Containers forum: container plant issues...looking forward

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Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
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UrbanWild
Feb 14, 2017 7:53 AM CST
So...we bought our place late in season last year and scrambled to put in garden beds and containers. Some plants were split between containers and beds. We had issues in both. On the container side, I suspect the heat stunted everything except some of the tougher herbs. Even marigolds were scraggly in containers while mere feet away they exploded in beds. Lateclastvyear we planted poorly treated Brazelberries varieties of blueberry and raspberry to containers, saving a few in their iriginal containers for planting this spring. We were worried about container plants and freezing temps this time. We don't have much space for sheltering pots indoors and the bigger ones are heavy.

So...looking forward, I am wondering about perrennials which can flourish in the temp/water extremes of being in containers but which are non-invasive, are highly prized by pollinators/hummingbirds/etc., and bonus points for fragrance and/or producing food. We want it all! Obviously, we want multi-purpose plants but know no plants have all the desired qualities. I am just curious about your experiences. Thanks for any input.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Feb 16, 2017 10:21 PM CST
UrbanWild said:We want it all!


You can't have it, sorry.

You'll need to experiment with different plants in different places year-to-year. That's the only way you'll learn which work well and which don't, and for what reasons.
Keep going!
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 21, 2017 10:49 AM CST
Using non-invasive plants is an excellent goal, I always check too, and don't use anything non-native listed as invasive, or that spreads or drops lots of seeds.

Containers can be buried under a tarp or leaf pile, &/or placed in a sheltered corner if one exists to protect from temp fluctuations & getting too water-logged over winter.

Since it sounds like you have ground space, I'm confused about your motivation for wanting hardy plants for containers. Containers of ornamental purpose are usually used for non-hardy plants and re-done each spring, but there are reasons to use them for hardy plants. Not that there's some kind of rule, or I'm trying to force what I do onto you. Whatever you want to do you should do, but often sharing the motivation behind the asking of a question can help elicit feedback in an entirely new direction that might work for you but hadn't yet been considered.

I don't try to keep many hardy plants in pots because they're always going to grow better in the ground, with the exception of some succulent type plants that can't handle the wet winters of south AL when exposed to rain that much during cold temps, and are kept in containers under a porch roof.

Another reason I might grow something hardy in a pot is because it's a creeping/vine type plant that I don't want to have to try to control. I've put Cannas in a big pot because I don't have a spot in our yard where they could be stopped from creeping indefinitely, and don't want to cultivate that much of that plant.

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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: UrbanWild
Kentucky (Zone 6b)
Kentucky - borderline of 6a & 6b
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Native Plants and Wildflowers Miniature Gardening Organic Gardener Frogs and Toads Dog Lover
Birds Vegetable Grower Spiders! Hummingbirder Butterflies Critters Allowed
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UrbanWild
Feb 22, 2017 6:58 AM CST
Containers are mainly so that I can move them around construction and for ornamental (even if edible) purposes. You are correct in that plants in ground do better. The various marigolds I planted last year were mere shells of those I planted in-ground. However, segregated plants were also easier to save seed and remember what each was.
Always looking for interesting plants for pollinators and food! Bonus points for highly, and pleasantly scented plants.

"Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit." [“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”] -- Marcus Tullius Cicero in Ad Familiares IX, 4, to Varro. 46 BCE
Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
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Garden10
Mar 29, 2017 5:03 PM CST
Hi, for what it's worth, most of my gardening is container gardening, it's all my responsibility and I'm not in the best of health, so containers make more things possible for me. Have you ever tried pineapple sage? I'm to the east of you, but the same zone, and it wintered for me along with two other herbs for years before a killer winter finally had its way with them. The pineapple sage grew to be about three feet high when all was said and done, it gets red flowers on it later in the season, bees and butterflies love it, and it makes a great roast chicken! In fact, it became so established that during the hurricane before Sandy, it all begins to blur, my umbrella blew down on top of it, and the stem of the sage plant ripped a hole in the cloth. I also had rosemary that made it through about four winters before a devastating snowstorm sent it to that big artisanal bakery in the sky, and I had a huge tub of lavender as well that I actually brought with me during a move. It was around for about six years before a blizzard killed it. The rosemary by the deck door was wonderful, the aroma when I opened the door on a summer morning, and of course, lavender is lovely, and again, the butterflies and bees loved them all. I brought dried lavender into the house and kept it in a wall vase, and well, rosemary makes great chicken and bread, for starters!

And I know this sounds weird, and no, I can't explain it, but I plant a lot of annual flowers in containers, and for the last three years before I moved, I had snapdragons come back in containers, they're not supposed to, but they did Shrug!
"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim

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