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Large terracotta containers

I would like some suggestions for a centre plant to put in large containers roughly 28 inches across the top and 2ft 6" tall.  I have some mini conifer trees, but I would prefer something that attracts birds and wildlife in general - something that is evergreen, perhaps with a flower but not necessary and something that doesn't grow too quickly.  Am I asking too much? I intend to plant some bulbs or bedding plants around the edge of the pots, to add colour and interest.  Once the pots are planted up we will not be able to move them due to the weight.

Last edited: 19 January 2018 15:36:50


  • A pretty Hebe maybe, or how about a perennial grass? The pennisetums might overwinter outside for you (not a hope here!) but there are plenty of others, of different sizes, that make good hiding places for insectlife and food plants for some, and maybe seeds for birds too. Even ones that are not evergreen can look good through winter and be cut baclk just before new growth in spring. I've got ponytail grass in some pots and a brown Carex that looks great with orange tulips and pansies in the spring.

  • I have large pots about that size in front of my house image. Magnolia, Edgeworthia grandiflora, red leaf peach and a camillia nobalis. 

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645

    First of all I would coat your pots with a couple of layers of matt or satin clear acrylic varnish to protect them from water and temperature changes unless you want to go for the mossy, lichen look as they age.

    Secondly, we need to know where they will be sited - full sun, partial shade etc and how wet and how windy they may be.   

    Last edited: 19 January 2018 16:18:19

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,420

    Personally I would go down the seasonal planting for spring and summer, you could have a fabulous display in a pot that size . Dahlia / Canna's / Bananna etc for summer and tulips / daffs etc for spring. 

    Could try one of the nandinia - Viburnium tinus ( lollipop ?) - Phomriums. Could try growing a small tree as a centre piece? 

  • Joyce21Joyce21 Posts: 15,489

    A dwarf Skimmia, flowers and berries. Easily pruned.

    SW Scotland
  • The pots need to be in spot away from the house and to find out where the birds are hang some feeders

    on your trees or shrubs-but when you say something not too big the birds don't normally feed from low level feeders. As you know conifers and camellia are too dense to hang feeders on-in my case I have a butterfly bush in a big pot with feeders attached. Buddlieas can be pruned to keep them whatever height you wish and not to dense at the base allowing trailing plants and bedding etc.

    My buddliea still has leaves on so doesn't look too bad-perhaps you could satisfy the butterflies and birds from one pot and put something more glamorous in the other, say camellia or pierris. as the pots are taller than wider you might have to secure them against our frequent winds. Good money saver with deep pots is fill a third with well rotted horsemuck. best of luck - james

  • Thanks for all your brilliant suggestions so far - and you have certainly given me some valuable advice and I have picked out a few plants that could be possibilities. Some of the grasses would suit well, as they move with the wind rather than being buffeted to shreds.  The Skimmia is also pretty and our son-in-law has a couple which appear to do well throughout the year. 

    At present the tubs have some polystyrene in the bottom, which helps reduce the amount of growing medium that we need to add. I was thinking of transferring our olive and bay trees into two of the tubs as at present they are both in pots that are far too small and occasionally blow over the in strong winds that we have had this winter.

    The tubs will be in various places around the garden, some sheltered most of the time, one or two facing south so for us that means sunshine but also being hit by up to Gale Force 10 winds at times.

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  • Winter frosts aren't really a problem here - I have never had a cracked pot (not to be muddle with being a crack pot) due to the weather so far ..... yes it is like a mini garden within a pot and although I had thought of an acer - it will look too bare in winter - I want something that will keep it's colour in winter whilst waiting for the mini daffs or other bulbs to flower.  Am I asking for too much?

    I will keep looking and continue to accept your suggestions. Thanks.

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