Potted plants are a favourite of many gardeners, from those with country courtyards to those with compact, roof gardens. Particularly useful for the latter, potted plants give you a portable, flexible outdoor greenery option; and offer valuable organic solutions for those stuck with paved or decked gardens. No soil? Potted plants! No ground space? Potted plants! They really do come in useful very often.
But one thing that many gardeners forget, is how many plants can remain in their containers throughout winter. Even in the bite of a British frost, lots of perennials and shrubs can soldier on regardless – saving you time, money and effort. Bear in mind that plants will behave differently in pots, so even if you’re familiar with their size and shape characteristics in soil, don’t expect this to hold true in a container. Your potted plant will be protected and drained, but you’ll need to control irrigation, nutrients and insulation.
Yucca (Golden Sword)
Yuccas are renowned for their hardiness, and beauty whilst being tough. Golden Sword is no different, but it does look outstanding in a container and it combines so well with other plants – a really important feature when selecting species for a container. Its green blades with pastel yellow stripes will keep their bright colours through all four seasons, complementing bergenias, dogwoods and other fantastic container plants.
Keep your yucca in bright, dry conditions and expect to see those delicious cream-white flowers in summer – reaching up to 6 foot, even in a container.
Juniper (Blue Star)
Another familiar plant, Juniper, offers something different to your containers. Blue Star is a real ace-up-the-sleeve when it comes to finding vibrant colours in winter, few other plants can offer this alongside year-long hardiness. Its blue needles are bright and vivid, tightly-packed to offer surface coverage, and can cover 4 feet of (slowly growing) width. The branches of Blue Star will hand elegantly over edges, crowning your container in dry, sunny areas of your garden.
From bright blue to rich green, the Emerald Arborvitae is a back-to-basics potted plant as we recognise them. Its height and consistent rich green colour can provide real contrast during autumn and winter, when other plants are retreating and fading. Outside of a container, this narrow, vertical plant can reach up to 15 feet; but don’t expect any more than 5 if you’re potting. It makes a great compact splash of colour, but also adds height to your garden; thriving in sun and light shade.
But bear in mind…
- You’re going to need a frostproof container with good drainage. Avoid terracotta where you can, instead opting for stone or iron where possible.
- Keep an eye out for potting-specific soil, which drains much better than bedsoil.
- Keep watering until the soil is frozen in winter, and don’t try to thaw.
- Make an effort to repot all plants after three to four years, no matter how well they seem to be doing.
Eden Restored is a team of passionate garden designers working throughout London, Kent and Surrey.
We deliver value-for-money on projects of any size, from inner-city courtyards to countryside cottages.
To discuss your ideas and how we can help throughout the entire process, get in touch.