Perennials in Pots

As the heat of summer slowly sucks the life out of potted annuals, I kick back and relax upon our new deck as I gaze upon my lush perennial and bulb containers dotted around the garden.

I don’t buy annuals to plant in containers, for that matter, I don’t buy annuals because many of them are treated with growth retarders so they stay compact on the store shelves.   Using perennials and small shrubs or trees is really a budget friendly technique. I consider it really low maintenance too,  since I’m not running around trying to water them daily. After all, water is our most precious resource, why waste any of it?

My pots are filled with plants that already have been growing in the garden.  I dig out small perennials or ones that need thinning, pot them up and forget about them. Well not literally. Of course if there’s no rain for a few days, then they’ll get a drink.  In the fall, I transplant the perennials to a permanent home right back in the garden.

I found this terra-cotta hose holder and used it for several years now.  The raised terra cotta cone shape in the center of it where the hose is supposed to wrap around, seems to hold the moisture from the cool ground beneath and helps with not having to water the pot.   I stumbled upon this by accident one year and love using it.

It was filled on May 21, it has 4 calla lily bulbs planted under the ground covers which are, lamium, sweet woodruff and chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata).  I had some feverfew, perilla and violas popping up around the garden and put a few of those in too.

The same pot on July 15 with the calla lillies in bloom.

In the fall when I store the containers, I put the perennials back into the garden in a new permanent home and overwinter the bulbs in storage.

This method allows you to get good garden vignettes and companion plantings because they are already working together in the pots.  I can walk around the garden and pick out the areas that I designed with the perennials taken out of the pots in the fall in previous years.   I have been doing for quite some time.

During a recent garden workshop, I explained this to my students and they were surprised they never even thought to do it .  They especially liked the budget friendliness of it and the not having to water daily part.

Here is the same container on August 21, 2012 .  I have used this container in various places in the garden to fill in where other plants have died back and I almost always get comments from visitors about what a great idea it is.

So when you have an urge to plant up pots, try perennials and bulbs, its one of the easiest ways to add interest to your garden.




About crabtreegardens

I am a passionate decorator and the head gardener at Crabtree Gardens, LLC, which is a five acre naturalized garden located in Drums, PA. I advocate chemical-free, low maintenance gardening methods and working along with nature. I'm a freelance garden writer and member of GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators.
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