Sweet potato vine and Dwarf Cavendish banana are some plants that grow well in containers on patios and provide attractive foliage. Florist chrysanthemums are good choices for providing low-maintenance blooms in containers.
The sweet potato vine, Ipomoea batatas, is a relative of the sweet potatoes available in grocery stores, but gardeners grow it for its attractive foliage and easy vining habit rather than its edible but bitter tubers. Leaves range from chartreuse to dark purple. This hardy plant is drought-tolerant but prefers moist soil and benefits from monthly fertilizing.
Dwarf Cavendish, Musa x paradisiaca, is a fast-growing ornamental banana plant that thrives in well-watered containers. Despite the name, Dwarf Cavendish can grow to 6 feet or more in full sun to part shade. The tropical natives are not winter hardy in most of the United States, but gardeners can bring them indoors in the winter to use as attractive houseplants.
Many retailers sell florist chrysanthemums, known as Chrysanthemum x grandiflorum, in the late summer and fall. Nurseries, grocery stores and home improvement stores advertise these flowers as mums and sell them in blooms of white, purple, pink and a variety of warm autumnal colors. Gardeners often treat these inexpensive plants as annuals, but they are winter hardy in zones 5 through 9. The plants require six hours of sun daily and weekly watering.