The Q&A Archives: Need Good Plant Suggestions For My "container" Garden

Question: I only have a small patio (good sun exposure) and a front porch area (some morning sun and afternoon shade) I'd appreciate some suggestions on what container plants/trees to grow that make my home more attractive. I particularly enjoy the topiary-type of plants. Recently I purchased a Monrovia Yellow Flowering Maple and I think it's darling. That was my first outdoors plant that I bought. I'll need some more variety of flowering plants or evergreen plants to make a small garden. Looking forward to getting your response. Thanks.

Answer: One of the most important considerations for growing trees and shrubs in pots is the plants' ultimate size, and general size of the rootmass. Palms, for instance, generally have small root systems compared to trees of equal size. Therefore, the depth of the container is as important as the diameter. I'd stick with smallish 'patio' type trees such as 'Chilopsis linearis' (Desert Willow), 'Chionanthus' (Fringe Tree), or 'Albizia' (Silk Tree). Flowering shrub choices include 'Kalmia' (Mountain Laurel), 'Deutzia', 'Philadelphus' (Mock Orange), or 'Melaleuca nesophila'. These plants will eventually outgrown their containers, at which point you can plant them in the ground, but they will grow slowly, giving you several years of healthy, attractive growth in containers. Plants in pots usually need to be watered and fed more frequently than plants that are growing in the ground. Check daily in warm weather and add water as the soil begins to dry out. You can feed once a month during the growing season with a half-strength solution of liquid fertilizer, to supply needed nutrients to your containerized plants.

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