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McKay Nursery Company

Shrubs for Containers: 5 Tried and True Plants

Apr 17, 2017 6:30:00 AM

Written by

McKay Staff

in Gardening 101 How-to Guide Plants & Flowers


Pro Tips: Plants in containers need more water than plants in the ground. Because terra-cotta is a breathable material, plants in those containers dry out even faster than those planted in plastic or ceramic pots. In general, check the soil in your containers daily to be sure it stays moist but not wet. In windy or hot conditions, plants might even need watering twice a day. Before watering, insert your finger up to the first joint in the soil to determine whether water is needed.

Choose the right container: Always plant in a container with drainage holes. Roots allowed to stay in standing water will rot. Pour water over the soil until you see water running out of the drainage holes.




Angelina Sedum


If you have a hot, dry spot and need a plant with some color Angelina Sedum is the one to choose! It has bright golden, needle shaped leaves that trail along the ground or over the edge of a container. This excellent groundcover will tolerate any tough rock garden or green roof site in full sun and provide great golden foliage all season before changing to oranges and red in the fall. It does have yellow flowers mid-summer. Sedum makes an ideal plant in containers and troughs due to its ability to resist drought and heat, in fact preferring those conditions. Growing Sedum in sandy soil, among gravel or rocks or in fast draining containers is its favorite situation. Mature growth is around 6" tall.

Angelina Sedum Quick Facts:

Bloom Time: June 
Color: Green, Orange, Red, Yellow
Plant Size: Around 6" tall
Fall Color:  Red, orange, yellow
Sunlight: Full Sun
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Dry
Growing Zones: 5 - 8




Tristar Everbearing Strawberry


The Tristar Everbearing Strawberry is medium-sized, firm, glossy fruit harvested early spring and repeats about every six weeks through the fall. Because of their small root systems, strawberries are ideal fruits for containers. Although any pot that's at least 18 inches wide and 8 inches deep will do, you might want to plant in a hanging basket or a strawberry pot, which features a series of pockets along the sides of the container as well as an opening at the top. A container that is wider than it is deep, such as a half-barrel, allows you to grow more plants.

Tristar Everbearing Strawberry Quick Facts:

Bloom Time: June - September
Color: Green, Red, White
Plant Size: Around 2 1/2" tall and wide
Flower Color: White
Fruit:  Red
Sunlight: Full Sun 
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Acidic
Growing Zones: 4 - 8





Rozanne Geranium


The 2008 Perennial Plant of the Year! The Rozanne Geranium is reportedly deer resistant. A free flowering perennial Geranium that is simply the best! Grows 2-1/2"size violet-blue flowers that adorn this plant from June through October. Foliage is green and lightly marbles with chartreuse, and turns red brown in fall. A great plant that gets to about 18" tall and about 2-2.5' across. The foliage does not open up in the center like other varieties. Hardiness zone 5. This perennial plant likes full sun to part shade. Rozanne is a hardy geranium that thrives in many different conditions. She is tough and resilient and beautifully bright. Container planting your Geranium Rozanne opens up a host of new options for the gardening enthusiast.

Rozanne Geranium Quick Facts:

Bloom Time: June - October
Color: Green, Blue, Pink, Purple, Red
Plant Size: Around 18" tall x 2-2.5' wide
Flower Color: Pink, purple
Fall Color: Purple
Sunlight: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Acidic, Dry
Growing Zones: 5 - 8





Pixie Meadowbright Coneflower



Photo Credit: Monrovia

The Pixie Meadowbright Coneflower is a new introduction that will get to about 3' tall. Stiff petals do not droop like other selections. The flower color has more intense coloration of purple and carmine red. This plant definitely makes an excellent long lasting cut flower. This plant requires full sun and well drained fertile soil. A great plant for the sunny border, prairie garden, wildflower meadow or containers. A great naturalizer plant best used in mass plantings. Mature size is around 18-24" tall and wide. Hardiness zone 3.

Pixie Meadowbright Coneflower Quick Facts:

Bloom Time: July - August
Color: Green, Pink, Purple
Plant Size: Around 18-24" tall x 18-24" wide
Bloom Color: Purple-pink
Sunlight: Full Sun
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Acidic, Dry
Growing Zones: 4 - 9





May Night Salvia


The May Night Salvia won the 1997 perennial plant of the year! This beautiful plant forms a neat mound at its maturity. The violet-purple spikes appear in June and will continue into September if spent flowers are removed. It looks beautiful when planted in the masses and in containers as the main show! Be sure to plant in full sun. This plant is tolerant to drought conditions. Mature size is around 20" tall x 24" wide. Hardiness zone 3.

May Night Salvia Quick Facts:

Bloom Time: June - September
Color: Green, Purple
Plant Size: Around 1-3' tall x 1-3' wide
Flower Color: Purple
Sunlight: Full Sun 
Soil Conditions: Normal, Sandy, Clay, Acidic, Dry
Growing Zones: 3 - 8

 Other photo credit: Nest of Posies, Fixer Upper



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