are very balcony-friendly. Read on for detailed information about their sizes, color palettes, growing preferences, and maintenance needs, and you’ll be ready to start potting. 

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Cranesbill (Hardy Geranium)

Lavender cranesbill flowers revealing intricate purple vein patterns on delicate petals. The vibrant hues create a mesmerizing display against the backdrop of lush, verdant foliage. The flowers' striking beauty captures nature's exquisite artistry.
This perennial plant produces colorful flowers in pink, purple, and white hues.
botanical-name botanical name Geranium spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6 inches to 2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-8

Not to be confused with annual geranium (Pelargonium spp.), which completes its life cycle in a single season, cranesbill or hardy geranium is very much a perennial plant. Blooming for up to a month and repeating several times throughout the growing season, the cranesbill packs a colorful punch on the balcony.

Flowers are small and simple, with five petals and a traditional buttercup shape. They come in shades of pink, purple, and white. Leaves are small, lobed, and finely cut with a mounding or trailing habit and thin, multi-branched stems. Many species will turn red-orange in the fall and look beautiful in a pot until the snow flies. Popular cultivars include ‘Rozanne,’ ‘Espresso,’ and ‘Alba.’ 

Coral Bells

Clusters of delicate, pink coral bell flowers capture the sunlight, their petals catching rays in a soft, ethereal glow. The backdrop is a gentle blur of green leaves, creating a natural canvas that enhances the blossoms' vibrant hue.
Heuchera enjoys a little shade, making it ideal for balconies under some cover.
botanical-name botanical name Heuchera spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

With over 50 species in the genus and a high tolerance for shade, heuchera is commonly found in woodland gardens and beneath loose tree canopies. Because it has a low-spreading, groundcover-like habit, it’s not often a top consideration for the balcony garden, but it really should be! 

Coral bells have shallow root systems, moderate water needs, and an easygoing personality that works well in containers. Primarily a foliage plant, coral bells species have large, lobed leaves in green, maroon, chartreuse, and just about everywhere in between. 

Small flower sprays appear in mid to late summer and offer delicate, down-drooping blooms that do add interest, but the leaves are really the stars with this one. Try ‘Citronella’ for a bright green contrast or ‘Amber Waves’ for some late-season color. 

Clematis

A vivid close-up reveals the intricate beauty of clematis flowers and leaves, showcasing petals painted in rich purple hues adorned with delicate lavender edges. The stamens, elegantly protruding from the heart of the bloom, stand out in pristine white.
This sought-after perennial vine with striking flowers drapes gracefully over trellises or fences.
botanical-name botanical name Clematis spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 3-20 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

One of the most coveted perennials in the plant world, clematis is a woody, herbaceous vine with long-blooming, ray-like flowers in single and double form. Leaves are small and ovate, offering a lovely backdrop as plants scramble up a trellis or fence. 

While not often associated with container gardening, with a little know-how and some extra attention, this cottage garden favorite will do quite well on a balcony. Choose one of the smaller cultivars like ‘Alaina,’ ‘Crystal Fountain,’ or ‘Pink Champagne’ to cover a small trellis or balcony railing, and select a large container so roots have a little room to sprawl. 

Clematis plants require full, hot sun on their leaves and flowers but thrive when their roots are dark and cool. Cover the soil surface around the crown with a heavy layer of mulch and crowd some other containers or ornamentation around the base to keep roots from overheating. 

Creeping Jenny

A cascade of lush green creeping jenny spills gracefully, forming a verdant tapestry down the surface. Its rounded leaves, arrayed delicately along the sinuous stems, boast a vivid hue, creating a captivating visual display of nature's elegance.
A strong and resilient plant, creeping Jenny is perfect for hanging baskets.
botanical-name botanical name Lysimachia nummularia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-6 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Considered a nuisance plant when left unchecked in a wild area, creeping Jenny is hardy, fast-spreading, and low maintenance in a container. Its spade-shaped leaves are small and densely arranged like a ground cover, but they also spill and trail like a vine. Flowers are yellow and dainty, appearing mid-summer and lasting several weeks. 

Creeping Jenny works well as a filler or base plant in a mixed container arrangement or cascading over the side of a hanging basket. Try ‘Aurea’ for a pop of bright green or ‘Goldilocks’ for a mass of yellow. Containers with creeping Jenny can be left on the balcony all winter without protection, and these hardy little plants will return next season whether you want them to or not! 

