Perennials forum: Perennials in Pots

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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Apr 3, 2012 5:05 PM CST
I started this thread to encourage anyone with experience to mention what species they find easy or hard to mantain in pots, and any cultural Do's or Don'ts they have learned.


I don't have much experience in pots or planters, but some perennials I would love to grow in pots are:

- many varieties of Salvia, so I can move them around and isolate them from other Salvia so i can collect true seeds

- Lavender, since I have clay and constant drizzle, and wnat to give them sharp drainage

- Columbine, just so i can have many varieties

- Penstemeon, just becuase I;m havuing a hard time starting them, and would not want to lose one to slugs or garden fork.

Also, I have very limited space in raised beds with sun, but I do have a deck and a driveway with sunny spots.






Container grown dwarf blueberry

[Last edited by SongofJoy - Apr 4, 2012 3:35 AM (+)]
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
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CarolineScott
Apr 4, 2012 1:48 AM CST
The following have over wintered in pots here:
Delphinium
soapwort (creeping one)
viola
caraway
sweet william
candytuft (perennial kind)
[Last edited by CarolineScott - Apr 4, 2012 1:50 AM (+)]
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Apr 4, 2012 3:43 AM CST
Good topic. I am big on container gardening and with the exception of herbs and few other things, the overwhelming majority of my pots are perennials.

Are you asking about plants specific to your zone, Rick?




The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
[Last edited by SongofJoy - Apr 4, 2012 8:41 AM (+)]
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Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
Seller of Garden Stuff
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PollyK
Apr 4, 2012 7:08 AM CST
I've found lilies overwinter really well in pots, if you keep them to one zone colder hardiness than you are. For example Asiatic lilies are good to zone 3, so they should overwinter well in pots up to zone 4. I do try to tip the pots over if I can, so they don't have freezing and thawing water standing on the top of the pot.
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Apr 4, 2012 8:07 AM CST
I have lots of perennials, grasses, etc. in pots...clay pots 14" and larger. I don't have to worry about the cold so that's not an issue and actually for the salvias, the drainage is excellent.
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Polly Kinsman
Hannibal, NY (Zone 6a)

Charter ATP Member Region: United States of America I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Irises Lilies
Seller of Garden Stuff
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PollyK
Apr 4, 2012 8:09 AM CST
Good to know, Sherry. I have salvia coming from Mamajacks co-op, and I plan to put them in containers.
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Apr 4, 2012 8:34 AM CST
As my water bills continue to rise, I'm putting more and more things in containers...also because taking care of things in-ground is getting harder to do on a large scale and yet I want to grow everything possible...lol..
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Apr 4, 2012 1:49 PM CST
Violas overwintering in pots in Calgary? Thanks, Caroline. I was just given a little seed for several Viola varieties, and I was not eager to just feed them to the slugs!


>> Are you asking about plants specific to your zone, Rick?

Tee, I personally am mostly curious about what I can keep going in pots in Zone 8, but if something is marginal, I can always over-winter those pots up on my sheltered deck, close up against the poorly-insulated house!

Also, someone on another thread wished for a "Perennials in Pots" thread so I started this hoping others would share experiences, especially Do's and Don'ts.

Sherry said:
>> ... clay pots 14" and larger

Hmm, I have several plastic pots scrounged from a nursery. They look like 1.5 or 2 gallons, maybe 10-11" across. I was hoping to use them. Maybe just split those plants more often? Or use thoise for small plants (Violas)?

Do you think the clay pots are lots better than plastic? The idea of being "Zone-cautious" by 1 extra or even two extra Zones sounds smart to me.

Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Apr 4, 2012 4:03 PM CST
Things do much better for me in clay pots...perhaps I tend to overwater...don't know, but I'm one of those who feel that plants can 'breathe better' in clay pots. Most plants are going to need larger than a 1 gallon if you're going to want to kep them in it for awhile. Clay pots from WM are always on my 'Birthday or Christmas wish list' and this last couple of years I bit the bullet and started buying more clay pots. I have a lot of plastic pots and use those now for growing veggies and strawberries and larger 5 gal size plants larger plants...etc.
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Apr 4, 2012 4:52 PM CST
>> Most plants are going to need larger than a 1 gallon if you're going to want to keep them in it for awhile.

