A potted pink hibiscus plant with multiple blooms, set against a weathered wooden fence background.

Patio Foliage Plants

Patio foliage plants are blooming houseplants that thrive outdoors during the summer season, but can’t withstand winters in Indiana. They have several advantages such as their mobility to easily move from either inside or outside. Patio plants let you get a touch of green foliage in your home in the winter, while allowing you to landscape the outside of your home in the summer, all with the same plant. They also give off a tropical appearance and feel. Furthermore, rarely can other plants compete with the size of blooms and length of bloom time offered by patio plants.

Recommended Patio Foliage Plants

Gardenia – An excellent patio plant available in bush or tree form with very fragrant flowers and handsome foliage. Gardenia requires cooler evening temperatures to set the buds for blooming. Can tolerate light shade outdoors and high light inside and will need acidic fertilizer.

Hibiscus – Comes in a bush form and the popular tree form. Flower colors include white, yellow, pink, salmon, and red to name a few. Single and double flowers are available as well as variegated foliage. Flowers are very showy and each one lasts just one day. It needs an acidic fertilizer 2-3 times in the summer.

Jasmine – Jasmine plants are very easy to take care of as well as being very fragrant with star shaped flowers in a bush form. Many types can be trained to grow on a trellis or kept as a bush.

Mandevillea – Has a dark green, rough textured foliage which highlights the 4†blooms. The flower color is usually pink, but there are also some white and yellow varieties available. Vines vigorously and requires plenty of support as it grows. Will bloom all summer long and prefers a high light location.

Nerium Oleander – Has a bushy appearance and may be pruned into a tree form. Has hot pink or white flowers which sport on the tips of branches. This plant prefers a sunny spot outside and high light inside. It is important to note that the plant is reported to be poisonous and appropriate precautions should be taken.

Citrus – There are many types of citrus such as Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Tangerines, and Grapefruit. They are capable of producing edible fruit in a high light location both indoors and outdoors. Most varieties will require pollination for fruiting. Citrus plants also have fragrant blossoms and beautiful fruit. They also prefer slightly acidic fertilizer for best growth.

Allamanda Cathartica – This plant is available in both bush and vining forms. The bush form produces small yellow blooms, while the vining form produces 3†yellow or pinkish-brown flowers. It likes to be in a sunny location outdoors and a high light location indoors.

Bougainvillea – Is a great plant to grow in a hanging basket or can be used as a climbing vine. It is one of the most popular and widely grown tropical vines. Many of the newer varieties feature striking variegated leaf forms. The flower color can range from white, pink, and purple. It also prefers high light both inside and outside.


Patio plants should be placed outdoors after the danger of frost has passed (approximately May 15th). These plants need to be adapted to the outdoors before they are moved there permanently. Therefore, it is important to gradually move the plant from the low light conditions of your home to the intense light of the outdoors. Keeping your eye on night time temperatures is also essential as patio plants typically do not do well when it gets below 55 degrees. Nice transitional areas include semi-sheltered areas such as porches or under shade trees.


While your patio plant is outside the plant should be checked daily to see if the soil is dry. As well as during the winter when your plant has been brought indoors, it should be watered only as needed and when the soil is dry. Along with watering, a fertilizer should be added April through August and reduced greatly during the winter.

Winter Care

Labor Day should signal you to prepare your patio plants for winter. Start by acclimating them to lower light by moving them to a shaded area such as underneath an overhang or shade tree. It is also important to check the plant for diseases and insects during this period. Using a systemic insecticide in your soil can reduce the risk of bringing insects into your home. Pruning should also be done at this time. As they are moved inside for the winter, there should be a reduction in watering and no fertilizer applications for the first 3 months after being moved indoors.

We at Bennett’s are here every day to give “Helping Hand Hints†personally, one to one. Many gardening problems are very specific, and we couldn’t possibly cover all aspects in these pamphlets. Any time you have a specific problem or need help, feel free to call. It’s our job to help you be successful in your growing endeavors, and we thoroughly enjoy giving you a “helping hand.â€

3651 McCarty Lane
Lafayette, IN 47905

Phone: (765) 447-7636
[email protected]