Perennial Plants for Pots

Written by ken macdonald Google
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Perennial Plants for Pots
Dahlias in containers add interest and colour to your patio or terrace. (Anna Yu/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Perennials usually are the first choice for planting in a garden, but some also can be planted in pots. Because perennials die back in winter and regrow in the spring, the container doesn't have to be replenished with new plants every year. Pots with perennials can be overwintered in unheated garages or sheds. Use containers with perennials to add colour to decks and patios, or for contrast in a flower bed.

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Growing a single hosta in a container is "dramatic and sculptural," according to University of Minnesota Extension, and a hosta also matches well with annuals and other foliage plants in a container. Hostas have lush leaves and elegant, purple to white blooms carried on long shoots. Variegated cultivars have green leaves with stripes ranging from cream to yellow, while standard types display different shades of green or blue-green. Their foliage provides a good backdrop for other container plants with colourful blooms. Most hostas prefer dappled or filtered shade and plenty of moisture during the summer, though some can take more sun. Make sure companion plants in a container with a hosta have similar requirements.


Gardeners grow dahlias for their blooms, which come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes and colours. As container dahlias grow, they need support so the stems don't break in the wind. Insert a garden cane into the potting soil right at the start of the growing season to avoid damaging the developing roots. Dahlias need full sun and well-drained soil. When the plants start to wither in the fall, cut the foliage right back and leave them in the soil for a week or two. Carefully remove the dahlia tubers from their pots. Clean soil from the tubers, let them dry and then place in a box. Cover the tubers in vermiculite, sphagnum peat, or wood shavings and store where the temperature is a steady 4.44 to 12.8 degrees Celsius. Repot the tubers in the spring.


Cannas grow happily in pots and make an eye-catching display with their large, tropical-looking leaves of green, burgundy or bronze, and stalks topped with red, orange, yellow or pink blooms. Canna varieties range from 1½ feet to 8 feet tall, so it's best to grow the smaller types in pots. Cannas like full sun; keep the soil in the pot damp; if it is dry to the touch, give it some water, but be careful not to waterlog the pot. The Royal Horticultural Society recommends planting the canna roots, called rhizomes, 4 inches deep in 12-inch pots. The Society advises moving container cannas to a frost-free location in colder areas.

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