Sedum

A vibrant close-up of purple sedum flowers, illuminated by the warm sunlight, casting delicate shadows on the lush green leaves beneath. The flowers' tiny petals unfurl like miniature fireworks.
This plant grows well in containers but needs division every few years.
botanical-name botanical name Hylotelephium spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3 inches to 2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Often referred to as stonecrop for its succulent-like leaves and ability to grow in rocky, less-than-perfect soil, sedum may have a southwestern personality, but it thrives in most zones, even the north. A tolerance for drought, an extended flowering time, and an autumnal bloom period make this one a winner in the container garden. 

Flower buds form in early spring and intensify in color as the season progresses. Leaves are soft, green, and fleshy with an ovate shape and serrated margins. Stems are multi-branched and wideset. Depending on the species, plants can have either a ground cover habit or a fan shape.  

Sedum grows easily in containers but multiplies quickly. Choose a wide container and plan to divide it every three years or so. Plants will return perennially on the patio for many years to come, even in regions with frigid winter temperatures. ‘Autumn Joy’ is the most common upright sedum, while ‘Angelina’ is the low-growing fave. 

Fountain Grass

Graceful deep purple fountain grass moves gently in the breeze, its slender blades swaying elegantly. At the pinnacle of each stem, clusters of delicate white and purple feathery flowers create a stunning contrast against the rich foliage below.
Utilize this plant to add both privacy and texture to your sunlit balcony.
botanical-name botanical name Pennisetum alopecuroides
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-10

Work some fountain grass into the mix for privacy and/or a little texture on your patio. With a vertical, upright habit that matures into a fountain shape over the years, this hardy perennial can take a lot of sun and prefers dry soil. These two features make it a no-brainer for the balcony garden

Foliage is strappy and arching, varying in color from variegated to dark green. Flowers are feathery and are white or light pink, appearing in late summer and lasting for months. Most fountain grass species mature to a dark brown or copper color as the season draws to an end and remain attractive throughout winter. Cut them down to about three inches in spring, and a new flush of grass will grow. 

Some varieties are quite large and may be too much for a small balcony, so check the mature size before purchasing. Try ‘Little Bunny’ or ‘Little Honey’ cultivars for smaller applications. 

Miniature Roses

A brown pot sits bathed in sunlight, cradling bright yellow miniature roses amidst luscious, deep green leaves. Surrounding the pot, an assortment of verdant leaves and textured rocks create a natural, harmonious setting.
Varieties of miniature roses like ‘Red Cascade’ and ‘Lemon Drop’ offer classic or vibrant options.
botanical-name botanical name Rosa spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-11

Miniature roses get their diminutive name from the size of their flowers and leaves rather than their height, but most varieties are less than two feet tall and fit nicely in a patio pot. Like their larger relatives, miniature roses offer robust, sweet-smelling blooms atop strong, prickled stems. They come in shades of red, pink, white, and yellow. Leaves are small with toothed margins and arranged in an alternate pattern along the stems. 

Fill containers with rich, organic potting soil tailored to roses and place them in full sun with generous airflow. Deadhead faded flowers aggressively, and most varieties will keep blooming all season. Try ‘Red Cascade’ for a traditional rose vibe or ‘Lemon Drop’ for a cheerful pop of yellow. Cover with rose cones or burlap during dormancy if you plan to leave pots in place. 

Hosta

Lavender hosta flowers rise elegantly, their slender stems carrying delicate blooms above broad green leaves. The surrounding garden features a diverse array of plants, contributing to a harmonious and visually captivating botanical ensemble.
A versatile herbaceous perennial, hosta tolerates shade and requires only modest watering.
botanical-name botanical name Hosta spp. 
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
height height 6 inches to 4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

As an herbaceous perennial with broad leaves in a multitude of colors and a wide, clumping habit, hosta is a great choice for a container garden on the east or north side of a building. Tolerant of dappled to full shade (less than four hours of direct sun per day), the hosta has modest watering needs and looks great all season.

Inflorescence sprays appear early in the season, offering an arch of tiny pendant flowers in shades of pink, white, or purple, but the green, blue, and/or variegated leaves are actually the reason to grow them. Plant hostas in a container that’s taller than it is wide to keep the soil moist. Choose ‘Blue Mouse Ears’ for a small setting or ‘Piedmont Gold’ for a splash of yellow. 

