Container Fever in the Winter

The graceful lines of the evergreen Carex 'Evergold' looks good all the time

The graceful lines of the evergreen Carex ‘Evergold’ looks good all the time

Start with Perennials

A few daffs are blooming, I started feeding sugar syrup to the bees, and it is mud season here in Maryland, but I am already getting the itch which I can only satisfy by making up some early containers.  Most people just plant their containers in mid-May, and try to make them last all summer into Fall. But I am more successful if I start with a base of perennials and then add the seasonal plants when it warms up. There are very few plants that will look good all year-long or even for 6 months. I do rely on a few that have staying power and use them as a base to build on with other more seasonal plants. One of them is ‘Evergold’ Carex. This shade loving evergreen grass looks good 365 days of the year so I really like using this in containers for shade. This plant has been in my containers for 4 years and is thriving. For an alternative, the Hakenochloas or Japanese Forest Grass is another one that would work.

Hakenochloa 'All Gold'

Hakenochloa ‘All Gold’

Three more plants that look good planted in a container all year-long is Heuchera, Lamium, and Bergenia. Heuchera or Coral Bells can look a little bedraggled but as soon as it warms up, it is stellar. I had both of these containers outside my bedroom all winter long and could enjoy them without doing a thing.

Bergenia with its large leaves has burgundy highlights in the Winter. Lamium is hanging down the side and 'Southern Comfort' Heuchera is on the right.

Bergenia with its large leaves has burgundy highlights in the Winter. Lamium is hanging down the side and ‘Southern Comfort’ Heuchera is on the right.

If the plants get too large, I can always chop out some pieces and replant in the garden. Also, in the fall, I do cut them back a little to get new growth. Now I just have to get some pansies to add to these for a pop of color and I am done until mid- May when I rip out the pansies and put a summer bloomer in its place.

Heuchera americana 'Green Spice'

Heuchera americana ‘Green Spice’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other perennials that you can use are ferns, large grasses, evergreen sedums, hellebores, conifers, and ivies.


Fern (Photo credit: hartjeff12) Ferns are excellent in containers

I know everyone is beginning to think about planting containers and here is a great link to get you started.

Happy Planting! I would love to see some pictures of containers that you have planted that you think stand out from the crowd.

A seasonal fall container

A seasonal fall container

About thegardendiaries

Claire Jones is a landscape and floral designer and owner of Claire Jones Landscapes, LLC. She designs and helps people to create their own personal outdoor oasis and loves to write about her gardening failures and successes.
This entry was posted in Container gardening, gardening and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Container Fever in the Winter

  1. Are you starting seeds??


  2. Yes, I started them outside a couple of weeks ago under a floating row cover. I just checked them today, and the radishes are doing great along with onions, cilantro,arugula, and lettuce. My red cabbage that I started in the Fall and is as big as a large grapefruit.


  3. I’ve never thought of trying to grow heuchera through the winter in containers. It might work here in the very cold northeast!


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  5. How would you think transporting annuals to and from containers through the winter months fair on the plant? Something like marigold or zinnia? Thanks for the pointers!


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