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No matter where you live, you want to make the most of the good weather days. Spending time on the patio is even more relaxing when you add seasonal color and interest with container plants, window boxes, or beds of annuals, perennials, and shrubs. And since many plants attract tons of pollinators, you’ll enjoy watching butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds flit about while you drink your morning coffee or sip your iced tea.
To find the right plant for your conditions, observe how much direct sunlight your patio gets at different times of day: Full sun means more than six hours and part sun is about half that. Full shade means your patio gets less than an hour or two of sun, or only a little morning sun. No matter how much you fall in love with a plant, consider its needs first before buying it: Shade lovers can’t handle the heat, and sun lovers never perform well in the shade. Before buying shrubs and perennials, which return every year, check your USDA Hardiness zone (find yours here) to determine if the plant can survive winter in your region. See our favorite annuals, perennials,