Perennial shrubs for containers

Written by dee davies
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Perennial shrubs for containers
Choose large containers for perennial shrubs. (terracotta earthenware image by Christopher Meder from

Container-garden shrubs add beauty, colour, depth, interest and scent to the patio or garden. Several types of flowering perennial shrubs perform well in containers. There is no need to confine these treasures to a flowerbed or a corner of the landscape and hope they survive through the winter months. These container shrubs are easy to move into a protected environment during harsh winter weather.

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Abutilons, also called flowering maple, Chinese lantern bush and Chinese bellflower, perform well as container shrubs. These evergreen shrubs produce bell-shaped flowers from late spring until the end of summer. The delicate, dangling flowers bloom on the ends of thin stems. The 5- to 7.5-cm / 2- to 3-inch blooms come in shades of deep red, orange, pink, white and yellow. This perennial shrub can grow up to 4.6 metres / 15 feet tall. However, pinching the ends of the branches can force it to retain a more compact size. This perennial shrub performs well as a container-garden shrub. It prefers full sun and is frost-tender.

Angel's Trumpet

Angel's trumpet shrubs, also called brugmansia, are a wonderful addition to the container garden. These perennial shrubs produce large, sweetly scented flowers in shades of peach, orange, pastel yellow and white. Their sweet scent permeates the air during the evening hours. Most types of angel's trumpet produce single, trumpet-shaped flowers. Some new varieties have variegated leaves and produce double flowers. This container shrub performs well in areas that receive full sun and in shaded areas of the landscape. They require protection from the wind and are frost-sensitive.


Forsythias produce brilliant yellow flowers in the spring. Brilliant green leaves emerge along the bare branches during the summer and fall months. This perennial shrub tolerates both excessive heat and cold. Grow forsythia in containers and train them to climb along a trellis. This low-maintenance container shrub can grow up to 3 metres / 10 feet tall with a similar width, depending on the cultivar. Prune them to keep them to a preferred height. Dwarf varieties are available, but the 91-centimetres / 3-foot-tall plants do not produce blooms that are as attractive as their larger counterparts. This container-garden shrub prefers full sun and does not require a frequent watering schedule.


Hydrangeas produce masses of blue, pink, purple, red or white flowers from summer until fall. They produce large balls of flowers that can grow larger than 30.5 cm / 12 inches across. This container shrub drops its leaves every fall but surges back to life in the spring. Prune hydrangeas several times during the growing season to keep it healthy and compact. Some types of hydrangea can grow up to 3 metres / 10 feet tall and equally wide. Climbing and bushing types of hydrangeas are available for purchase. These perennial shrubs require root pruning every two to three years, or you can repot them into a larger container.

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