21 Best Trailing Plants for Pots and Containers

Trailing plants have a special role in the world of container gardening. Whether you are looking for a spectacular spiller or a plant that can stand (or hang) alone, here are some beautiful trailing plants that work great in containers.

A close-up of a pot filled with blue trailing lobelia flowers. Everything in the pot is covered in the delicate blue blooms of the plants, with their petal tips curving gracefully. Their intricate, small green leaves provide a pleasing contrast to the vivid color of the blooms.


There is something particularly beautiful about plants that have a trailing growth habit. Those gently meandering vines languidly reach wherever the sun directs them to create such beautiful lines. I love to add trailing plants to my container arrangements and hanging baskets. 

Beautiful trailing plants fall into many groups, from drought-tolerant succulents and epiphytes to lush tropicals and flowering creepers. Some make excellent houseplants, while others prefer being outdoors in full sunlight. Here are 21 of my favorite trailing plants that work well in pots and containers.

String of Pearls

A close-up showcases the String of Pearls plant, gracefully trailing from a sizable hanging green pot. Its intricate tendrils drape elegantly against a backdrop of a textured brown brick wall, creating a stunning contrast and adding a touch of natural beauty.
The string of pearls plant requires minimal attention and looks great in hanging baskets.
botanical-name botanical name Curio rowleyanus, syn.
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright indirect light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-12

This sweet little succulent makes a wonderful addition to any hanging basket of like-minded plants. Mix a String of Pearls plant with echeveria, kalanchoe, and haworthia for a beautiful, textural combination that is exceptionally low-maintenance. As succulents, these plants like a lot of bright light, but direct sun should be avoided, especially in the afternoon. 

String of pearl plants needs very little care. The biggest concern is overwatering, as these plants don’t need much. Let the soil dry between waterings to avoid root rot. Handle this plant carefully, as the delicate stems and small, fleshy leaves can separate easily


A close-up highlighting the Inchplant's enchanting stems and leaves adorned with striking patterns of silver and purple variegation. Potted beautifully, it stands amidst a collection of other potted plants, radiating its unique and captivating foliage within the botanical arrangement.
This popular trailing plant boasts striking silver and purple variegated leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Tradescantia zebrina
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright indirect light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-12

Inchplant goes by many names and is one of the most popular trailing plants around. With its brilliant silver and purple variegated leaves, this stands out among houseplants and garden plants. Look for small purple flowers in the spring that let you know your inchplant is thriving. 

Regarding care, this plant likes good drainage but a fair amount of moisture, so water it regularly. Avoid letting water sit in the plant’s crown, as this will cause crown rot and deflate the top portion of your plant, leaving it scraggly. This plant looks gorgeous in an arrangement with other plants or on its own. 

Silver Satin Pothos

A close-up reveals the cascading stems of the Silver Satin Pothos, adorned with heart-shaped leaves showcasing a vibrant mix of silver and green hues. Surrounding it, other potted plants offer a lush, verdant backdrop to its elegant display.
Much like pothos, Silver Satin is incredibly adaptable in care and placement.
botanical-name botanical name Scindapsus pictus
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright indirect light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Silver Satin is not a true pothos, although it does behave like one and is closely related to pothos. The heart-shaped leaves are deep green with a shimmery, silver variegation called blistering that only appears on the top of the leaves. Different varieties have different patterns and amounts of this attractive variegation. 

Like pothos, Silver Satin is very flexible about its care and location. I’ve let mine dry out completely, and it bounces right back with a little attention. This is a fabulous plant for propagating and sharing. All you need to do is take a cutting and pop it in a glass of water for a few weeks to take root.

Heartleaf Philodendron

A close-up showcases the Heartleaf Philodendron's lush, deep green leaves with a glossy finish, gracefully veined and heart-shaped, flourishing within a sleek black pot. Its foliage stands out, vibrant and radiant against the contrasting dark container.
The heartleaf philodendron is adored for its hardiness and low-maintenance nature.
botanical-name botanical name Philodendron hederaceum
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright indirect light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

I love this plant for its resilience and ease of care. Unlike many philodendrons, heartleaf philodendron is tolerant of wet soil, and when placed in a window with indirect sun for most of the day, it basically takes care of itself. 

