Many plants tolerate full sun, however, before growing any of them in a container, it is important to understand the specific requirements of container gardening. Match the size of the pots in relation to the plants you intend to grow. Choose plants whose roots will fill the pot, and whose mature height is two to three times taller than the container. Before planting, ensure the container has adequate drainage holes, then fill it with a potting mix made for containers.
Annuals, plants that grow, flower, set seed and die throughout the growing season, are a natural choice for containers. Once the season is over, simply dump the contents of the container into the compost pile, then wash and store the container until spring comes around again. Easy-to-grow container annuals that tolerate full sun include lantana, petunia, verbena, ivy-leaved geranium, sunflower, zinnia and marigold.
A wide variety of hardy and tropical flower bulbs do well in containers. Growing bulbs in containers makes it easy to move the tropical ones into a frost-free winter location. They also give gardeners in cold climates a way to grow hardy spring bulbs without the hassle of planting them in the ground in the fall. This is advantageous because deciding the best place to plant them once spring arrives is easier. These hardy bulbs are easy to transplant into the garden either before or after they bloom. Tropical bulbs that tolerate full sun include canna, pineapple lily and dahlia. Hardy bulbs that thrive in containers in full sun include daffodils, tulips, daylilies, iris and crocus.
Container-grown perennials are not as hardy as those grown in the ground. This means that, if you are in a U.S. Department of Agricultural hardiness zone 4, you should choose perennials hardy to USDA hardiness zone 2, if you intend to leave the perennials in the container year-round and not move the containers into a frost-free location during winter. Good drainage is essential, so the roots are not waterlogged during the winter months. Perennials that thrive in containers in full sun include coneflower, sea holly, yucca, creeping jenny, butterfly weed and globe thistle.
Shrubs, like perennials, thrive better in containers if you choose ones that are hardy in at least two hardiness zones colder than the one you reside. Another thing gardeners in cold climates can do to ensure the survival of container-grown shrubs that are too large to move, is to mulch the pot, including the top of the pot, with straw or another insulating material. An advantage of container-grown shrubs is they are often smaller than the ones grown in the ground. Emerald arborvitae, blue star juniper, blue mist spirea and Japanese holly all thrive in containers in full sun.
- University Of Illinois Extension; Care Of Potted Perennials; Greg Stack; March 1, 2011
- University Of Massachusetts Extension; Overwintering Containerized Perennials; Tina Smith; October 2004
- University Of Vermont Extension; Perennial Species For Containers; Leonard P. Perry; September 20, 2001
- University Of Florida IFAS Extension; Growing Fruit Crops In Containers; Larry K. Jackson, et al; 2009
- Virginia Cooperative Extension; Trees For Containers And Planters; Bonnie Appleton, et al; May 1, 2009
- Ohio State University Extension; Gardening In Containers; Jane C. Martin
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images
The Best Perennials for Containers
Perennial containers are just as easy to put together as annual containers, plus you get to keep the plants more than one...