Containers are an easy way to add colourful focal points to a patio, porch, or backyard. You can experiment with large or small containers and a variety of different perennials. With so many to choose from, every container can have its own special flare and design! You can keep your arrangement neat with coordinating colours or go wild and add lots of contrast with different varieties!
There are many perennials you can add into a container to create a stunning arrangement. Unlike annuals, perennials are tough, hardy plants that come back year after year. Annuals need to be replaced every year whereas perennials can continue to grow for years in containers or transplanted in the autumn to garden beds. Containers are supposed to be focal points, so make them eye-catching. Remember to use fillers, spillers and thrillers in your containers to create a show piece.
Preparing to Plant
To design the best patio container, start with a good pot with drainage holes. There are so many different containers available at garden centres. If the container you choose does not have holes, make sure to drill some into the bottom. Well-draining potting soil is ideal for your container, with some slow release fertilizer mixed in.
When looking for perennials to add to a container, there are a few key items to consider before visiting the garden centre. Figure out the location which you will place your container. You need to keep in mind which plants will grow best in the area where your container is situated (sun or shade). In addition, knowing which zone you reside in will help in picking the perennials that are best suited for your area. Remember to water your container regularly, especially during hot periods, and remove any spent blooms to keep your container looking fresh and to encourage regrowth. At the end of the season, remove any faded foliage to soil level to prepare them for the winter.
Choosing Your Perennials
After preparing your container and deciding its location, it’s time to select your perennials! A great way to build your container is to pick out fillers, spillers and thrillers. Fill your pot with perennials to create substance, gorgeous perennials that trails down the side, and a dynamic eye catcher or two depending on container size.
To fill out your containers, there are a variety of perennials to that would be a good filler. For sun, Delphinium ‘Dark Blue White Bee’, and Lavendula ‘Platinum Blonde’ work well. For a shorter perennial, Sedum ‘Wild Fire’ and Sedum ‘Atlantis’ are nice options. If you have containers in shaded areas, try Heucherella and Athyrium ‘Regal Red’. Interested in aromatic perennials? Dianthus ‘Firestar’ and Monarda ‘Petite Delight’ are good choices for sun, and Astilbe ‘Visions in Red’ works well for shadier locations. Add different foliage colours, textures and sizes in your containers. This adds extra contrast and interest to your grouping of plants.
Perennials that spill over the sides of a container soften the structure, add flow and tend to create a fuller look. Do you have a sunny location? Campanula ‘Dickson’s Gold’ and Phlox subulata are excellent for trailing over the sides of a container. In shady locations, Hakonechloa ‘Aurealoa’ is a beautiful spiller. Hosta ‘Curly Fries’ with its extremely rippled bright leaves and purple flowers, bushes out and spills over the edges of a container.
Time to add the wow factor! Most likely, the fillers and spillers will add drama and interest to the container. However, it’s always a great idea to add an extra punch of excitement to an arrangement. Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’ and Hemerocallis ‘Vegas Jackpot’ bring that extra final touch to an arrangement in the sun. For shaded areas, Astilbe ‘Sugarberry’ or Veronica ‘Red Fox’ will add additional vibrant colour.
Florissa's Favourite Container Perennials
• Dianthus ‘Fire Star’ (20cm/8”)
• Delphinium Delphina ‘Dark Blue White Bee’ (50cm/20”)
• Lavandula ‘Platinum Blonde’ (40cm/16”)
• Monarda ‘Petitie Delight’ (25 cm/10”)
• Phlox Flame Series (30 – 50 cm/12-20”)
• Sedum ‘Wildfire’ (15 cm/6”)
• Sedum ‘Atlantis’ (15 cm/6”)
• Sedum ‘Lime Zinger’ (15cm/6”)
• Campanula ‘Dicksons Gold’ (10cm/4”)
• Phlox Subulata (15cm/6”)
• Echinacea ‘Rainbow Marcella’ (45cm/18”)
• Euphorbia ‘Bonfire’ (30cm/12’)
• Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ (50cm/20”)
• Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’ (25cm/10”)
• Hemerocallis ‘Fooled Me’ (60cm/24”)
• Hemerocallis ‘Vegas Jackpot’ (60cm/24”)
• Veronica ’Sunny Border Blue’ (50 cm/20”)
• Hosta ‘Loyalist’ (45 cm/18”)
• Hosta ‘Lucky Mouse’ (20 cm/8”)
• Athyrium ‘Regal Red’ (45cm/18”)
• Heucherella ‘Golden Zebra’ (25cm/10”)
• Heuchera ‘Lime Ricky’ (20cm/8”)
• Hakonechloa ‘Aureola’ (25cm/10”)
• Campanula ‘Blue Waterfall’ (25cm/10”)
• Hosta ‘Curly Fries’ (15cm/6”)
• Phlox Subulata ‘Red Wing’ (15cm/6”)
• Allium ‘Millenium’ (50cm/20”)
• Veronica ‘Red Fox’ (25 cm/10”)
There are many great perennials to use for a patio container. For more great suggestions on container fillers, spillers and thrillers, visit your local garden centre. To find a retailer near you, visit Find a Retailer.