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Advice re. small trees for containers

Hello all.

I'm looking for a pair of small trees to go either side of the entrance of the theatre where I work.

They are for large concrete containers that are around 350 litres. The dimensions are 59 x 79 x 79cm.

The trees that need replacing were around 1m tall with a spread of about 80cm.

I'm looking for some suggestions and guidance as I'm making myself dizzy with online searches and am out of my herbaceous border comfort zone!

So, here's what I'm looking for, ideally:

Evergreen foliage
Ideally would like some flowers as I'm keen to help our pollenating friends and to introduce some colour.
If flowers are a no go, I'd like some interesting foliage - maybe reds with the green
Size wise, nothing much taller than one metre and a spread of 1 - 1.5m.

They would have to be winter hardy as the containers are way too heavy to move indoors.
They would be west-facing and in full sun for a good part of the day.

Price wise, I'm looking at a budget of around £120 for the pair.

Thank you so much in advance.


  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,102
    Is this in a public place?  If so, you probably also need something tough (people could brush against them, sit on the edges of the tubs, drop cigarette ends and other rubbish in the containers, etc.  Also possibly not anything rare or special, or people might nick bits off them for cuttings.  To be honest, the only things that spring to mind is either skimmias, or hollies (maybe variegated) clipped into cones or columns. I'm sure someone will be along soon with more interesting ideas :)
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • FireFire Posts: 18,085
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,102
    Hmmm.  The edit facility seems to have disappeared.  I was going to edit to say, both my suggestions have insignificant-looking flowers but some insects must like them because the females get pollinated to produce the berries.

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,946
    edited August 2018
    I'd go with holly ... either variegated or one of the very dark almost blue-ish ones ... clipped into a four sided pyramid they can look very smart (and are easier to maintain than rounded cones) ... and of course  bees love the nectar. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • FireFire Posts: 18,085
    I have to cut my triffid holly hedge so hard and so often that I never really get flowers. I wants to swallow the street.
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