When they are young, the lovely heart-shaped leaves have a pink tint and mature into a lovely deep green. It is easy to propagate and transplant and pairs well with most other houseplants. It can tolerate humidity but does fine at a normal indoor humidity level

Burro’s Tail

A close-up of Burro's Tail, showcasing succulent leaves. The cascading stems elegantly spill out of a hanging pot, trailing delicately. The background reveals a serene home garden setting, adding natural charm.
In contrast to some succulents, Burro’s Tail thrives in sunlight.
botanical-name botanical name Sedum morganianum
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Another fun trailing succulent, Burro’s Tail, has a fun, overlapping leaf pattern that, when given enough light, grows in a tight rosette, creating a tail-like appearance. You can plant this one alone or combine it with other succulents and virtually forget it. 

Unlike some other succulent plants, Burro’s Tail does enjoy a fair amount of sun. Many succulents will blush under the stress of too much sun, but not this one. The more sun, the better. If placed in only partial sun, the spaces between leaves will lengthen, and it will lose its neatly organized appearance. 

English Ivy

A close-up of the English Ivy plant, featuring lush, trailing foliage. It gracefully sprawls from a rustic brown hanging pot, exhibiting its vibrant green leaves. The modern window of the house creates a stylish backdrop for this elegant plant.
Avoid exposing this plant to direct sunlight to prevent leaf damage.
botanical-name botanical name Hedera helix
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-13

English ivy is a classic spiller that looks beautifully refined in an outdoor container arrangement. Pair this one with a rose bush for the ultimate cottage garden in a pot. Keep your ivy contained, as this one can be aggressive. While it may look like a good ground cover, it can get out of hand and create a monoculture if you aren’t vigilant.

As long as you keep it contained, English ivy is a beautiful trailing plant that is easy to care for and thrives in some of the shadiest spaces in the garden. Keep this one out of full sun, as the leaves can burn.

Creeping Fig

A close-up of potted Creeping Ficus, displaying intricate, textured, green leaves. These leaves adorn several brown pots, each housing this lush foliage plant. The arrangement showcases multiple pots, adding a plentiful and decorative touch.
Creeping figs thrive indoors and outdoors, offering evergreen coverage for unattractive structures.
botanical-name botanical name Ficus pumila
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright indirect light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 7-11

Creeping figs can be planted outdoors or indoors. It does well year-round in zones 7-11 and is a great, evergreen way to cover unsightly structures. It also makes a nice trailing element to the container arrangement, and being an evergreen, it is perfect for painting with a small juniper shrub. 

Use this plant intentionally if planting outdoors. It can get out of hand like ivy if you don’t watch it closely. While it will grow in full sun, indirect light is acceptable, making this a great houseplant. 

Trailing Jade

A close-up reveals the fleshy, succulent leaves of the Trailing Jade, displaying shades of green with hints of red along the edges. The sprawling foliage gracefully spills over the sides of the large pot it's planted in, creating an elegant cascading effect.
Optimal bright, indirect light encourages this plant to bloom vibrant orange flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Senecio jacobsenii
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial sun or bright indirect light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

This plant may look a lot like the plant we know as Jade Plant or Crassula ovata, but the two are not closely related. Nonetheless, they have similar needs and do closely resemble one another. Trailing jade has downward-hanging, woody stems. The leaves are fleshy and tear-drop-shaped, arranged in an overlapping pattern.

Trailing jade can handle some direct sun, preferably in the morning. It should be kept out of direct sun in the afternoon to avoid stressing the plant. Bright indirect light is just right for this plant. Place it next to a sunny window, and it will produce bright orange flowers.

