Perennials for container gardens

Perennials for container gardens

Planting up your containers with perennials instead of annuals has many advantages. Unlike annuals, perennials don’t have to be replaced every year, so although they may cost a little more at the start, they’re better valued for money in the end. They’re also better for the environment, as not replacing plants every year means you use fewer plastic plant pots and less compost. Plus, if your perennials get too big for your pots, you can plant them out in the garden, where they will live for years. Pick the right perennials, and you can have containers filled with colour and interest all year round.

Tips on container gardening with perennials

When planting up your containers with perennials, remember these tips:

  1. Most perennials need more space than annual bedding plants, so pick an enormous container with enough space for plants to spread their roots.
  2. Ensure the container has suitable drainage holes and put crocks (bits of broken pottery) in the bottom of the pot to stop compost clogging up the holes.
  3. If you’re combining perennials in a container, choose plants that like the same conditions, e.g. all shade-loving plants or all ericaceous plants.
  4. Feed and water container-grown plants regularly.

Perennials for containers in the sun

These plants will grow happily in a sunny container, giving you years of pleasure.

  • Erigeron karvinskianus (Mexican fleabane) looks beautiful, spilling over the edge of a pot, producing masses of tiny daisies that start pink and turn white. It flowers for months in summer and autumn.
  • Erysimum ‘Bowles’ Mauve’ (Perennial wallflower) flowers from late spring right through to autumn, producing beautiful soft mauve blooms. It will need replacing every 3-4 years, as it tends to grow leggy.
  • Heucheras are fantastic in pots, with their vibrant foliage providing year-round colour, and the flowers bring in the bees in summer. Treat pots in spring and autumn with nematodes to protect against vine weevils, which attack the plants’ roots.

Perennials for containers in the shade

Fill shady containers with colour and interest with these easy-to-grow perennials.

  • Hardy fuchsias such as Fuchsia ‘Sunray’ with its variegated foliage and vivid pink flowers in late summer are ideal for adding late summer colour in containers. They die back in winter, so combine them with evergreen and spring-flowering perennials. 
  • Hostas are great for pots, their bold leaves contrasting beautifully with other, more delicate plants. Hostas come in a wide range of sizes, so there’s one to fit any container. 
  • Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ provides months of interest in a shady container, with its blue forget-me-not spring flowers and fantastic silver-marbled leaves that get bigger as the year progresses.
  • Hellebores are also suitable for shady containers, with striking winter flowers and evergreen foliage that makes a superb foil for other plants the rest of the year. 

We have a fantastic range of perennials in the centre, as well as containers, compost and everything else you need for your garden, so come and visit us soon!