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Container Gardening

Choosing Plants for Your Container Garden


Balancing Height and Width

Balancing Height and Width in a Container Garden

Marie Iannotti

Container gardens offer the advantage of changing your garden with every season. The choice of plant material is limited only by your climate and your imagination. If you have a tropical or temperate climate, you may not need to change your container gardens at all, but you still might choose to.

When choosing plants for container gardens, keep in mind the scale of the container and how aggressively the plant grows. While you want your container garden to look full, fast growers will quickly outgrow their pots.

The following choices should get you thinking.


  • Bulbs (Pre-chilled or planted the prior fall)
  • Early Flowering Shrubs: Rhododendron, Azalea and Lilac (won’t grow to full height)
  • Spring Bloomers: Primrose, Fritillaries, Ferns, Kalanchoe, Pansies
  • Cool Season Vegetables: Lettuce and Greens


  • Annuals: Abutilon, Bacopa, Callibrachoa-Million Bells, Coleus, Convolvulus, Dahlia, Fuchsia, Geranium, Herbs, Impatiens, Larkspur, Lobelia, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Oxalis, Petunias, Scabiosa, Wave Petunias
  • Ornamental grasses, Herbs, Miniature Roses
  • Warm Season Vegetables: Tomatoes, Squash, Edible Flowers
  • Or try a water garden


  • Summer Annuals in Rebloom: Begonias, Fuchsias, Impatiens
  • Fall Bloomers: Asters, Cyclamen, Gentian, Heather, Heuchera, Marguerite Daisies, Mums, Osteospermum
  • Berries: Cotoneasters, Pyracanthas,


  • Evergreens: Boxwood, Privet, Juniper, Wintergreen

To Add Height

  • Canna, Colocasia (Elephant Ear), Brugmansia (Angels Trumpet), Phormium, Salvia, Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ (Fountain grass)


  • Artemisia, Creeping Jenny, Helichrysum, Houttuynia, Ivy, Moss, Plectranthus, Sedum, Spider Plants, Sweet Potato Vines, Transcantia, Wandering Jew

Use Ground Covers as Mulch

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