December 24


Top 10 standout plant varieties for year-round pots

If you’re looking for plants to brighten up your pots all year round, look no further. In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 standout varieties that will add color and texture to your garden, regardless of the season. From evergreen foliage to vibrant flowers, there are plenty of options to suit your taste and gardening conditions.

One great option is the Pieris ‘Forest Flame’. With its stunning red and purple foliage, this hardy shrub is a real eye-catcher. It grows well in pots and will thrive in a spot with partial shade. Its broad leaves make it an excellent choice for adding structure and interest to your garden.

For those who prefer a more compact plant, the Heucheras are a great choice. Available in a variety of colors, these herbaceous perennials offer a vibrant burst of color throughout the year. They are also relatively low maintenance and can grow well in a range of conditions.

If you’re looking for an evergreen option that can withstand harsh weather conditions, Yuccas are an excellent choice. These sword-like plants have a unique shape and are well-suited to dry, sunny spots. They can also add a touch of the desert to your garden landscape.

Conifers are another popular choice for year-round interest. With their wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors, they can add texture and height to your pots. Whether you choose a spruce or a fir, these evergreens will keep your garden looking lush even in the coldest winters.

No matter what plants you choose, it’s important to consider your local climate and soil conditions. Make sure to choose plants that are suited to your area’s USDA hardiness zone. This will ensure that they can thrive in your garden year after year.

So, don’t let the changing seasons limit your gardening options. With these standout plant varieties, you can keep your pots looking beautiful all year round. Whether you prefer vibrant flowers, interesting foliage, or low-maintenance plants, there’s something for everyone.

For more information on planting and growing these plants, be sure to check out our gardening tips and tricks section. Sign up for our newsletter to have all the latest gardening trends and tips delivered straight to your inbox.

How to choose the best plants for pots all year round

When it comes to choosing plants for pots that can thrive all year round, there are several factors to consider. From compact shrubs to evergreens and flowering perennials, there’s a wide variety of options to choose from. Here are some tips to help you make the best selection:

1. Consider the weather conditions

Before selecting plants for pots, it’s important to consider the climate and weather conditions in your area. Some plants are more tolerant of extreme temperatures, while others prefer milder conditions. Check the USDA hardiness zones to determine which plants will thrive in your specific region.

2. Choose plants that can keep their shape

For pots, it’s best to choose plants that have a naturally compact and upright growth habit. This will ensure that the plants don’t outgrow their containers and maintain an attractive shape throughout the year. Look for dwarf varieties or plants that are naturally small and bushy.

3. Select plants with varying seasonal interest

To keep your pots looking interesting and vibrant all year round, choose plants that offer different features throughout the seasons. For example, hebes are evergreen shrubs that provide beautiful foliage and flowers, while heucheras have colorful leaves that change with the seasons. This variety will add texture and visual interest to your containers.

4. Opt for plants that are easy to maintain

If you’re looking for low-maintenance plants for your pots, consider selecting evergreens or shrubs that require minimal care. These plants are usually drought-tolerant and can withstand a wide range of weather conditions. Additionally, they don’t need frequent pruning or deadheading, making them a hassle-free option.

5. Consider potting soil and moisture requirements

Before placing any plants in your pots, make sure you have the right potting soil that provides good drainage and retains moisture. Different plants have different moisture requirements, so it’s important to choose plants that have similar needs. For example, plants that prefer moist soil will not thrive alongside those that need drier conditions.

6. Take into account the size of the pots

When choosing plants for pots, consider the size of the containers. Some plants, like Nikitia mackenzie and sword ferns, can grow quite large and may require bigger pots to accommodate their root systems. Others, like hebes and heucheras, are perfect for smaller pots and can be combined with other plants to create a beautiful arrangement.

7. Look for plants that can thrive in winter

If you want to have plants that can survive harsh winters, choose varieties that are known to be frost-tolerant. Evergreens, such as compact conifers, are a great choice as they provide year-round foliage and color. They can withstand cold temperatures and still look attractive in your containers during the winter months.

