My Easy Container Garden Strategy

I love the beautiful containers I see in magazines throughout the year – a combination of petunias, cannas, and other warm-season annuals in the summer, or conifers, pansies, and kale in the winter. Unfortunately, these plant combinations almost never work for me – inevitably one plant doesn’t grow, one grows too much and flops, and it never achieves the lush look I’m going for. Read on to learn what I do instead.

Use cold hardy shrubs, perennials, and grasses in containers.

Fatsia japonica
A Fatsia japonica in a container. Cold hardy in a protected location.

After failing with seasonal annuals I have learned that a good option for me is to use cold hardy plants in containers. The advantage of this option is I can place the plants (in terracotta pots with drainage holes) in an unseen part of my yard during the winter. They go dormant, get cut back, and then emerge fully mature the following spring. I then place them on my front and back porches, and as an accent on the front walkway.

Group individual container plants to make an interesting combination.

cold hardy perennials
A mix of cold-hardy perennials with a few pink leaved annuals for interest.

Now that I have a group of established plants in containers, the goal is to mix them to create an interesting combination. I use bricks to raise the containers, which creates a layered effect, and I focus on using a variety of textures and foliage, including gold, pink, and white variegation. Because each plant is in its own pot I can customize watering, and if anything stops looking good I can easily remove that container from the group.

My approach to gardening is figuring out what works for me and then having fun with it. Do you need help coming up with a gardening strategy of your own? Contact Bright Leaf Landscaping at 919.619.4460 or fill out our online contact form. Landscape design and installation are our expertise, and we are always happy to meet with new clients to discuss potential projects!