For people in variable climates, gardening is often relegated to the spring and summer months. Potted or container plants offer a versatility and hardiness that make them ideal for year-round growing. Year-round potted plants can be planted outdoors in the spring and summer and then transported indoors, in their pots, during the colder winter months. Year-round potted plants are hardy plants that retain their foliage despite changes in light, temperature and humidity.
Green Mountain Boxwood
Green mountain boxwood is an evergreen shrub that has the potential to grow as tall as 5 feet if planted in free soil. When green mountain boxwood is cultivated in a container, it reaches a manageable 2 to 3 feet in height. Green mountain boxwood is known for its small green foliage and its peculiar shape; unlike most small shrubs, green mountain boxwood retains a triangular or pyramid shape as opposed to a low round shape. During planting, boxwood should be placed in a pot with a sandy or clay loam and phosphorus-rich fertiliser to promote initial root placement. Once established, a green mountain boxwood requires little pruning and can withstand winter temperatures as low as -29 degrees Celsius. However, because of the boxwood's tolerance for variable light, a potted green mountain boxwood can easily be transported indoors in extreme weather conditions.
If you prefer a shrub with blooms, a Japanese pieris may suit your needs. The Japanese pieris is an evergreen shrub that produces small cascades of white bell-shaped flowers during the blooming period in the spring; even the winter buds offer bright red visual interest to the plant. Japanese pieris are able to withstand winter temperatures as low as -37 degrees Celsius, but consistent exposure to harsh cold, wind and sunlight will damage the plant. Like many hardy shrub varieties, Japanese pieris plants do not require pruning and are adaptable to indoor and outdoor lighting for year-round growth.
Blue Star Juniper
Blue star juniper is a low-lying evergreen shrub that is full and squat in appearance. The distinct blue tint to the foliage is one of its defining characteristics. A potted blue star juniper is not likely to grow beyond 3 feet wide or tall; blue star juniper does well in low, wide pots. Blue star juniper is one of the hardiest shrub varieties, able to withstand temperatures as low as -37 degrees Celsius and harsh winter sunlight. It is one of the lowest maintenance container plants available; it requires very little watering, fertiliser or pruning. Most blue star junipers do best when left outdoors in the winter so that they have access to full sunlight, but indoor blue star junipers will flourish so long as they are placed in a light-filled location.
Fresh year-round herbs are a treat for chefs. Many herb varieties, including thyme, basil, sage and oregano, do well when they are potted and brought indoors during the winter months. Most culinary herb varieties do well in small pots and full sunlight during the summer; they do require adequate watering and consistent pruning or harvesting to ensure consistent growth. When temperatures drop in the late fall and early winter, herb pots do well on simple window sills that receive even lighting throughout the day. Many herbs prefer the cooler conditions of early fall, so prevent herbs from receiving too much heat or sunlight during the day.