In general, when choosing plants for pots all year round, it’s important to consider the conditions they’ll be exposed to. From light and temperature to soil moisture and maintenance, there are several factors that will determine whether a plant will thrive in a pot. By choosing the right plants and providing them with proper care, you can create a beautiful and long-lasting display for your outdoor or interior spaces.

1 Hebe

Foliage: Hebe plants have attractive foliage that adds texture and color to any interior or exterior garden. They are known for their distinctive shape and variety of colors, including purple, green, and variegated.

Growing Conditions: Hebes are hardy plants that can be grown in a variety of conditions. They prefer well-drained soil and full sun, but can also tolerate partial shade. They are a great option for those living in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10, but can also survive in colder zones.

Container Planting: Hebes are perfect for containers, whether you have a small patio or a large garden. They are compact shrubs that can be kept in containers and easily moved around as needed. They can even be brought indoors during harsh winters.

Attractive Flowers: Hebe plants produce small, white or pink flowers that add a pop of color to any garden. While the flowers are not the main attraction of hebes, they are a nice bonus and can attract pollinators to your garden.

Low Maintenance: Hebes are generally low maintenance plants, requiring minimal care and attention. They are drought tolerant and can withstand periods of dry weather. They do not require frequent watering and can survive with minimal fertilization.

Wide Variety of Varieties: There are many varieties of hebe plants to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics and growth habits. Some popular varieties include Hebe ‘Heartbreaker’, Hebe ‘Red Edge’, and Hebe ‘Patty’s Purple’.

Considerations: When choosing a hebe plant, consider the size and shape you want for your garden. Some hebes are more compact and ideal for smaller spaces, while others can grow larger and fill out a garden bed. It’s also important to consider the specific growing conditions in your area to ensure the hebe thrives.

Conclusion: Hebe plants are an easy and attractive option for year-round pots. With their colorful foliage, low maintenance requirements, and ability to thrive in a wide range of conditions, hebes are a great choice for any garden owner. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or new to gardening, hebe plants are a versatile and resilient addition to your garden.

2 Pieris japonica

The Pieris japonica is a popular evergreen shrub that can thrive in pots throughout the year. With its stunning white or pink flowers and glossy foliage, it is an ideal choice for small gardens or patio containers.

The Pieris japonica is known for its ability to survive in various growing conditions. It can tolerate a wide range of light levels, from full sun to partial shade. In terms of temperature, it is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8, making it suitable for most areas.

One of the key advantages of growing Pieris japonica in pots is that they are easy to move around according to your desired spot. They can be used as a feature plant or as part of a mixed container, providing a beautiful contrast with other plants.

This evergreen shrub requires minimal maintenance. It will take care of itself in terms of watering, but it does prefer slightly moist soil. A light application of fertilizer once a year in the spring will help keep it healthy and promote new growth.

There are several varieties of Pieris japonica available, each with its own unique features. Some varieties have purple foliage, while others have sword-shaped leaves. Choose the one that best suits your taste and the overall look you want to achieve.

When planting Pieris japonica in a pot, use a good-quality potting soil and ensure that the container has drainage holes. It is also important to choose a pot that is larger than the root ball, to allow room for growth.

In conclusion, Pieris japonica is an excellent choice for year-round container gardening. With its beautiful flowers, attractive foliage, and easy maintenance, it will brighten up your outdoor space and bring a touch of elegance to your patio or balcony.

3 Herbs

When it comes to growing herbs in pots, there are plenty of options to choose from. Herbs are ideal for year-round potting as they offer a variety of features and benefits. Here are three herbs that are perfect for potting all year round:

1. Mint

Mint is an easy-to-grow herb that thrives in pots all year round. It is perfect for those who like to add fresh flavors to their dishes. Mint enjoys full sun to partial shade and prefers moist soil. It is a great option for those living in colder climates, as it can tolerate harsh winter conditions. Mint also offers a wide variety of uses, from adding flavor to drinks and desserts to making herbal teas.

