Hardy Perennials for Pots

Pot-grown perennials can transform any tiny space into a colourful garden. Container growing requires gardeners to select species with similar light, moisture and fertiliser requirements. For the best results, choose large containers, as small containers require more frequent watering and may not accommodate root growth. Other considerations include plant height, colour, texture, foliage and, for flowering species, bloom time. Choose a variety of complementary species for visually interesting pots.

Perennials for Sun

Hardy perennial species for sunny spots include autumn sage (Salvia greggii), hardy geranium (Geranium pratense 'Johnson's Blue'), Baja ruellia (Ruellia peninsularis),chrysanthemum ( Chrysanthemum spp.), variegated Jacob's ladder (Polemonium caeruleum 'Brise d' Anjou'), evergold carex (Carex 'Evergold'), green feathery senna (Senna Artemisioides filifolia) and blanket flower (Gaillardia grandiflora).

Perennials for Shade

For a pot in a shady spot, plant artemesia (Artemisia vulgaris 'Oriental Limelight'), Mexican evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa), variegated lilyturf or variegated liriope (Liriope muscari 'Variegata'), or violas (Viola spp.).

Perennials for Sun/Shade

Hardy perennials for mixed light conditions include asparagus fern (Asparagus sprengeri), Evergold Grass carex (Carex oshimensis 'Evergold'), cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis), coral bells (Heuchera), pincushion flower (Scabiosa columbaria), penstemon Huskers Red ( Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red'), and foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus).

Perennial Herbs

Many perennial herbs can thrive in containers and provide the added benefits of fragrance and culinary usefulness. These include oregano (Origanum vulgare), sage (Salvia officinalis), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis), hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), chamomile (Matricaria recutita) pineapple sage (Salvia elegans), lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla), catnip (Nepeta cataria), spearmint (Mentha spicata) and peppermint (Mentha piperita).

Spring-blooming Perennials

For early spring colour, plant container-friendly species such as bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis), lady's mantle (Alchemilla mollis), pearly everlasting (Anaphalis spp. ), spurge (Euphorbia spp.), candytuft (Iberis sempervirens), buttercup (Ranunculus spp.), and globeflower (Trollius x cultorum).

Summer-blooming Perennials

Create a bright summer container garden with summer-blooming perennials such as golden Marguerite (Anthemis spp.), bellflower (Campanulas spp. ), coreopsis (Coreopsis spp.), fleabane (Erigeron spp.), firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella), sea rose (Helianthemum nummularium), sheep's bit (Jasione Montana), and balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus).

Fall-blooming Perennials

Keep your container garden colourful well into the fall with autumn-blooming perennials such as New York aster (Aster novi-belgii), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida), leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides), sea holly (Eryngium spp.), sea lavender (Limonium latifolium), Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), and goldmoss (Sedum spp.).

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About the Author

Based in the Southwest, Linsay Evans writes about a range of topics, from parenting to gardening, nutrition to fitness, marketing to travel. Evans holds a Master of Library and Information Science and a Master of Arts in anthropology.