Year Round Patio Plant

duscarterDecember 6, 2008

Any suggestions on a plant that will survive year round in our large outdoor pots? They get too heavy to move in and out in the Carolina winter.

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I'm no expert, but my first thought is to plant these large pots with an ornamental shrub - preferably evergreen - and then underplant it seasonally. The possibilities are endless!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 10:08PM
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rootdiggernc(Z-7A NC)

I use the half barrel liners. You can put a trellis in the pots for vines,,, native honeysuckles, clematis, or even some edible vines and underplant with other things. I have herbs for underplanting in one. Some of them can take the drought pretty good so not as much watering, which can be a plus especially when we have water restrictions.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2008 at 12:17AM
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That list is endless - what conditions are we talking about? Full sun, deep shade, in between and what sort of look are you aiming for? cottage, tropical, screening, low maintenance, blooming...?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 4:52PM
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What better plant for a large patio pot than the yucca? Aesthetically, the yucca makes a bold, architectural statement. And from a utilitarian point-of-view, when positioned defensively near windows, doors, and other points of entry, the yucca acts as a superb deterrent to burglars, home invaders, Fuller Brush salespeople, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other unwanted guests.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 2:49PM
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Thanks for the follow ups. The Yucca would work, but it would prick me bringing in the groceries.

We just need some low maintence greenery. Blooms would be nice. They will get full sun.

Any more suggestions?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 11:33AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Gardenia, camellia, boxwood, hollies, conifers, dwarf hinoki cypress...anything you can plant in the ground you can keep in a pot if it's big enough and you root prune it if necessary.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2008 at 12:54PM
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Being impaled by a yucca is, indeed, a sobering thought. Why not plant weeping, fern-leaf Japanese maples in those fine patio pots? After the maples shed their leaves in the fall, you could string the bare branches with some of those festive little holiday lights for an electrifying Yuletide effect. To be really gauche, you could leave the lights up all year, or near Easter, replace them with a colorful array of Easter eggs, thus creating a movable (sp.?) Easter Egg Tree.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 9:35AM
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The laceleaf japanese maples are choice container plants for sure! And jay gave some great uses for them while they're leafless. But they don't usually appreciate full sun...some afternoon shade is more to their liking. The leaves will get burned in late summer with full sun.

A dwarf holly or osmanthus would be perfect for this use. I always like to get something extra out of my evergreens, and these provide winter berries and spring/fall fragrance, respectively. Gardenia is also a good choice, although they can be a little finicky. Lots of other options as well.

One thing I've wanted to try is a michelia figo in a big container (banana shrub). Anyone have experience with this one in a pot?...I've read the fragrance is just outstanding.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 11:45AM
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We have _Michelia figo_ 'Port Wine' and a specimen of the generic banana shrub growing in the open ground in our Zone 7B garden. The horticultural literature notes that the banana shrub is marginally hardy in Zone 7B. Therefore, it may not be wise to try to grow one in a patio pot, which would expose its root system to cold winter temperatures. The same is true of gardenias. Their roots are much warmer in the ground than in a pot.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 3:43PM
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