2. Rosemary

Rosemary is a hardy evergreen herb that is well-suited for potting throughout the year. It is a shrub-like herb with fragrant needle-like leaves that add a wonderful aroma to any dish. Rosemary thrives in full sunlight and well-drained soil. It is an excellent choice for those living in warmer climates, as it can tolerate high temperatures. Rosemary can also be used outside of the kitchen, as its ornamental shape and color make it a beautiful addition to any garden.

3. Basil

Basil is a popular herb that is perfect for potting all year round. It is known for its bright green leaves and distinctive flavor. Basil prefers full sunlight and well-drained soil. It is an ideal herb for those looking to add fresh ingredients to their Italian dishes. Basil can also be used to make pesto sauces and provides a wonderful aroma to any kitchen. This herb is best suited for growing in warmer climates, but it can still thrive in cooler temperatures with proper care.

When choosing herbs for potting, it is important to consider your local weather conditions and the specific needs of each herb. Some herbs may be more suited for colder climates, while others thrive in warmer temperatures. Additionally, proper care and maintenance, such as regular watering and pruning, are essential for the health and growth of your herbs.

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4 Bonsai trees

When it comes to growing plants in containers, some trees are better suited than others. Bonsai trees are a great variety that can keep your pots looking beautiful all year round, even in harsh seasons. The founder of the USDA offers a variety of bonsai trees that thrive in pots and can survive outside in a variety of conditions.

One option is the Yucca tree, a shrub-like bonsai tree that is perfect for pots. It has broad, sword-like leaves and produces tall flower spikes. Another great option is the Japanese Maple, a small tree with stunning red foliage. It is easy to care for and can survive cold winters.

If you are looking for an evergreen bonsai tree, the Pieris Japonica is a great choice. It has pink or white flowers and will thrive in containers. Lastly, the Nikitia Bonsai is a compact herb that offers a variety of colors throughout the year. It is easy to grow and will look great as an indoor or outdoor plant.

When choosing a spot for your bonsai tree, consider the temperature and light conditions. Bonsai trees thrive in moist soil, so make sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy. In terms of maintenance, bonsai trees are relatively easy to care for. Just make sure to water them regularly and provide them with the right amount of sunlight.

If you’re interested in growing bonsai trees, there are many varieties to choose from. Whether you want a compact shrub or a small tree, there is a bonsai tree that will thrive in your chosen container. Move them outside during the warmer months and bring them inside during the winter for ideal conditions.

So, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that will add a touch of beauty to your home or garden, bonsai trees are the perfect option. Consider one of these four varieties and enjoy their beauty all year round.

5 Golden Sword yucca

  • Plant Description: The Golden Sword yucca is a striking evergreen plant that adds a pop of purple color to your garden all year round. With its sword-shaped leaves and golden edges, this yucca is sure to stand out in any season.

  • Plant Care: Golden Sword yuccas are easy to care for and can survive in a wide variety of soil conditions. They are perfect for containers and can be grown throughout the year. They are also drought-tolerant, making them a great option for low-maintenance gardening.

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: Golden Sword yuccas are available in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9, making them suitable for a wide range of climates.

  • Plant Options: In terms of container gardening, there are several plant options that pair well with Golden Sword yuccas. Some ideal companions include purple heucheras, pink japonica shrubs, and white-flowering pieris. These plants will add color and texture to your container garden all year round.

  • Winter Weather: Golden Sword yuccas are hardy and can thrive even in harsh winter conditions. However, it is recommended to move them to a protected spot or bring them indoors during extremely cold weather to ensure their survival.

6 Olive trees

Olive trees are a popular choice for container gardening as they are not only visually appealing but also easy to care for. They can thrive in various conditions and are suitable for all-year-round planting. Here are 6 standout olive tree varieties that you can consider for your pots:

  1. Bhatta: This olive tree variety is known for its compact size and ability to survive in different weather conditions. It offers a unique texture and is ideal for small containers.

  2. Mackenzie: The Mackenzie olive tree is hardy and can tolerate both hot and cold temperatures. It is a great choice for those looking for a low-maintenance plant that can survive throughout the year.

