There are a huge range of evergreen plants for pots to consider – but which options are right for you and your garden?
In this article, we will discuss some common and popular evergreen plants which can be grown in containers; perfect for a container garden on your patio or in your small space garden.
Of course there are also many, many more evergreen plants that can be grown as houseplants here in the UK.
However in this article, we will focus on plants that can be grown outside for at least some of the year in at least some areas of the British Isles:
Dwarf Conifers For Pots
The first type of evergreen plants for pots to consider are conifer trees.
Dwarf conifers are restricted by the size of their pots, and can be mini-Christmas tree type shapes, or be interesting bonsai in a range of topiary shapes.
Some great conifers for pots to consider include:
- Abies (True firs)
- Cephalotaxus (Plum yew)
- Chamaecyparis (e.g. C. pisifera, C. obtusa etc..)
- Cryptomeria japonica (Japanese cedar)
- Cupressus (e.g. C. sempervirens – Italian cypress)
- Juniperus (Junipers)
- Picea (Spruces)
- Pinus (e.g. Mugo pines)
- Thuja (e.g. T. ‘Mirjam’, T. orientalis ‘Aurea nana’, T. plicata ‘4Ever goldy’ etc.)
- Tsuga (Hemlocks)
Of course they can also be used to add formal structure and symmetry to a space, while they can also work well when placed along a boundary to increase the privacy in a garden, or as part of a windbreak planting scheme.
Other Evergreen Trees For Pots
Conifers are not the only evergreen trees that can be grown.
In large pots or containers, you can also consider growing other evergreen trees, including, for example:
- Arbutus unedo (strawberry tree)
- Citrus (many can sit outside on a sunny patio, for example, during the summer before moving indoors or under cover in winter)
- Eriobotrya japonica (loquat)
- Chamaerops / Cordyline / Trachycarpus (hardy palms)
- Feijoa sellowiana (Pineapple guava)
- Ilex (Holly)
- Laurus nobilis (bay tree)
- Magnolia grandiflora (bull bay)
- Olea europaea (olive tree)
- Quercus ilex (holm oak)
Evergreen trees in containers can make a bold statement and can be the focal point of a patio or container garden area.
Some, such as strawberry tree, citrus, loquats, pineapple guava and olives may even provide an edible yield of fruits, and bay is a useful culinary herb.
Even a small tree placed in the right position in your garden can increase privacy and break sightlines, without casting too much shade.
Evergreen Shrubs For Pots
There are also a wide range of evergreen shrubs that can be grown in pots.
There are plenty of shrubs that will provide year-round interest, and which can thrive in a container garden.
Some interesting options to consider include:
- Aucuba japonica
- Winter Savory
Evergreen shrubs can provide year-round interest, some even flowering or providing beautiful berries over the coldest months.
They can also be great for wildlife in your garden.
As you can see from the list above, the evergreen shrubs that you can grow include a number of culinary herbs, which can be very useful additions to a patio garden close to your home, since you will be able to come outside and pick some herbs whenever you need some.
Some evergreen shrubs – bamboo in particular, can be especially useful as screening and for privacy, since you can grow many of these in containers even where a home is rented or for some other reason you cannot grow plants in the ground.
Evergreen Climbers For Pots
A large container placed against a wall, fence or other structure can also be used to grow a number of evergreen climbers.
For example, you might consider:
- Clematis (Evergreen, winter-flowering, e.g. C. cirrhosa)
- Euonymous fortunei
- Garrya elliptica (Silk-tassel)
- Hedera (Ivy)
- Hydrangea seemannii
- Parthenocissus (Virginia creeper)
- Trachelospermum jasmonoides (Star jasmine)
Growing climbers and wall shrubs in containers as the base of a wall or fence or other support structure can be a great way to make sure your garden, yard, balcony or patio has an enclosed and welcoming feel, with plenty of greenery about.
Plants like ivy can also be grown down from hanging baskets or other hanging containers, in mixed container planting alongside a range of other plants.
Evergreen Grasses For Pots
Grasses and sedges are also great for adding year-round colour and interest in a container garden.
Some great evergreen grasses to grow in pots include:
- Anemanthele lessoniana
- Festuca glauca
- Miscanthus sinensis (e.g. ‘Morning Light’)
- Stipa tenuissima
Larger specimens look great in stand-alone containers, as statement pieces.
They can be placed in a row for gentle screening that does not overwhelm the space or overly restrict views of the rest of the garden.
Smaller grasses for containers can also look great when planted in containers alongside other evergreen plants.
Their soft and flowing forms can break up heavier, denser planting schemes and keep a container garden looking light and soft.
Evergreen Herbaceous Plants For Pots
There are also plenty of other herbaceous perennials to consider growing in pots in a container garden.
Just some of the interesting evergreens of this type to grow in pots include:
- Asplenium (evergreen ferns)
- Dianthus ssp.
- Erigeon ssp.
Many alpine plants, for example, create mats of evergreen foliage.
While other more sculptural plants like evergreen ferns, fatsia and phormiums, for example, can make an impact – even in somewhat more shaded positions.
Including a wide range of different alpines and other perennial herbaceous plants with different shapes, textures and colours can add a lot of interest to your container garden.
And the above list represents just a very small fraction of the many different plants that you could choose.
Evergreen Succulents For Pots
A number of succulents can also be excellent evergreen plants to consider growing in pots.
These can be grown as houseplants, but can also often survive outside with winter protection in more sheltered, drier and milder spots.
Some of the many succulents to consider include:
Succulents can be great low-maintenance plants for a free-draining and sunny spot.
They look at home in many different drier-climate planting schemes, or in containers inside your home.
Creating containers with a number of different succulents can lend an exotic vibe to your container garden.
We hope you’re feeling inspired to find some year-round greenery for your garden!
A permaculture garden designer, sustainability consultant and freelance writer, Elizabeth works as an advocate for positive change. She aims to inspire others to reconnect with nature and live in a more eco-friendly way. She also tries to practice what she preaches as she tends her own forest garden, polyculture beds and polytunnel. See her personal website here.