container shrub for full shade

drcindy(z8 WA)March 22, 2010

Help- I need to find a nice compact shrub for a 5-gallon or so container (it's only about 12 inches across but deeper than wide) that's on my front porch. It's north facing, protected, but literally gets no direct sun. I'd prefer something evergreen. I did a bit of a web search and suprisingly, one particular website is recommending various daphnes, which I love but thought were sun-lovers, as well as kalmias. Any thoughts or ideas? Thank you.

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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Daphne odora is a shade-lover but will outgrow a pot that size.

And there is the matter of frost penetrating the pot. Maybe try an 'Amersfoort' yew. It will be more hardy in a pot than a broad-leaved evergreen, and makes a pretty interesting specimen.

Not that it wold be able to stay in a container that size forever, either, but I bet you could get a number of years out of it.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 12:17AM
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Mary Palmer

I second bboys suggestion. That is a really nice plant and rather slow growing so it won't out grow the container too fast.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 12:33AM
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Fatsia would grow well in a pot for a few years, as would Sarcococca, Skimmia japonica, and the Yew bboy suggested. I've seen Sky Pencil Holly do well in that sort of situation too.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 1:13PM
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blameitontherain(8 PNW wetandwetta)

Sarcococca also smells divine when flowering in Winter/early Spring -- a nice bonus to anyone visiting you!


    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 2:29PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The new shrub book from the Gossler family suggests New Zealand pepperwood - and mentions putting the pot in the garage during Arctic fronts.

Roots are much less hardy than tops, when you move into groups like most broad-leaved evergreens it can be important to protect those in containers from penetrating, lingering cold.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 12:18AM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

That was supposed to be Tasmanian pepperwood. After I turned off the computer I realized I probably typed in New Zealand instead of Tasmania.

New Zealand, Tasmania, Australia, South America...all the same, right?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 12:22PM
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This is my first post...but I was researching the same thing yesterday, and according to my Western Garden book, evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) is my initial choice for the same that you have - my front porch that is always shaded (faces north). I haven't checked for how readily avaiable this is, but it was described as being able to be in shade and doing nicely in a container.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 11:51PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Note that most here are using USDA Hardiness Zones rather than Sunset Climate Zones (I put both).

The huckleberry is a nice container specimen as long as the potting medium stays adequately aerated and proximity to a building or overhanging tree branches does not result in heavy weevil damage to its leaves and roots.

Already prevalent in local ornamental horticulture, it would definitely have become common at local outlets anyway after the natives-only craze got going.

You should have little trouble finding it.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2010 at 12:00AM
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