  3. Japonica: With its sword-shaped leaves and purple fruit, the Japonica olive tree adds a touch of elegance to any container. It is well-suited for both indoor and outdoor gardening.

  4. Pieris: If you are looking for a compact olive tree variety that can withstand cold winters, the Pieris is an excellent choice. Its white flowers and dark green leaves provide a beautiful contrast.

  5. Yucca: Yuccas are versatile plants that can be grown in containers all year round. They are known for their tolerance to various weather conditions and their ability to thrive in both full sun and partial shade.

  6. Hebes: Hebes are shrubs that are ideal for container gardening. They offer a wide variety of colors and shapes, making them a popular choice for adding visual interest to outdoor spaces.

When choosing an olive tree for your container, there are a few factors to consider. First, make sure the variety is suited for your climate and weather conditions. Some olive trees are more cold-hardy, while others prefer warmer temperatures. Additionally, consider the size of the pot and the type of soil the tree needs. Most olive trees prefer well-draining soil that is kept moist but not waterlogged.

In general, olive trees are low-maintenance plants that require minimal care. They can be moved around to take advantage of the best light conditions and can be pruned to maintain their shape. Just make sure to provide them with enough sunlight and water, and they will thrive in your containers all year round.

7 Heuchera

If you’re looking for easy-to-grow plants that will provide color throughout the year, Heuchera is a great option. Commonly known as coral bells, these evergreens come in a wide variety of colors and can be easily grown in pots.

When choosing Heuchera for your pots, look for varieties that are well-suited to your growing conditions. They prefer a spot with partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Some popular varieties include ‘Purple Palace’, ‘Japonica’, and ‘Bhatta’.

Heucheras are low-maintenance plants that require minimal care. According to the founder of an interior gardening website, they are even suitable for those with a black thumb. Heucheras are USDA zone 4 plants, making them hardy enough to survive harsh winter weather in many areas.

One of the key factors to consider when growing Heuchera in pots is temperature. These plants prefer cooler temperatures and may struggle in hot summer conditions. To keep them in shape and thriving, it’s best to provide some shade during the hottest part of the day.

Heucheras offer a lot of options when it comes to color and texture. Their broad, sword-shaped leaves come in shades of purple, green, silver, and yellow, making them a standout feature in any pot. They can be paired with other plants like Hebes, Pieris, or Yucca to create interesting combinations.

If you’re looking for a compact Heuchera that will stay small in a pot, there are also dwarf varieties available. These will have a narrower width and will be perfect for smaller pots or for creating arrangements with other plants.

In conclusion, Heucheras are ideal plants for pots all year round. They offer a wide range of colors and textures, and their low-maintenance nature makes them perfect for both beginner and experienced gardeners. With proper care and the right growing conditions, Heucheras will thrive and add beauty to your pots throughout the season.

8 Euonymus

Euonymus is a versatile and attractive shrub that is well-suited for planting in pots all year round. With its compact shape and evergreen foliage, it offers a great option for adding texture and color to your outdoor space.

Euonymus is easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of conditions. It can withstand harsh winters and even hot summers, making it a reliable choice for those looking for low-maintenance plants. Additionally, euonymus can be placed in both sun and shade, making it a versatile option for any spot in your garden.

There are several varieties of euonymus available, each offering its own unique look and appeal. For a striking purple foliage, the euonymus ‘Purple Prince’ is an ideal choice. If you prefer a more compact option, the euonymus ‘Nikitia’ offers a small and neat shape that will fit well in smaller pots or tight spaces.

Euonymus can be planted in well-draining soil and should be watered regularly, especially during dry seasons. While it does not require frequent fertilization, a general-purpose fertilizer can help to promote healthy growth and vibrant color throughout the year.

In terms of care, euonymus is a low-maintenance plant. It can be pruned if desired to maintain its shape, and it can also be moved around your garden if needed. This flexibility allows you to experiment with different placements and arrangements to find the perfect spot for your euonymus shrubs.

