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Ideas for plants for patio planters - full sun & all year interest

Hi!

I'm in Bristol UK - have a lovely south facing garden with a nice patio.  It needs zoning a little so am going to build wall wooden planters.  One will hold a small water feature but I also want plants.

Originally I was thinking lavender as I love the colour and scent but I understand they can be quite short lived flower wise.  

Ideally I'd like all year round interest - so an evergreen would be ideal.   Also something quite dense so I can almost make a "hedge" along the lot of the planters.

Something similar to this?

Any ideas would be gratefully received.


Posts

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,286
    I planted one up a few years ago with Salvia farinacea (sown seed) and purple double calibrachoa (plug plants) that looked similar.

    It looks like lavender and alliums in the above pic, but I suspect some help from photoshop.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,754
    What size are you making the containers @sharon.gray311 ? The bigger they are, the easier it is for plants to thrive, especially if you want evergreens.
    Shrubs would fit the bill better than perennials, as most perennials are deciduous [although it depends on your temps/climate]  but you can also have mixed planting to give seasonal interest and that's easier if you have plenty of room to play with    :)

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thanks @Pete.8 - I suspect you are correct there with the photoshop!!  If only it was that easy.

    @Fairygirl - they will be fairly large as the water feature reservoir is 38cm wide, 73cm long and 29cm deep, but the planters will be taller than 29cm.

    I'm leaning towards some interesting, architectural shrubs.  I guess red Robin is always a good go to!
       
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,754
    edited April 2023
    Depends where you live re those Photinias. They look dreadful here as the climate doesn't suit them. They need warmth, and enough moisture, and reasonable winter conditions   :)
    Do you mean 38cm/115 inches front to back? 
    They'll need a good soil mix anyway - not just compost if plants are being left long term. I'd look at things like Escallonia as the main structural plant, and underplant with spring bulbs and some good, reliable perennials, both mound forming and verticals.
    Hardy geraniums, Veronicas, Salvias [if your climate/temps are suited]  Aquilegias, Alliums etc. Some trailing plants like Arabis or Aubrieta for spring as well. It also depends on what colours you like. If you like bright colours, you can have Kniphofias [the smaller ones] and Erysimums [wallflowers] in the orange/yellow shades.  The perennial wallflowers come in purples and white too so they would fit the former colour scheme. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,779
    I don't think Red Robin photinia is suitable, too big, best planted in the ground. Smaller shrubs would be better.

    I think lavender would be nice. If you pruned them they will last several years and they aren't that expensive and can be grown from cuttings. Plant an annual that hangs over the edge, like calibrachoa as @Pete.8 said, and it will increase the flowering season.

    When I had containers on my old terrace I planted colourful annuals in summer and violas or bellis daisies for the winter. I'm not really a shrub expert though.

    I don't know if the low growing bushy Nandina or Skimmia or Hebes would suit.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Posts: 11,286
    I've seen Pittosporum Golf Ball and P. Tom Thumb in big containers at a property around the corner that have interest all year.
    I have 12 Golf Ball that edge my drive

    Hakonechloa macra may also work
    I have 10 that edge my patio and even in winter the dead foliage and flowerheads look and sound good.

    Red Robin can get big and are very susceptible to leaf spot which does detract from their beauty.

    Billericay - Essex

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,754
    I doubt Skimmia would work unless it was short term- wrong aspect and conditions for it. Many Hebes would be fine, but they can suffer badly in cold winters in containers.

    You'd need to look at what's growing well in your general neighbourhood to see what evergreens are happy for your climate. Things like Euonymous fortunei are fairly reliable everywhere, especially ones like Emerald Gaiety or Silver Queen, but many varieties are iffy if it's cold and wet through winter. There are some good plain green Euonymous that are a good replacement for box, and those would probably be ideal.  :)
    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: 3,439
    Lavender would work well in a planter until it becomes woody after 3-5 years.  As long as you prune it in August/September to get fresh foliage in time for winter, it can look fine all year round.  Many people forget to do this and the old leaves and dead flowering stems can produce a dismal look over winter!  I'd suggest interplanting it with Erigeron karvinskianus to get contrasting flowers and a cascading effect.  Both plants enjoy similar conditions with plenty of grit incorporated into the soil/compost to ensure good drainage.  Although perennial, Erigeron flowers in my garden from April to December.  @Fairygirl's suggestion of Euonymus which is an evergreen shrub would also be good in this mix.  I'd choose either Green Spire or Green Pillar which have a natural upright habit. 
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.


  • @Plantminded - thank you - I really would like to go with Lavender if possible and I'll look at the interplanting suggestions as well.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,439
    Definitely give it a try @sharon.gray311, you'll find that one of the English lavender varieties like Hidcote or Munstead will cope better with our wet, cold winters, they are also sweetly scented and a good size for containers.  Good luck!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.


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