Planting up summer pots? Choose 5 plants which just keep on giving
Make your summer pots of colour last all year
Hannah Stephenson chooses 5 permanent plants for containers that will come back year after year.
If you’re short of time but want a riot of colour and some architectural gems on your patio, you may be best off choosing perennials, flowering shrubs and evergreens when you plant up your summer containers.
Planted in the right spot and given the correct care, they can be left in their pots permanently and don’t have to be replanted into a bigger container for years, providing you with plenty of interest long after your neighbours have chucked out their pots of summer bedding and started again.
These are among the most colourful, rewarding climbers which can do well in pots given the right conditions. While some clematis grow to great heights, scaling walls and climbing over fences, there are other smaller and dwarf varieties that are bred with container planting in mind. These include the famous Raymond Evison collection of compact cultivars, including C. ‘Giselle’.
Some compact large-flowered clematis have an extended flowering season and produce more flowers on each stem, flowering from spring and continuing into the summer, including the pale blue ‘Cezanne’ and the deeper blue ‘Parisienne’.
When you’re buying, check the label says the plant is suitable for container planting and its maximum height isn’t going to outgrow the space you have available.
Ideal for large pots, plant several different varieties to climb up a wigwam or other support and keep their roots shaded, either with other smaller plants or with a mulch of pebbles or other decorative stones.
While patio roses tend to be unscented and the blooms smaller, there are some compact shrub roses that provide masses of fragrance and huge blooms, like the David Austin English shrub rose ‘Princess Alexandra of Kent’ and its new apricot pink variety ‘Emily Bronte’, which is being launched at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Compact shrub roses need to be planted in large pots, ideally 45cm (18in) across and 60cm (2ft) deep, in a 50:50 mix of John Innes No. 3 and multipurpose compost.
Add some slow release fertiliser to the mix to give it a good start and keep it well watered. You shouldn’t need to repot it for years, just top up the surface with fresh compost every spring.
There are plenty of dwarf conifers available for pots, most notably the lemon-scented Monterey cypress, which will last for years in a pot.
Using this type of plant to give height in a container also leaves you free to swap smaller more colourful plants as they finish flowering, just digging them out and replacing them with a summer flower, but leaving the conifer in place.
For real structural effect, consider planting a dwarf acer (Japanese maple) in a pot. There are many smaller varieties available with an array of leaves ranging from acid yellow to burgundy and everything in-between.
In autumn their colours intensify, providing you with stunning reds, yellows and purples for superb seasonal interest.
Succulents including houseleeks (sempervivum) and sedum look terrific in shallower containers, adding interest with their floral structures and foliage colour, which ranges from silver to burgundy.
They are also drought-tolerant, so won’t need as much watering as everything else on a sunny patio, and many will withstand sub-zero temperatures.
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- From the first Baby Burco to the Rev-Robe suitcase: 8 mid-century items every household had - May 23, 2018
- World Turtle Day: 5 places to swim with awesome sea turtles - May 23, 2018
- An egg a day could keep the doctor away - May 22, 2018
- In Pictures: Queen pays visit to Chelsea Flower Show - May 21, 2018
- Harry and Meghan release official wedding pictures to mark big day - May 21, 2018
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!