If you’re looking to add some variety to your garden, euonymus is a great choice. Its wide range of options and attractive foliage make it a standout plant that will thrive in pots all year round. Whether you choose the compact ‘Nikitia’ or the vibrant ‘Purple Prince’, euonymus is sure to add beauty and interest to your outdoor space.

9 Skimmia japonica

Skimmia japonica is a broadleaf evergreen shrub that is well-suited for growing in containers throughout the year. It is a compact and slow-growing variety, making it a perfect plant for small pots and containers.

This shrub thrives in a wide range of growing conditions, from full sun to partial shade. It can survive harsh winters and is hardy in USDA zones 7-9. Skimmia japonica is also known for its attractive foliage and delicate flowers, which appear on the plant in late winter or early spring.

One of the standout features of Skimmia japonica is its bright red berries, which are a favorite among birds. This plant is ideal for attracting wildlife to your garden and is a great addition to any winter garden.

Skimmia japonica requires minimal care and is low-maintenance. It prefers well-draining soil and should be watered regularly, especially during dry periods. It is also important to choose a container that has good drainage to prevent waterlogged roots.

Skimmia japonica can be planted alongside other evergreen shrubs, such as Pieris and Hebes, to create a beautiful and varied display in your container garden. It also pairs well with conifers, yuccas, and heucheras, adding texture and shape to the overall look.

When choosing Skimmia japonica for your container garden, look for varieties like ‘Nikitia’ and ‘Bhatta,’ which are compact and will thrive in pots.

In summary, Skimmia japonica is a hardy and attractive shrub that is perfect for pots and containers all year round. Its evergreen foliage, delicate flowers, and red berries make it a standout plant in any winter garden. Whether you have a small balcony or a larger outdoor space, Skimmia japonica is a great choice for adding color and interest to your container gardening.

10 Dwarf conifers

Dwarf conifers are a perfect addition to any garden or container, offering year-round interest and a variety of shapes, colors, and textures. Whether you have a small space or want to create a focal point in your landscape, these 10 dwarf conifers are worth considering:

  1. Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath’ – This evergreen shrub features purple new growth and pink flowers in spring. It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and is hardy in Zones 5-8.

  2. Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’ – This compact Japanese cypress grows in a dense, conical shape and offers fine-textured, feathery foliage. It can be kept in containers or planted in the ground and is hardy in Zones 5-7.

  3. Picea glauca ‘Conica’ – Also known as the dwarf Alberta spruce, this evergreen conifer has a pyramidal shape and a silvery-blue color. It is well-suited for containers and is hardy in Zones 3-6.

  4. Thuja occidentalis ‘Ellwangeriana’ – This dwarf arborvitae has a columnar shape and dense foliage. It is ideal for small spaces and containers and is hardy in Zones 3-7.

  5. Juniperus horizontalis ‘Lime Glow’ – This low-growing evergreen shrub features bright yellow-green foliage that turns orange in the winter. It is well-suited for rock gardens and containers and is hardy in Zones 3-9.

  6. Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana’ – This slow-growing Japanese cypress has a globular shape and soft, fan-like foliage. It is a great choice for small gardens and containers and is hardy in Zones 4-8.

  7. Thuja plicata ‘Whipcord’ – This unique conifer has long, whip-like foliage that gives it a distinctive look. It works well in containers and is hardy in Zones 5-8.

  8. Abies balsamea ‘Nana’ – Also known as the dwarf balsam fir, this evergreen conifer has a compact, rounded shape and soft, dark green needles. It is hardy in Zones 3-5 and thrives in cool, moist conditions.

  9. Picea abies ‘Little Gem’ – This compact spruce has a conical shape and offers bright green needles. It is hardy in Zones 3-7 and is a great option for containers and small gardens.

  10. Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’ – Also known as the blue rug juniper, this low-growing shrub has silvery-blue foliage that forms a dense mat. It is hardy in Zones 3-9 and thrives in well-drained soil and full sun.