Fishbone Cactus

A close-up exhibits Fishbone Cactus plant. Its unique, serrated leaves resemble the pattern of a fishbone, presenting a blend of vibrant greens and subtle purples. Its lush foliage elegantly drapes and cascades within a sleek black decorative pot placed atop a smooth white table against a white wall background.
Treat this plant as an orchid rather than a cactus to maintain its contentment.
botanical-name botanical name Disocactus anguliger
sun-requirements sun requirements Indirect light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

This quirky little succulent has a look all its own. Fishbone cactus is a desert epiphyte, so it needs very good drainage and likes more humidity than the average cactus. Treat this plant more like an orchid than a cactus to keep it happy. 

Fishbone cactus does not like direct sun and will show signs of stress if it gets too much sunlight. Keep this plant in bright but indirect sun. The fun zigzagging leaves look great in a hanging basket and can grow up to three feet long!

Adanson’s Monstera

A close-up reveals the stunning, fenestrated leaves of Adanson's Monstera, featuring natural splits and holes, adding character to its vibrant greenery. The leaves gracefully spill over the edges of the pristine white pot, complementing the brown table it sits upon against a clean white wall backdrop.
Adanson’s monster breaks the mold as a fantastic trailer suited for hanging baskets.
botanical-name botanical name Monstera adansonii
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright indirect light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Most monstera plants are known for being excellent climbers, but Adanson’s monster, also known as the Swiss cheese plant, is a wonderful trailer that works great in a hanging basket. Planted outdoors in a tropical climate, this plant grows very quickly and very large, reaching up to 13 feet long. 

When kept in a container, expect a smaller, more manageable plant with attractive foliage. The margins of this plant don’t split in the same way that Monstera deliciosa does, but they do fenestrate. The leaves also remain smaller than their relatives. 

String of Hearts

A close-up of a String of Hearts plant in an orange plastic pot. The pot is overflowing with long, trailing vines with heart-shaped leaves in a deep green color with silver variegation.
A charming, low-maintenance plant with heart-shaped leaves, ideal for trailing in low light.
botanical-name botanical name Ceropaegia woodii
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright indirect light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

For a string plant that has a sweet appearance, look no further than a string of hearts plant. This pretty, delicate plant has long, thin stems which can trail up to 12 feet over time!  The leaves are small, heart-shaped, and, in most cases, variegated. 

Keep your string of hearts plant in a warm, humid room and out of direct sunlight. My string of hearts plant loves the bathroom window with privacy glass to diffuse the light. This is an easy plant to care for and can handle some neglect. It flowers easily and grows quickly, filling up a hanging container in no time. 

Lipstick Plant

Close-up of a pair of flowers of a lipstick plant, with bright red tubular blossom and glossy green leaves. These plants have an exquisite appearance due to their cascading habit, and their glossy green leaves and bright red flowers are sure to draw attention.
Lipstick plants thrive indoors and prefer bright, indirect light for growth.
botanical-name botanical name Aeschynanthus spp.
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial sun, bright indirect light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-12

Named for its vermillion, tube-shaped flowers, the lipstick plant is a wonderful trailing plant that is easy to care for and makes a great houseplant. This is another epiphyte, so it needs good drainage and air circulation paired with a fair amount of humidity. 

The glossy leaves on this plant resemble a hoya, which makes sense as their care needs are very similar. Lipstick plants can tolerate some direct sun in the morning, but bright indirect light is the most appropriate exposure, making this a wonderful houseplant. 

Black-Eyed Susan Vine

Intricate blooms of a Black-Eyed Susan Vine unfurl in this captivating close-up. The trumpet-shaped flowers, adorned with five radiant yellow petals, showcase a captivating contrast against the dark brown center. The scene unfolds amidst the confines of an oval pot, hinting at its versatile adaptability.
Black-eyed Susan vine thrives outdoors with the sun, showcasing a flower resembling its namesake.
botanical-name botanical name Thunbergia alata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Another misnomer, the Black-eyed Susan vine is not a close relative of rudbeckia, but the flowers strikingly resemble those of their namesake. Black-eyed Susan vine makes a wonderful outdoor trailing vine for containers, as it needs a lot of sun. Full sun is best for this flowering vine. 

