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Plants for exposed planters

We got some planters built in our back garden.
They are:
South facing
Alkaline (ph 7.5)
Moist but well drained
Colour scheme is purple, white and light pink (but I'm flexible).
I'm generally after hardy evergreen shrubs.

Width of planters is: 35cm.

My thoughts so far are:
Euonymus japonicus Green Spire
Euonymus japonicus White Spire
Salvia dorrii desert sage
Candytuft 'Snowflake'
Erica Pink Mist
Erica Brightness

Hope to plant some daffodils, tulips, violas later on in the year.

My concern is that these planters are exposed so the plants need to be very robust. What are your thoughts on my plant selection? And any other suggestions please.
Ignore the weeds! 

Thank you.



  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,488
    Your plant selection looks fine but your Erica prefer ericaceous soil so you may want to consider positioning and adjust accordingly.  I grow Euonymus an Salvias, they are reliable and easy to maintain.  You may want to include another cascading plant like Erigeron Karvinskianus for softening the edge of your planters, it's perennial but flowers where I am until December.
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • bcpathomebcpathome Posts: 1,302
    Firstly choose plants that all can live together. Ones that share the same soil type and don’t grow too bushy so they don’t crowd each other . Then when you have your list ,choose the colours and types . That’s what I do .
  • @Plantminded

    RHS pages - under 'How to Grow' it says 'will tolerate neutral and mildly alkaline soils'...what do you think?

  • It sounds like you have a great start on your plant selection for your exposed, south-facing garden planters. Here are some additional evergreen shrubs and plants that could work well in your space:

    1. Lavender - These fragrant plants thrive in sunny, dry conditions and are great for attracting pollinators.
    2. Hebe 'Great Orme' - This evergreen shrub has beautiful pink and white flowers that bloom from summer through fall.
    3. Ceanothus 'Puget Blue' - This shrub has beautiful blue flowers in the spring and is drought tolerant.
    4. Heuchera 'Plum Pudding' - This evergreen perennial has beautiful purple foliage and thrives in part sun to full shade.
    5. Phormium 'Yellow Wave' - This evergreen perennial has striking yellow and green foliage and can handle windy conditions.

    Overall, your plant selection looks good, but keep in mind that some of the plants you have chosen, such as the Erica, may not be as tolerant of hot, dry conditions. Consider adding some drought-tolerant plants, such as the Ceanothus or Lavender, to balance out the garden. Also, make sure to choose plants that can handle the alkaline soil conditions.

    Adding daffodils, tulips, and violas later in the year will be a great way to add some color and variety to your garden. Just make sure to choose bulbs and plants that can handle the sunny, exposed conditions of your garden.

    Overall, with a combination of hardy evergreen shrubs and drought-tolerant perennials, you should be able to create a beautiful and low-maintenance garden in your exposed, south-facing planters.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,860
    edited February 2023
    Ericas don't need acidic soil. Neutral is fine. I should say though, you may have to experiment if your soil is that alkaline. 
    You'll need to factor in the watering though, if your location is very dry, so make sure the  growing medium is suited to what you plant ,and even those which like good drainage need plenty of water until well established, and afterwards too during long dry spells.. A raised bed isn't the same as being in the ground  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • This looks like a great project! I am trying to beef up my defences against the wind and keep hearing about Escallonia rubra 'Crimson Spire. I love the idea about the Ceanothus and Hebe.
    Where the Wild Things Are
     ...that is where I would prefer to be...
    COASTAL SOUTHERN ENGLAND...silty-sandy-loam ravaged by wind
  • Thank you all. 

    I've read Ceanothus doesn't like to be pruned back too much and I don't want the plants to get too big. Anyone had success with pruning back Puget Blue?

    Does anyone have success with hebes making it through UK South East winter frosts/snow?

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,860
    edited February 2023
    Snow isn't a problem for Hebes, and neither is frost really, unless you have long spells of below about minus 10 and when the soil's very wet. It's prolonged wet, cold that's the real problem.
    However, it pays to choose carefully as some are hardier than others.
    The variegated ones and those with larger foliage are less tough - generally speaking.
    I'd be careful about Ceanothus, although I've never grown that one. They can be iffy if hard pruned, and are generally shorter lived than many other shrubs. 
    I should have added that, like many shrubs, you can keep them smaller by pruning annually, but you may find it's still not got enough space in those planters. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,488

    RHS pages - under 'How to Grow' it says 'will tolerate neutral and mildly alkaline soils'...what do you think?

    Yes, that should be fine, they prefer ericaceous soil but will tolerate other types.  I'd give them a try if you like them!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,450
    edited February 2023
    I think most Ceanothus (including Puget Blue) will get too big for that bed, and they don't like an exposed situation. C. thyrsiflorus "repens" is a low-growing one that might possibly be OK size-wise while young but your other choices would be better.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
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