My Journal

Evergreens for container planting

Katie Rushworth image of evergreen plant

I love the time of year where the bold, bright colours of summer start to dilute into shades a bit more muted. There’s something really cosy and almost wistful about autumn, isn’t there? One thing I’m not so keen on is the prospect of a grey and gloomy garden through the winter. I’m always keen to plan my planting to make sure there’s a good bit of colour in my plot throughout the year – I’ve even written articles on the topic, which I’ll link at the end.

In this article, I’ll share with you some of my favourite evergreens for containers of all sizes, to bring structure, interest and rich colour to your garden year-round. Container planting is ideal for all types of garden, big or small – but especially effective if you’re working with limited space. 

Planting evergreen trees in pots

Planting small evergreen trees like conifers is a really lovely way to bring structure and interest to your garden. Having a limited space for roots to grow means that the overall size of the tree will be limited, too. Conifers come in all shapes and shades, with some really interesting foliage. I love dwarf mountain pine, juniper and Scots pine, which if bought small and young will happily tick along in a pot. You may wish to re-pot your container conifer every few years or as needed in order to allow it to grow a little more.

Structural evergreens for containers

There are lots of wonderful, dramatic structural evergreens that will bring a welcome touch of the tropics to your garden when planted in a container. Many palm trees, though associated with hot climates, are actually very happy in cooler weather, so can spruce up your garden all year round. I love the look of fan palm trees in a large container – it’s a slow-growing tree so will be quite happy, and the pointed foliage is really striking. The variegated Yucca gloriosa has wonderful yellow and green striped leaves, and grows in a pleasing ball of spiky foliage. Another firm favourite of mine for container planting is Phormium, a beautiful New Zealand native that comes in a wide array of glorious colours – pinks, purples, you name it. Many of these wonderful structural evergreens provide a brilliant backdrop to your seasonal planting schemes, so make sure to leave plenty of space in the container for planting up some annual displays for spring and summer.

Colourful evergreens in pots

Some evergreens are truly magical because of their brightly coloured blooms and berries. I love to see these in the depths of winter, looking festive and promising more colourful days to come. You can always rely on the old faithful holly to provide cheery berries, and Skimmia japonica is another beautiful evergreen that earns its keep all year round with fragrant white spring blooms and bright red winter berries. Viburnum davidii is a beautiful evergreen with sprays of white flowers in spring, and unusual turquoise berries in winter.

An important point to note is that if you’re planning on keeping your pots outside all year round, make sure to choose frost-proof pots to avoid the disappointment of cracked or even shattered pots. Happy planting!

Read my article on Planting for autumn colour here.

Read my article on Planting for winter interest here.

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