Best Evergreen Plants for Pots: Year-Round Structure and Interest

The secret to maintaining year-round form and interest in your garden is quite simple, utilise evergreen plants.

This blog post will guide you through a wide variety of evergreen options suitable for pots and containers. We’ll cover classics like Bay Trees and Boxwoods, as well as more unusual choices such as Yuccas and Phormiums.

Top Tip

Create captivating year-round structure and visual interest by choosing a diverse selection of evergreen plants, combining various textures and heights.

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Suggested Evergreen Plants Suitable for Pots

1. Bay Tree (Laurus nobilis)
2. Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
3. Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
4. Yucca
5. Skimmia japonica
6. Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’
7. Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
8. Evergreen Ornamental Grasses
9. Heuchera
10. Dwarf Mountain Pine
11. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
12. Cordyline australis
13. Phormium
14. Fatsia japonica
15. Ivy (Hedera helix)

1. Bay Tree (Laurus nobilis)

Bay trees, with their aromatic, glossy, and dark green leaves, are an excellent choice for container gardening. These elegant trees are often pruned into topiary shapes for a formal, classy appeal.

Ideal growing conditions for bay trees include well-drained soil and a sunny or partially shaded spot. Keep in mind that they can be sensitive to harsh winter winds, so choose a protected location or move the pot to a sheltered location during colder months.

2. Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

jasmine, plants for pergolas

Star Jasmine is an evergreen climber known for its star-shaped, fragrant white flowers that bloom in summer, and glossy dark green leaves. It’s an excellent choice for adding vertical interest in a container garden.

Star Jasmine prefers a sunny or partly shaded spot and moist, well-drained soil. It’s also fairly hardy and can withstand cooler temperatures, but may need some protection during the coldest months.

3. Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)

Boxwoods are versatile evergreens that can be shaped into a variety of forms, making them ideal for adding structure in container gardens. They bear small, rounded, glossy, dark green leaves that stay vibrant throughout the year.

Boxwoods thrive in well-drained soil, in sun to partial shade. They can withstand cold winters, but should be sheltered from harsh winter winds to prevent leaf scorch.

4. Yucca

Yucca plants are known for their architectural form with rosettes of sword-shaped leaves and tall panicles of white or whitish flowers. They add a touch of the exotic to your garden.

Yuccas are fairly easy to grow, thriving in a sunny location and well-drained soil. They are drought-tolerant, making them perfect for a low maintenance container garden.

5. Skimmia japonica

Skimmia japonica is a compact evergreen shrub with clusters of small, aromatic white or pinkish flowers followed by bright red berries. They’re a wonderful choice for adding winter interest to your containers.

Skimmia prefers partial to full shade and a rich, well-drained soil. This shrub does particularly well in containers in a sheltered location.

6. Euonymus fortunei 'Emerald 'n' Gold'

Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’ is a popular dwarf shrub known for its attractive variegated foliage, which adds colour and contrast to containers.

It’s a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of conditions. However, it prefers a well-drained soil and can be planted in either full sun or partial shade. The colour of the foliage can vary depending on the amount of sunlight it receives.

7. Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

Holly, recognised by its glossy, spiky leaves and red berries, adds a festive charm to your winter garden. It’s a hardy plant that does well in containers.

Hollies prefer well-drained soil and can be grown in full sun to partial shade. Some varieties may need a male and female plant to produce berries, so check when purchasing.

8. An Evergreen Ornamental Grass

Evergreen ornamental grasses, such as Festuca glauca or Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’, add texture and movement to container gardens. Their slender leaves sway gracefully in the wind and maintain their colour during winter.

These grasses generally prefer a sunny location, but some types can tolerate partial shade. They do well in a variety of soil types, as long as the soil drains well.

9. Heuchera

Heucheras are known for their stunning, vibrant foliage that comes in a variety of colours from purple to lime green. They’re perfect for adding a splash of year-round colour to your containers.

Heucheras prefer a spot in partial shade with well-drained soil. They’re hardy plants, but in very cold regions, they may benefit from some winter protection.

10. Dwarf Mountain Pine

Dwarf mountain pines are compact, slow-growing evergreens that add a touch of the alpine to your garden. They have dense, dark green foliage and are particularly attractive in winter.

They prefer full sun and well-drained soil. They’re hardy plants and do well in colder climates, making them ideal for year-round interest.

11. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

rosemary, herb, fresh-4236040.jpg

Rosemary is a fragrant herb with needle-like leaves and blue flowers in spring. It’s not just useful in the kitchen, it also makes a great evergreen for containers. Rosemary prefers full sun and well-drained soil.

It can tolerate dry conditions, but it will need some protection from harsh winter conditions.

12. Cordyline australis

Cordyline australis, with its long, sword-like leaves, can add an exotic touch to your container garden. They’re often used as a focal point.

Cordylines prefer a sunny spot with well-drained soil. While they can tolerate a certain degree of cold, they may need some protection during harsh winters.

13. Phormium

Phormium, or New Zealand flax, has striking, sword-shaped leaves that can add a dramatic touch to your garden. They come in a variety of colours from green to bronze to variegated forms.

Phormium prefers a sunny spot and well-drained soil. They’re reasonably hardy but may need some protection in areas with severe winters.

14. Fatsia japonica

Fatsia japonica, with its large, glossy leaves, adds a bold, tropical look to your container garden. It’s a great choice for adding structural interest.

Fatsias prefer a shady or partially shady spot and rich, well-drained soil. They’re quite hardy and can handle cooler temperatures.

15. Ivy (Hedera helix)

Ivy is a versatile, evergreen climber that’s perfect for trailing over the sides of pots. It has glossy, dark green leaves and can add a lush look to your container garden.

Ivy prefers a spot in shade or partial shade, and it’s not too fussy about soil as long as it’s well-drained. It’s a very hardy plant and does well in a variety of conditions.

Reasons to Use Evergreen Plants in Pots and Containers

Year-round Interest
Evergreens offer year-round greenery and structure, keeping your garden vibrant even in the coldest months.

Low Maintenance
Once established, evergreens require less care than many other plants, making them perfect for busy gardeners.

Space Saving
For those with limited space, evergreens in containers allow for gardening on patios, balconies, or small yards.

There are many varieties of evergreen plants, from flowering types to foliage-focused ones, offering a wide range of looks and styles for your container garden.

Privacy and Noise Reduction
Tall evergreen plants can serve as a natural privacy screen or help reduce noise when placed strategically.

Wildlife Support
Evergreens often provide essential habitats for birds and insects, supporting local biodiversity.

Controlled Environment
Pots provide a controlled environment, which can be beneficial for plants that prefer specific soil types or moisture levels.

Immediate Impact
Larger evergreen plants in pots can provide an immediate impact, unlike waiting for ground-planted trees to mature.

Prevention of Spread
Some evergreen plants can be invasive if planted in the ground, but this is easily controlled when they are in containers.

Remember, when choosing your plant, always consider the conditions in your garden, the size of your pot, and the specific needs of the plant for the best results. Happy gardening!

Final thoughts

In summary, the versatility of evergreen plants offers endless possibilities for container gardening, delivering year-round structure and interest. From Bay Trees to Yuccas, these plants are your ticket to a vibrant, four-season display. Feel free to mix and match, experiment, and most importantly, have fun.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What evergreen plants can you put in pots for privacy?

If you’re looking to create a natural privacy screen with potted evergreen plants, consider taller species such as Bay Tree (Laurus nobilis), Holly (Ilex aquifolium), or Yucca. These plants can grow quite tall, providing a green barrier that gives your space seclusion while adding natural beauty.

Q: What are the best plant pots for winter?

When choosing pots for winter, it’s important to consider durability and insulation. Materials such as wood and stone offer good insulation, protecting your plant’s roots from frost. Plastic pots can also work well if they are thick and sturdy. Avoid terracotta pots if possible, as they can crack in freezing temperatures. It’s also beneficial to choose pots with adequate drainage to prevent waterlogging.

Q: What is filler, thriller, spiller in planting?

“Filler, thriller, spiller” is a concept often used in container gardening to create a well-rounded and aesthetically pleasing plant arrangement. The “thriller” is the focal point plant—usually something tall and dramatic. The “filler” plants surround the thriller, adding body and often providing a contrast in colour or texture. The “spiller” plants trail over the edge of the container, adding a finishing touch and extra dimension to the display. For example, you could use a Yucca as your thriller, Heuchera for filler, and trailing Ivy as the spiller in your container.



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