Low-Income Neighborhood Planters

greeningup123February 20, 2013

Hello All,

We are a housing agency looking to add large decorative planters to one of our low-income neighborhoods. What do I mean by large? - planters will be 42" wide by 32" tall. Obviously we will be using potting soil, drainage stones at the bottom of planters, and mulch to help retain moisture. We accomplished a similar project last Summer where we planted tropical vines and annuals, such as Supertunias and sweet potato vines. However, with this separate project, we are trying to make these planters as low-maintenance as possible. In terms of low-maintenance, I mean that we are looking for things that do not require much water.

Here is my rough idea: a Dwarf Alberta Spruce will be planted in center of planter. Then four (4) plants will be planted around the spruce (similar to the thriller, filler effect).
My hesitation is when it comes to these filler plants. Originally I thought Gold Mop/Thread Cypress, but I was also thinking about some type of ornamental grass as the fillers. Would Miscanthus, or maiden grass be a good filler? Will they survive the winters here in Connecticut and come back nicely the next Spring even in containers? Will grasses in planters require a lot of water, or are there certain varieties that are more drought tolerant than others?


Welcoming all and any comments!!

Thank you,


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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

gravel at the bottom does nothing for drainage.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:46PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

if you want low maintenance trees, put them in the ground.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 8:49PM
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Winter survival..... In a heavier cement container yes but whats more probable for your plan, in and amongst the community you described.....These sized containers often end up as plant-less trash receptacles combo out side ash tray.

If ground grown option is used plows and ice melts ( salts) and even people with foot traffic would need to be considered in your plan for a more prime locations for best placement.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:03PM
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Plastic or fiberglass planters require less watering. Porous planters, like terracotta or concrete, dry out faster.

In growing zones where it freezes (if left out over winter) terracotta and ceramic pottery will break or chip and flake.

I have to agree, in a commercial setting, smokers inevitably crush out their cigarettes in planters, regardless of what is trying to grow in it.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:09PM
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