Good to know!

My paranoia about drowning roots / overwatering leads me to seek the fastest-draining mix I can make. Hence the bags of medium pine bark mulch and multple screening steps! And the 50 pound bag of #2 chicken grit. And only buying the coarse4st grade of Perlite.

Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Apr 5, 2012 3:22 AM CST
Which brings up an interesting question: what does everyone use as the growing medium in their pots?

I use a combination of potting mix with a tad of compost and maybe some perlite (depends).

For the succulents, I purchase a succulent mix but sometimes it has been really crummy so I've had to reformulate it with a little sand, potting soil, potting mix and other things mixed into it.




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The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
[Last edited by SongofJoy - Apr 5, 2012 4:14 AM (+)]
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Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Apr 5, 2012 5:36 AM CST
I use peat/ perlite/sand with CRF, fish emulsion, seaweed extract ..or roughly based on tapla's mix for containers.....some lime and bark fines.
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Apr 5, 2012 5:40 AM CST
Sherry, what's CRF? to me CRF is chronic renal failure, but I don't think that's what you're thinking... Hilarious!

Karen
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Apr 5, 2012 6:04 AM CST
I recently read that there is a worldwide peat shortage so prices are going up, up, up. Glare



The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Apr 5, 2012 6:44 AM CST
Anyone in areas that freeze needs to be careful with ceramic pots which can freeze and crack. But plastic pots can blow around like crazy in winter winds. They get blown around 12 months a year here.

An option is to bury pots over winter to protect roots. A likely spot would be an annual vegetable bed. Reason would dictate the size of the pot. And if buried, the pot needs good drainage.

Karen
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Apr 5, 2012 7:43 AM CST
CRF= Controlled Release Fertilizer...sorry.
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Apr 5, 2012 9:02 AM CST
Thumbs up

Karen
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Apr 5, 2012 12:10 PM CST
For the very few plants I've put into containers, I've made a mix very loosely based on Al's gritty mix. Mostly screened medium pine bulk mulch trying to remove as many fines as I can, plus around 15-20% other stuff like crushed rock or coarse Perlite.

The "other stuff" includes 5-10% of whatever potting mix or seed starting mix I have, and I figure that includes more than enoguh peat.

I can never get rid of all the fines from a bag of mulch, and I figure that almost replaces the peat ... just not quite as "wicking" or "hydrophillic" as peat ... but the mix I wind up with always seems more than soggy enough and more than water-retentive enough.

I've been seeking a faster-draining and more-airy mix for a few years, and really haven't gotten all the way there yet.

I think I want more #2 chicken grit (1-2 mm crushed granite) or coarser grit (very fine gravel).

And I want fewer pine bark fines (spend more time screening with 1/4" & 1/2" screens, or find a 1/3" or 3/8" screen). Probably, if I could get rid of more of the "bark dust", I would be happier about adding 10-15% peat as Al suggests.

If I found coarser grit or found and splurged on the expanded rock 'Turface' product, that coarser fraction would also make me happier about bark or peat fines. But I am very cheap!

Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Dog Lover Foliage Fan Greenhouse Container Gardener Heucheras Sedums
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springcolor
Apr 5, 2012 3:31 PM CST
Ok Guys, I love container gardening! I'm in zone 7
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Heuchera, sedum, crocus
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Blue Poppy. Sure hope it blooms this year
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I put most anything in a container. Small trees, Hebee, grass, Heuchera, sedums. Then add annuals in the summer that I grow in the greehouse. I use HP soil and some times add a bit of compost.
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Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Apr 5, 2012 3:55 PM CST
I'm just the opposite. I'd rather grow anything in the ground. Most years I use few containers. Stuff in the ground takes care of itself for the most part. Pots have to depend on my for water, poor things. Unfortunately, all living things need water, and if they have to count on me, they can get pretty thirsty. Hilarious!

Karen

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