When choosing dwarf conifers for your garden or containers, consider factors such as the light and temperature conditions in your area, as well as the specific planting and maintenance requirements of each plant. Consulting with a local gardening expert can help you determine which dwarf conifers are best suited to your specific climate and soil conditions. By adding these versatile and beautiful plants to your garden, you can enjoy their year-round appeal and create a stunning focal point for any spot in your outdoor space.

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Can you keep plants in pots over winter

Many small plants can be successfully kept in containers throughout the winter. When choosing plants for pots, it’s important to consider their adaptability to containers. Some plants, like pieris or hebes, are naturally compact and can thrive in small pots. Others, like yucca or broad-leaved evergreens, need larger containers to accommodate their size.

The founder of Our House Plants, Rupert Foxton-Smythe, says that plants like winter-flowering heather, cyclamen, or dwarf conifers are excellent options for winter pots. These plants will add color and interest to your pots throughout the year and will withstand winter weather conditions.

In general, hardy plants are the best choice for winter containers. Plants with attractive foliage, like evergreen shrubs or ornamental grasses, can provide year-round interest. Some shrubs even produce fruit that will add further visual appeal. Low maintenance plants like herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, are also ideal for winter pots.

When it comes to the potting soil, it’s essential to use a well-draining mix that provides good air circulation around the roots. This will help prevent waterlogging and root rot in winter. Rupert Foxton-Smythe suggests using a mix of one part sand, two parts peat, and one part compost for pots.

The plants should be kept in a spot around the house where they will receive enough sunlight. If the weather becomes very cold, it’s advisable to move the pots to a more protected area, like an unheated garage or a shed. Be sure to protect the plants from frost and provide extra insulation around the sides of the pots, such as bubble wrap or hessian.

USDA hardiness zones can provide guidance on which plants are most likely to survive winter conditions in your area. However, it’s worth noting that some plants may not be as hardy in pots as they are in the ground. If you’re unsure about the hardiness of a particular plant, consult your local nursery or gardening center for advice.

In conclusion, keeping plants in pots over winter is certainly possible with the right plant selection, container size, and care. By choosing hardy and adaptable varieties and providing proper protection and maintenance, your potted plants can thrive and provide year-round beauty to your outdoor or indoor space.

How do you plant a container for year round interest

When it comes to planting a container for year round interest, there are a few key factors to consider. One of the most important factors is the USDA hardiness zone in which you live. This will determine what plants are suitable for your area and will thrive in your specific climate.

It’s also important to think about the overall look you want to achieve with your container. Do you want a variety of colors and textures, or do you prefer a more monochromatic scheme? Consider the style and theme of your garden or outdoor space, and use that as a guide when choosing your plants.

In terms of plant choices, there are many options that can provide year round interest. You can choose plants with attractive foliage, such as herbs or sword ferns, that will provide a lush and low-maintenance look. For a more broad-leafed look, consider incorporating yucca or nikitia varieties.

When it comes to caring for your container, it’s important to choose plants that are suited to the conditions they will be grown in. Some plants, like conifers or evergreens, are more suited to cold winter temperatures and can add interest even in the colder months. Others, like pieris or purple spruce, thrive in moist or humid conditions and can add a pop of color to your container throughout the year.

Once you have chosen your plants, it’s time to think about the potting mix or soil you will use. It’s important to choose a high-quality potting mix that is well-draining and provides the right nutrients for your plants. This will ensure that they have the best possible growing conditions and will thrive throughout the year.

When planting your container, be sure to place taller plants towards the back or center, and smaller or trailing plants towards the front or edges. This will create a visually appealing arrangement and give each plant the space it needs to grow and thrive.

In terms of maintenance, it’s important to regularly water and fertilize your container to keep your plants healthy and happy. Additionally, be sure to check for any signs of pests or disease, and take appropriate action if necessary.

Overall, planting a container for year round interest can be a fun and rewarding project. By choosing a variety of plants with different colors, textures, and shapes, you can create a container that offers visual interest throughout the year, both inside and outside your home.


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