Tickseed (Coreopsis)

A close-up of tickseed flowers showcasing a burst of yellow petals surrounding golden centers. Their delicate, intricate structure is highlighted against a soft, blurred canvas of lush green leaves, creating a vivid contrast in nature's tapestry.
This perennial attracts pollinators and does quite well in dry soil on sunny balconies.
botanical-name botanical name Coreopsis spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

This mounding plant has fine, feathery foliage and small, ray-shaped flowers with sheared petal edges. Blooms come in yellow, orange, red, pink, and white. Central yellow disks attract pollinators, so only choose coreopsis if you want to invite the bees and butterflies over for a visit. 

Once established, tickseed plants appreciate soil that’s on the dry side. They thrive on a south or west-facing balcony garden, where the sun will be plentiful. Choose a container that drains well and space pots to allow for generous airflow. 

Lavender

A cluster of lavender blooms gracefully rises above delicate, green foliage. Bathed in golden sunlight, this plant emanates tranquility and natural beauty. A blurred background reveals a diamond-shaped, white wooden fence, adding a touch of rustic charm.
Cultivating lavender on your balcony provides a fragrant, versatile, and easy-to-care-for option.
botanical-name botanical name Lavandula spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 1-3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-9

For a calming, sweet scent each time you open the sliding door, pot up some lavender on your balcony. With a compact, bushy habit and finely textured, gray-green foliage, lavender can be either a focal point or a backdrop plant

Lavender flowers are purple and dainty. They whorl at the top of stiff sprays that rise from the plant’s center and bloom for most of the summer. Cut them back to about four inches above soil level after the first wave of stalks emerge, and they’ll regrow with a tighter form. 

Lavender would rather have drought than oversaturation, so keep that in mind when watering your balcony garden. Ensure containers drain freely and divide plants every few years to avoid crowding. ‘Province’ is a popular lavender variety for drying. ‘Melissa Lilac’ and ‘Nana Alba’ are dwarf options for small containers. 

Blackeyed Susan

A close-up of Black-eyed Susan flowers displays their vibrant golden petals with dark centers, perched on slender stems. The lush, serrated leaves below the flowers provide a lush and verdant foundation for these striking blossoms.
Rudbeckia is a beloved choice due to its robust nature and constant blooming.
botanical-name botanical name Rudbeckia spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Another pollinator magnet, Black-eyed Susan, blooms in late summer to fall and provides late-season interest on the balcony. Its flowers are yellow-orange and daisy-like, with single or double-form rays encircling prominent brown centers. Leaves are hairy and lance-shaped. They average three to seven inches in length and radiate from stiff, upright stems.

Plant black-eyed Susan in a large container with something smaller around its feet to cover leggy stems throughout the season. Deadhead as soon as flowers have faded, and this one will keep blooming for up to a month. Try ‘Indian Summer’ if you’re looking for some height to screen a neighbor, or ‘Goldilocks’ for a marigold-like cheerfulness that will please the bees. 

Catmint

A cluster of purple catmint flowers stands tall, catching the brilliant sunlight. The leaves of the catmint plant sprawl elegantly, their serrated edges and soft texture create a verdant tapestry.
This herb comes in round or fountain shapes, with small flowers on spikes and blue-green leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Nepeta spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-2 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

This herbaceous perennial enjoys dry soil and full sun. It also blooms repeatedly throughout the season and has a modest root system, making it very balcony-friendly.

Depending on species and cultivar, plants can be either round and tight or fountain-shaped and loose. Flowers are small and rise above foliage on terminal spikes. Leaves are small and mint-shaped in a pretty shade of blue-green. 

As a bonus, catmint has a light, spicy scent and is repellent to many insects, including aphids. Its leaves are edible and can substitute for mint in some recipes. For small containers, try ‘Little Titch’ or ‘Blue Dwarf.’ ‘Pink Cat’ offers a soft alternative to traditional purple. 

Creeping Phlox

In the foreground, a mesmerizing close-up captures a cluster of purple creeping phlox flowers, delicately illuminated by the warm sunlight. Below the blossoms, lush green foliage provides a contrasting backdrop.
Low-maintenance creeping phlox has small ray-shaped flowers in shades of pink, white, or purple.
botanical-name botanical name Phlox Stolonifora
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 6-12 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 5-8

Creeping phlox is a very low-maintenance plant with a soft scent and a sweet spring disposition. Flowers are small and ray-shaped, with five petals in pink, white, or purple shades. Its leaves are fine, oblong, and leathery to the touch. They cling to stems that cover the soil like a ground cover or droop whimsically over the side of a planter. 

Creeping phlox roots are shallow and can tolerate long stretches without water. Work some into a mixed container, and they will insulate the roots of other perennials without competing for moisture or nutrients.

