Perennials for Containers

val1(z4 UT)April 5, 2012

I am tired of buying annuals for my outdoor containers, so I am looking for perennials that look attractive in containers and will survive the winter. I do not bury any of my container during the winter months. They are about 16" in diameter and 20" deep. I have had luck with hosta, heuchera, daylilies and Autumn Joy sedum. Our invasive herbs like spearmint and catnip are also in containers.

What I need is some suggestions or pictures of what plants would look great together (color, foliage, height, etc.). I have two containers that will receive morning sun and two that will receive afternoon sun. I have a green and white hosta (Francee or sport of) already planted in the morning sun pots and plan to add a dark leaf heuchera.

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I have large container with a Ghost fern, heuchera (dark leaves)and lysimachia in it.
Another with brunnera Jack Frost, aqjuga Black Scallop and Japanese painted fern. And I have some early spring bulbs in most of the pots mixed in for early color.
Hellebore looks good in pot too. I have one alone, but will look good combined with any of the above.
Alchemilla will grow in pot, so will Bergenia.

I also have some small shrubs in pots.

Just go for what colors/color combinations you like. I read somwhere that they should be hardy 1 zone lower to make sure they survive winter without extra protection. I don't do that, just make sure that soil drains really well. I pot just about anything (korean lilac, yew, solomon's seal, grasses...)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:51PM
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started_with_bean(Zone 5--MA)

At a local restaurant, I've seen small azaleas growing in their deep containers. They don't give them any protection over the winter either. They too have some daffodils in there.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 10:57AM
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val1(z4 UT)

Rina -- Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely be purchasing some lysimachia for my containers that are in the flower beds. I looked at some images online and I love the way it spills over the edges. I also love the Black Scallop ajuga, brunnera (one of my favorites) and the ferns.

Started with Bean -- I love azaleas and bought a couple of Northern Lights azaleas a few years ago. They never have thrived for me. I wish I had better luck with them.

Well, I think I have found what I want for the morning light containers. I still need suggestions for the afternoon sun ones.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 12:39PM
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I personally like the golden color & spilling of lysimachia. I also use a lot of Japanese gras, Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'.

I have PJM rhododendron in pot (now third season). It does well, flowers, and they do not grow that large. Just make sure they have again good drainage and more acidic soil (here is one of the links I found helpful-there is much more info available:

I think most of what was suggested would do ok in your afternoon sun unless it starts right after 12:00pm? I think between 2-3pm is usually hottest. If so, you may consider echinacea, lady's mantle, penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (has deep red leaves, easy to grow), many grasses (tall, short, and different colors too), spirea (consider compact Magic carpet), Crimson Pygmy Barberry - good either way, leaves are more green if in partial shade, and it is also compact.

Pls. make sure you check hardines zone on anything before buying.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 1:43PM
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val1(z4 UT)


I learned many years ago to always check the hardiness zone before buying. Stores like Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart often have plants labeled as perennials that do not survive this area.

The area where my other pots are receives sun from about 1:00 pm until dark. It is also next to my brick house, so any plants have to love the sun and the heat. I have roses planted there and the pots are on both sides of the roses. I have had great luck with snapdragons, petunias, geraniums. Everything gets well watered (usually). I may try some echinacea, daisies, lilies, liatrus or perennial geraniums.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 3:25PM
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