This fast grower reaches up to eight feet long in a single season. In cooler climates, Black-eyed Susan vine must come indoors in winter. It is not cold tolerant; a frost will kill the foliage and possibly damage the roots. Keep this vine in a container in warmer climates to prevent it from becoming invasive by aggressive self-seeding.

Trailing Lobelia

A close-up of a pot filled with blue trailing lobelia flowers. Everything in the pot is covered in the delicate blue blooms of the plants, with their petal tips curving gracefully. Their intricate, small green leaves provide a pleasing contrast to the vivid color of the blooms.
Ideal for shaded containers, bright violet-blue blooms attract pollinators.
botanical-name botanical name Lobelia erinus
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

For adding some punches of color to your outdoor containers, trailing lobelia is a perfect choice, especially if your containers don’t get sun all day. Although lobelias can tolerate full sun, they perform best in partial shade. Most types are mound-forming, but the L. erinus species has a trailing habit. 

The bright violet-blue flowers on this little plant are very attractive to humans and pollinators. This prolific bloomer will be covered in small flowers, sometimes from spring until fall. Give this plant more shelter from the summer sun to prolong its blooms.

Creeping Jenny

A close-up of a Creeping Jenny plant growing in a pot. It is covered in tiny, star-shaped flowers and adorned with vivid yellow leaves, exuding a cheery and bright touch. The plant is growing in a large terracotta pot, which contrasts nicely with the yellow leaves and flowers.
Small flowers and vibrant foliage make Creeping Jenny a fast-growing perennial suitable for large containers.
botanical-name botanical name Lysimachia nummularia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

While creeping Jenny is a flowering plant, the flowers are quite small and fade quickly. Fortunately, this plant has very pretty foliage, so it is commonly used as a spiller in arrangements and a ground cover. The plant can be difficult to control, so it works best in a large container

Fast growing, with small, well-shaped pairs of leaves, it’s no wonder this plant is so popular and easy to find. Plant it in spring and watch it take off. This is a perennial in zones 3-9, so it can be left outdoors year-round. 


A vibrant cascade of red and white fuchsia flowers spills forth from a hanging basket. With their delicate petals spilling over the sides, the flowers are in full bloom. The white petals are broader and shorter, with a slightly ruffled edge, while the red sepals are long and narrow.
Fuchsia plants offer stunning blooms adaptable to containers or the ground.
botanical-name botanical name Fuchsia
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Fuchsia plants come in a wide array of color combinations, each one more beautiful than the last. This plant is a bit more work than others on the list, but the stunning blooms are well worth the effort

You can plant your Fuchsias in a container where they will trail or in the ground where they will have more of a mounding or climbing habit. Brightly colored flowers hang pendulous and attract pollinators from June until the first frost. 


A pot overflowing with petunias and surfinias in shades of purple, pink, and yellow-white. In full bloom, the flowers unfurl their petals, revealing their trumpet-shaped centers, while the lush green foliage cascades over the pot's edges, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of color and life.
Regular watering yields abundant blooms, making them worthwhile despite maintenance.
botanical-name botanical name Petunia
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Typically grown as annuals, petunias are one of the most recognizable plants at the nursery. Their large, colorful, and sweet-smelling flowers make them very popular for hanging baskets and container arrangements. If given the opportunity, many varieties will form a trailing habit as they grow taller. 

Add these lovely plants to containers that get plenty of sun. More sun means more flowers for petunias. These are not drought-tolerant, so don’t forget to water them. This makes them sound high maintenance, but I have to say, they are well worth the effort as one of the biggest bloomers. 