Put some in a hanging basket, and they will trail like a dense vine. ‘Running With Scissors’ and ‘Eye Shadow’ both feature star-shaped violet flowers, while ‘Coral Eye’ offers two contrasting shades of pink. 

Daylily

Yellow daylilies and green leaves flourish in an indoor setting, basking in soft, filtered light. A blurred background reveals a delicate arrangement of purple flowers resting on a white windowsill, while beyond, a verdant landscape sprawls outside the window.
In containers, daylilies offer vibrant, long-lasting blooms and foliage for balconies.
botanical-name botanical name Hemerocallis spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Daylilies may not be the first plants that spring to mind for the balcony, but they actually do quite well in containers. With spiky, bright green foliage that lasts into fall and long bloom periods in early summer, daylilies offer contrast and visual interest for most of the season. 

Flowers are trumpet-shaped and reflexive, averaging two to six inches wide. They come in shades of yellow, pink, white, and red, opening sequentially over a month or so, only to fade and begin dropping petals the next day. Snip their strong stems down to the base when this happens, and you’ll get even more blooms on your balcony. 

With golden yellow flowers and dark green leaves, ‘Stella Doro’ is the variety you’ll encounter most often in landscapes and garden centers. ‘Rosy Returns’ is a pink-purple daylily that reblooms later in the season, adding value to a hardscape garden with limited plants. 

Bee Balm

Red bee balm flowers stand tall, their petals unfolding like delicate flames, capturing the sunlight's warmth. The leaves, a verdant sea beneath the fiery blooms, spread wide, capturing the sun's rays and providing a lush contrast to the vivid red.
Requiring spacious containers, bee balm attracts pollinators and complements potted tomatoes.
botanical-name botanical name Monarda spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-4 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Though it requires a large container on the balcony for success, bee balm brings the pollinators in a way few other plants can. If you’ve got a tomato potted up, you may want to include some bee balm. 

Fragrant, spiky flowers define this North American native. Petals are tubular and arranged in a whorled pattern over a brown or green central disk. Blooms can be red, purple, pink, white, or lavender. They open in spring to summer on top of sturdy stems with serrated, lance-shaped leaves.

Bee balm’s rhizomatous roots will expand quickly and outgrow even large containers in no time. Dig them up and divide them every two years to prevent reduced flower output. ‘Petite Wonder’ and ‘Pardon My Pink’ max out at about 12 inches in height and won’t hog space in a small setting.

Bleeding Heart

Vivid red bleeding heart flowers dangle delicately from a slender brown stem, gracefully embracing the sunlight's warmth. Their heart-shaped petals form a striking contrast against the blurred backdrop of lush green leaves.
Consider pairing bleeding hearts with other perennials for better aesthetics.
botanical-name botanical name Dicentra spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
height height 1-3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

If your balcony is short on sun and long on shade, bleeding heart is a perennial that might work for you. This woodland native produces sprays of dainty, heart-shaped flowers that bloom atop terminal stems for several weeks in spring. Leaves are small, lacy, and multi-lobed. 

Bleeding heart plants prefer moist, well-draining soil but can tolerate drought for a good while. They enjoy cold zones and will not sustain winter damage when kept outside in a pot. Foliage will turn yellow and unsightly in the middle of the summer, so you may want to pair this one with another perennial or plan to relocate the pot after it’s done flowering.

‘Luxuriant’ has a low-growing, compact habit for a wide, short container. ‘Valentine’ grows up to three feet tall if you’re looking for a little height. 

Aster

White aster flowers, each boasting sunny yellow centers, flourish amidst serrated green leaves. Delicate and numerous, the petals form a lush, layered embrace, creating a stunning contrast against the green foliage surrounding them.
Lush asters bloom from late summer to fall, offering various sizes and shades.
botanical-name botanical name Aster spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6 inches to 8 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Pair this mum-like herbaceous perennial with flowers that bloom in spring and summer, and you’ll have a whole season’s worth of color in one pot. Asters range in height from dwarf to giant. They bloom in late summer to fall on top of single or multi-branched stems and tolerate irregular soil and moisture conditions. 

Flowers are daisy-like, with petals fanning out around a prominent yellow disk in single or double layers. Blooms can be pink, purple, white, red, or yellow and usually max out at about three inches wide. Foliage varies from fern-like to ovate and from blueish-green to dark forest. Plant ‘Pink Victor’ for three feet of drama or ‘Jenny Dwarf’ if space is an issue. 

