Gardening Tips and Highlights

Many perennials and shrubs can live for several years in a container.  By taking advantage of this characteristic, you can reduce the amount of time and money you spend on your pots.  Your containers can provide you with year-round interest, depending on the plants you choose, and you can lend consistency to your designs.

For a plant, life in a container is much different than one in the ground.  Containers can provide excellent drainage, but the plants depend on you for water and nutrients.  Shrubs and larger perennials often stay smaller in a pot, though this depends on the plant, climate, and container.  Also, containers don’t insulate a plant’s roots from winter temperatures.

The general rule of thumb for container-plant survival through the winter is that the plant should be hardy to two zones colder than the USDA Hardiness Zone.  Listed are tough, hardy plants that will also look great.

“Golden sword” yucca, (Zones 4-11), it combines easily with so many plants.  It has 2 inch-wide swordlike leaves and has margins that are thin and dark green, centers of golden yellow, and curly fibers along the edges.  It grows to 2 to 3 feet high with an equal spread.  Mix with Bergenia, pansies or Lamium for spring and summer, then with yellow or redtwig dogwood for winter.

“Green mountain” boxwood, (Zones 4-9), is a slow-growing shrub that retains a dark green color throughout the winter. It’s tough but living in a container will keep it smaller than its normal 5-foot height.  It grows into a graceful pyramid.

Variegated red-twig dogwood, (Zones 2-8), this shrub’s variegated leaves are handsome with dogwood’s deepest color appears on young stems in early spring. Its leaves have white margins and grayish-green centers with bright red stems that shine in winter.


These are just a few plants to consider for your containers, check with your local nurseries for more ideas.  You can mix annuals and perennials along with the shrubs and have a diverse changing design all year long.

Information from “Fine Gardening”.