Pearls and Jade Pothos

A close-up of a healthy Pearls and Jade Pothos leaf shows its heart-shaped form, glossy sheen, and uneven variegation. The leaf is attached to a sturdy green stem. Other leaves can be seen in the background, creating an impression of lushness and vitality.
A joyful, easy-care houseplant with striking variegation, this pothos thrives in various conditions.
botanical-name botanical name Epipremnum aureum ‘Pearls and Jade’
sun-requirements sun requirements Bright indirect light
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-12

This plant brings me so much joy. It is one of the easiest houseplants to care for, and it’s beautiful, too! The wonderful variation of pearls and jade is crisp and highly contrasted. As the name implies, these leaves are creamy white paired with variations of jade green.

Pearls and Jade can tolerate varied sun, water, and soil conditions. Like most other pothos types, it is hard to kill this plant. Ideally, this one prefers plenty of indirect light, but it does surprisingly well with very low exposure, although it is unlikely to produce much new growth this way.

Silver Falls Dichondra

A close-up of 'Silver Falls' Dichondra, a trailing evergreen plant with small, heart-shaped, silvery-green leaves. These vines are dangling out all directions, tumbling over the edge of a black pot. Its leaves have a velvety, soft texture and are slightly curled at the edges.
Elegant ruffled leaves in soft grey-green make this a perfect trailing companion for sun or shade.
botanical-name botanical name Dichondra argentea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 8-10

Silver Falls pairs beautifully with most container plants due to its unique frosty coloring. The foliage is a soft greyish green with a very pretty, ruffled edge on its rounded, heart-shaped leaves. These leaves hang individually on long, thin stems that are easily blown about by a breeze. 

The movement, texture, and color of Silver Falls make it a great companion. It requires little other than a small bit of space and partial sunshine. Once established, this plant is drought-tolerant. It trails up to four feet in one season.

Sweet Potato Vine

A lush green sweet potato vine cascades over the edge of a large black planters. An eye-catching arrangement is produced by the plant's colorful foliage, which stands out against the dark pot.
Fast-growing sweet potato vine adds beauty to containers and gardens.
botanical-name botanical name Ipomoea batatas
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

Named for its edible cousin, sweet potato vine is a pretty ornamental that looks great when spilling over the side of a container. This is a fabulously fast grower if you want to see some growing action. The most common varieties are eggplant purple or chartreuse, but breathtaking variegated varieties fill a lot of space with attractive foliage

Sweet potato vine is versatile and tolerant of full sun or partial shade. Make sure to keep this one watered if it’s living outdoors; it isn’t drought-tolerant. It is, however, incredibly resilient and will recover quickly from almost entirely drying out.

Licorice Plant

A close-up of a licorice plant in a yellow bucket. Its slender green stems gracefully support a cascade of delicate silvery-white leaves, each imbued with a touch of velvety softness. Set against a patio backdrop, the licorice plant exudes an air of elegance and serenity.
It is ideal for hanging baskets, pairing seamlessly with colorful petunias.
botanical-name botanical name Helichrysum petiolare
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 9-11

The licorice plant resembles Silver Falls Dichondra in color and texture. The leaves are greying green with a flocked surface that looks frosted. The foliage is small and rounded, growing in a loose rosette formation. As the leaves mature, they spread farther apart on the thin stems.

This plant pairs well with many other beautiful trailing plants in a hanging basket. Pair the licorice plant with some colorful petunias and watch them bloom together. That’s right; not only does this plant have stunning foliage, but it also produces beautiful flowers.

Final Thoughts

There is something special about how trailing plants meander along, curving one way or another and turning toward or away from the sun. These wonderful plants perform excellently in containers and make the ideal spillers in your container arrangements.

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Close-up of a flowering roselle plant in a garden against a blurred green background. The plant produces a large, trumpet-shaped flower with delicate crimson petals and a prominent central stamen. The petals are slightly ruffled. Next to the flower on the stem there is a calyce, which is the fleshy, cup-like structure that forms after the flower has bloomed and encases the seedpod.


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