Coneflower

Three magenta coneflowers bloom against a white balcony railing. Their slender petals curve gracefully around a raised center. Behind the stunning magenta coneflowers, a blurred backdrop reveals a charming cityscape.
These do quite well on balconies, showcasing colorful petals around central cones.
botanical-name botanical name Echinacea spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2-3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-10

Use a tall, deep container to accommodate its long taproot, and this perennial will fare well in the balcony garden. Coneflowers have single or multi-layer petals that radiate out beneath prominent central cones. Depending on the species and cultivar, flowers can be purple, yellow, red, pink, or orange. 

With an upright, vertical habit on strong stems, coneflowers can be placed at the center of a mixed perennial pot and serve as the thriller plant. As it tends to be leggy, front it with something midsized or place the pot at the back of a container cluster with varying heights. ‘Pink Poodle’ has a pompom shape and resembles a dahlia flower. ‘Secret Joy’ offers tall stems with whimsical buttercream blooms.  

Yarrow

Delicate white yarrow flowers with sunny yellow centers showcase intricate beauty. The fine details of each petal are accentuated in this close-up, creating a visually striking contrast against the lush, blurred green background.
With their dense, flat blooms, yarrow flowers love most soil types and plenty of sun.
botanical-name botanical name Achillea spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 2-3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Yarrow flowers are dense and flat in an umbrella-like arrangement on multi-branched stems. From summer to fall, its flower colors include yellow, red, white, and pink. Stems are delicate, and leaves are fern-like with a soft texture and a bright green to blue-gray color.  

Yarrow likes almost any soil and lots of sun. Its roots are relatively shallow, and it takes well to container life. Shear it back after a wave of blooms, and it will likely flower again. On high balconies or in locations with high winds, place the yarrow in a spot where it will be protected. You can also fix stems loosely to a central stake. 

‘Little Moonshine’ is a compact yarrow that mounds up nicely in a pot. ‘Paprika’ is a spicy red variety that grows up to two feet tall. This pollinator favorite brings many benefits to the garden.

Hydrangea

A hydrangea plant displays luscious clusters of purple flowers amidst rich, deep green leaves, a beautiful harmony of color and foliage. Behind, a row of the same plant showcases an array of blue, lavender, and purple blooms.
This shrub blooms in various colors and light conditions, making it balcony-friendly.
botanical-name botanical name Hydrangea spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 2-20 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

This deciduous shrub features round, flat, or conical blooms in shades of pink, white, blue, red, and green. Leaves are elliptical and large, sometimes up to eight inches long. Light preferences range from full sun to mostly shade, so whatever kind of exposure your balcony has, there’s probably a hydrangea you can grow out there successfully. 

Mature height also varies among species and cultivars, with climbers like Hydrangea anomala capable of covering all the balconies on your building if you let it go and give it enough time. Pay careful attention to mature size when selecting a variety for your unique space, and choose a pot that’s large enough to insulate roots during dormancy. 

‘Annabelle’ is a tried and true hydrangea standard that’s hard to kill. ‘All Summer Beauty’ is compact and bushy for a smaller pot. Either should grow well on a balcony with minimal fuss. Blooms can be left up for winter interest, and the birds will likely visit to peck their seeds.  

Dianthus (Pinks)

Purple dianthus flowers, vibrant against emerald leaves, bloom gracefully in a garden. The petals boast a delicate velvety texture, each infused with a rich, royal hue, evoking a sense of regal elegance in their layered arrangement.
These carnation relatives bloom in late spring and cascade beautifully in containers.
botanical-name botanical name Dianthus spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 6 inches to 3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Also known as ‘pinks’ because of their predominant color palette and fringed or sheared petal edges, dianthus plants can be low and groundcover-like or tall and densely clustered. Flowers are flat, ray-shaped, and lightly scented. Despite the nickname, ‘pinks’ also come in white, red, and purple. 

Most species bloom in late spring; some will repeat if sheared back after the first wave. Leaves are oblong or pinnate and small. The stems are delicate and clingy when growing near the soil. 

When planted in a container, dianthus may cascade over the sides in a mat-like habit. They require weekly watering in normal weather conditions and will not wither in hot, west-facing sun. ‘First Love’ has both pink and cream-colored blooms for a little variety, while ‘Tiny Rubies’ is perfect for a small container. 

Final Thoughts

When selecting a perennial for your balcony garden, educate yourself on its winter care and determine if you can meet those needs. Some plants can be left out in pots during freezing temperatures and will wake up happy next spring without any issues, while others might need to be covered, brought inside, or babied a little.

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