Now that geraniums are gone, and maybe even moms, pansies, or perennials, it’s time to start thinking about a different kind of container garden. Have you ever considered making a dwarf evergreen garden? Evergreen container gardens are a great way to conjure winter access to your entrance this season. We have some ideas on how to make beautiful porch pots that look good all season long.
The same design and taste principles that would be used when designing summer pots apply to a small shrub garden in pots. Think of “thrillers, fillers, and spillers” (which is interestingly a way for plants to grow naturally, so here they duplicate natural processes).
The thrillers are eye-catching and your big, bold focal point. Fillers are medium-sized, convex or rounded plants that surround and highlight the thriller and fill the space in the planter that complements but does not suppress the main player. Spillers are splashing plants that fall to the side of the tank and add a little spice, grace and movement to the design.
Additional design considerations: Will the container be visible from all sides or is it leaning against a wall? Note the scale, making sure they are roughly proportional to each other. Make sure you have a good container – do not plant small plants in large containers or place small containers in a large area. The plants should be the right size for the pots and the pots should match the location.
Make sure that the plants are no more than twice the height of the pot and twice the width of the pot. A pot that is too high will tip sideways or tip over, and in a pot that is too small, there may not be enough room for the roots to grow, which can lead to problems such as root rot.
Year-round maintenance of pots with evergreens or any perennials doesn’t stop in the fall either. Potted plants are more sensitive to temperature changes than if they were in the soil. For this reason, only container-grown evergreens that tolerate significantly colder winters than this area, or at least USDA Hardness Zone 5, should be overwintered.
Good plant selection contributes greatly to guaranteeing their survival. Evergreen death can be caused not only by cold but also by extreme temperature fluctuations. For this reason, it is advisable to keep the container in a place where it is not heated by the sun, only shaken by the falling night temperature.
In addition, keeping a container garden watered in the winter is a delicate balance. If you live in an area where there is hard frost, continue watering until the root ball freezes completely, although there is not much hard frost here. It should be re-watered during each warm period and as soon as the soil begins to melt in the spring to prevent the roots of the plants from drying out.
Equally important is the soil of evergreen container plants. The right soil not only provides the right nutrient and water needs, but also prevents evergreens from blowing through in windy weather.
What plants would be right for your container? Many familiar garden trees and shrubs have dwarf versions – this is important because they stay smaller.
In a sunny pot, a variegated yucca can be a great thriller – “Bright Edge” or “Color Guard” is easy to handle and very durable. Dwarf Alberta spruce is a classic choice, but be sure to water the foliage to reduce the chances of spider mites. The ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitae will outgrow the pots over time, but its deep green color and beautiful texture will be beautiful for many years to come; then you can plant it in the garden. There are some smaller varieties of juniper (also known as red cedar) that would be beautiful with their bluish or gray foliage.
Combining different foliage colors is a delicious and beautiful way to make your tank interesting. A dwarf mugo pine, a “Fire Chief” arborvitae or a globe cryptomeria would be a beautiful filling and their shape would contrast with your thriller. Any spreading juniper would fit the nozzle. Some of the smaller grasses and wool flesh will also pour gracefully and scatter nicely.
These pots can be decorated with beautiful branches, bows, LED lamps or any decoration. They would be beautiful on the porch for 12 months of the year. Try to plan one today.