Screening plants grow large enough to add privacy to patios and deck areas. Gardeners have a vast selection of screening plants that perform well in pots, with choices including palms, flowering types, evergreens and fruit-producing varieties. Use pots that drain and are approximately 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter bigger than the root ball. This allows adequate space for new root growth. Potted plants do not grow as tall as ground-grown ones.
Some palms adapt to containerised growth and work well as screens. Potted palms add a touch of the tropics to an area. Clumping varieties have a denser growth habit. Pygmy date palms (Phoenix roebelenii) average 2.4 m (8 feet) in height. Grow two to three per container for the best screening effect; this palm grows well in sun to partial shade. Chinese fan palm (Livistona chinensis) has a dense, clumping habit and can reach 4.5 m (15 feet) tall. Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea microspadix) produces feathery, bamboo-like foliage and grows up to 2.4 m (8 feet) in height. It grows in partial to full shade.
Flowering screening plants serve two functions. They add privacy, with their dense growth, as well as colourful blooms. Some flower species also attract butterflies. Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.) is a large shrub or vine; various cultivars bloom in a vast array of colours in summer through fall. It prefers sunny conditions. Thyrallis (Galphima glauca) is a shrub that grows up to 1.8 m (6 feet) tall. The evergreen produces clusters of bright yellow flowers all year. Oleander (Nerium oleander) performs as a shrub or small tree. It grows 1.8 to 3 m (6 to 10 feet) in height and prefers sunny or partially sunny conditions. Rose, pink, yellow or white flowers bloom throughout summertime.
Evergreen screening plants add colour and privacy all year, as they do not experience foliage drop in winter. Some varieties even produce flowers, adding more colour to areas where they are used. Pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira) is a shrub that grows up to 4.5 m (15 feet) tall at maturity. It has dense growth and prefers sunny to shady conditions. Dwarf shefflera (Heptapleurum arboricolum) has a dense habit and can reach 3 m (10 feet) tall. The hardy shrub grows in sun to partial shade. Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is a shrub with sword-like foliage growing up to 90 cm (3 feet) in height. Flowers shaped like bird heads bloom periodically all year.
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Some varieties of fruits are adapted to pot growing; their dense growth makes them suitable screening plants. Potted fruiting plants do not produce as large a crop as those grown in the ground. Pomegranate (Punica granatum) has multiple stems and a dense habit. It grows 1.8 to 4.5 m (6 to 15 feet) in height depending on the cultivar. Reddish-orange flowers bloom in summer followed by edible fruits. Banana plants (Musa spp.) are treelike and add a tropical feel and privacy to any area of the landscape. Dwarf cultivars such as dwarf Cavendish work best in pots. Plants produce edible fruits and grow approximately 2.1 m (7 feet) tall.
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