Plants for Containers – What to Plant in Garden Pots and Planters
Plants for Containers
Window-boxes 15-20cm (6-8in) deep are suitable for growing a large variety of plants. In spring they can come alive with bulbs planted the previous autumn — snowdrops (Galanthus), crocuses, dwarf, narcissi and , hyacinths, scillas and dwarf irises, for example.
Many summer bedding plants grow well in window-boxes, but avoid tall-growing kinds which spoil the proportions of the box. A charming effect can be created by mixing trailing plants — helichrysums, ivy-leaved, lobelias (Lobelia erinus), nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) and verbenas, for instance — with petunias, marigolds (Calendula and Tagetes), fibrous and tuberous , pansies ( X wittrockiana) and salvias (Salvia splendens). Do not overlook dwarf shrubs and conifers which add form and permanency to a box —shrubby cinquefoils ( hybrids), , hebes and dwarf conifers, such as the upright types of juniper.
In winter, dwarf conifers, especially the golden and blue forms, are excellent in window-boxes. They can be grown with (Erica carnea) and ivies ( helix varieties), while a few winter-flowering hardy cyclamen ( coum) add a delicate touch.
Free-standing stone, concrete and plastic tubs andcan be filled with the same plants as window-boxes — the choice being wider for very large containers. Keep a good balance by planting tall plants with low-growing and trailing ones. The evergreen foliage of variegated ivy and periwinkle makes a good foil for the bright colours of busy Lizzies (Impatiens), pelargoniums, sweet Williams (Dianthus barbatus) and marigolds (Calendula and Tagetes), as well as calceolarias and heliotropes.
Many house plants are also effective with summer bedding plants. The arching leaves of spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) complement agapanthus, while a cordyline set at the rear of a low container with bedding plants adds height and form. Also, the flaming colours of coleus mix well with silver-leaved cineraria (Senecio maritima) and either silver-grey or lemon-grey helichrysums.
Large tubs make ideal containers for, hydrangeas and standard fuchsias, both in sun and light shade. Bay trees (Laurus nobilis), trained as standards, are favourites beside the front door. And for a less formal effect plant winter jasmine ( nudiforum) or forsythia. Roses, clematis, , and Japanese maples (Acer palmatum varieties) are also good tub plants. For deep shade, plant tubs with pieris, mahonias, hostas, brunneras and hellebores.
Hanging baskets are usually viewed from below and should consist mainly of trailing plants — nasturtiums, tradescantias, fuchsias, creeping Jenny (nummularia), petunias, , lobelias and pendulous begonias, for instance.