In this article, plants for containers in city gardens in full sun will be highlighted. City gardens tend to be more sheltered and tend to be blocked in by tall buildings allowing the temperature to rise and be warmer all year round. These warmer temperatures than rural places allow you to broaden your choice of plants that can be used.
Plants such as penstemons and alstroemerias that offer suffer in cold winters, will come up unscathed in snug city enclaves. Believe it or not, you are blessed compared to many gardeners, as the range of plants that can be used are more extensive.
The main problem that a city gardener faces are pollution, which could be detrimental to your plant life. Other problems include a lack of privacy and poor rubble-filled soil. The latter is easily solved as you will be growing your precious plants in containers, which has been tailored to your plant’s needs.
Pollution is a difficult problem to solve but can be mitigated by growing plants that offer some resistance, in what is known as strategic planting. The problem of the lack of privacy can be solved by lining the boundary with well-behaved shrubs such as Physocarpus and Ceanothus which can be underplanted with tough colourful plants in a monochrome theme.
If your garden is tiny and you do not have much room to swing a cat you will need to restrict your colour scheme to a few species, which will provide a more cohesive design. Remember in cities, gardens tend to be well enclosed and will suffer from less wind damage as an added bonus.
ABUTILON x SUNTENSE (Indian Mallow)
A large, deciduous shrub that has narrow lobed, felted, grey-green leaves and from late spring to early summer, large, bowl-shaped pale to deep purple flowers appear. Grow this 4m tall shrub in a very large container full of multipurpose compost near a south-facing wall.
ACANTHUS MOLLIS (Bear’s Breeches)
A tall 1.2m tall-growing perennial that has large, deeply lobed, dark green leaves. In mid to late summer, tall spikes of hooded white and pale purple flower appear. Grow this decorative plant in a large container full of multipurpose compost.
ALSTROEMERIA (Peruvian Lily) ‘Ligtu Hybrids’
This 60cm tall upright, rhizome-forming perennial that has lance-shaped grey-green leaves, where in summer funnel-shaped flowers are produced in showy reds, oranges, and yellows. The flowers are ideal as a cutting flower. Plants thus in groups in containers full of multipurpose compost where it would be required to be mulched in winter.
ARTEMISIA LUDOVICIANA(Western Mugwort) ‘Silver Queen’
This is an upright perennial that has slim toothed-edge, silver-grey leaves. In summer, plumes of small, yellow flowers appear, but they distract from the foliage. This quick spreading perennial would appreciate being grown in multipurpose compost.
CALLISTEMON CITRINUS (Crimson Bottlebush) ‘Splendens’
An evergreen, upright shrub that has arching stems full of lance-shaped glossy, green leaves. The familiar crimson bottlebrush-like flowers are produced in summer. Grow this 3m tall shrub in multipurpose compost against a protective wall. It will need protection from frost.
CEANOTHUS x DELILEANUS (Californian Lilac) ‘Gloire de Versailles’
This vigorous, bushy, deciduous shrub has oval, mid-green leaves, from which blue, branching flower heads appear from midsummer to early autumn. Grow this 1.5m tall shrub in multipurpose compost in a sheltered position. Needs to be deadheaded regularly.
CEANOTHUS (Californian Lilac) ‘Pershore Zanzibar’
This 2.5m tall evergreen shrub has dark, oval greenish-yellow variegated leaves. From late spring to early summer, fluffy, oval blue flower heads appear. Grow in a sheltered site in multipurpose compost in a large container.
CHIONANTHUS VIRGINICUS (Fringe Tree)
A deciduous, vase-shaped shrub or small tree that have oval, green leaves, and white underneaths, The tree has a peeling bark and bears white scented, spidery flowers in summer. Grow this 3m tall plant in a multipurpose compost in a very large container, where they will add interest in small gardens. To flower well, it will need a long and hot summer.
CRAMBE CORDIFOLIA (Greater Sea Kale)
This 2m tall perennial forms a mound of large crinkled, lobed green leaves. Clusters of small, fragrant white flowers on branching sprays appear in summer. Grow this shrub in multipurpose compost, where it needs to spread out to be at its best.
CRYPTOMERIA JAPONICA (Japanese Cedar) ‘Globosa Nana’
This 1m tall dwarf dome-shaped evergreen conifer has scaly green leaves. Grow this as a specimen species for interest in a large container full of multipurpose compost, as a foil for colourful blooms.
DELOSPERMA NUBIGENUM (Yellow Ice Plant)
This small evergreen perennial with trailing stems of small, succulent pale green leaves. In summer, daisy-like bright lemon-yellow flowers are produced. Grow this 5m tall perennial as an edging plant where it can trail over the side of a container full of multipurpose compost.
GAZANIA (Treasure Flower) ‘Kiss Series’
This 30cm tall annual has dark, oval green leaves, where from summer to autumn daisy-like flowers appear in shades of gold, bronze, pink and white, with yellow centres. Grow this in shallow pots full of multipurpose compost.
GERANIUM HIMALAYENSE (Cranesbill) ‘Plenum’
This clump-forming perennial has lobed, mid-green leaves that turn red in autumn. This 25cm tall perennial produces double blue-purple blooms with dark veins in summer. Grow it in a multipurpose compost in a medium-sized container.
GERANIUM PRATENSE (Meadow Cranesbill)
This clump-forming perennial that has hairy stems have divided, lobed, mid-green leaves that turn bronze in autumn. In summer, violet-blue saucer-shaped flowers are produced, where it will grow up to 60cm in height when planted in a multipurpose compost.
GERANIUM SANGUINEUM (Bloody Cranesbill) ‘Album’
This clump-forming perennial has deeply cut, dark green leaves that turn red in autumn. In early summer white flowers appear when planted in a multipurpose compost, where under these conditions it will grow up to 30cm in height.
GERBERA (Florist Gerbera) ‘Mount Rushmore’
This 40cm tall upright perennial has lobed, green basal leaves, from which pink, yellow or orange daisy-like flowers appear from summer to autumn. Plant in a group in a large container full of multipurpose compost.
This clump-forming perennial produces divided, mid-green leaves from which slender stems of bright orange-red, saucer-shaped flowers appear from late spring to early summer. Grow this 50cm tall perennial in a large container full of multipurpose compost.
HYPERICUM CALYCINUM (Rose of Sharon)
This 60cm tall dwarf semi-evergreen shrub that has dark green leaves. Large, open bright yellow flowers, with fluffy stamens, appear from midsummer to autumn. In containers this invasive shrub will be contained, where it would appreciate being grown in multipurpose compost.
MALVA MOSCHATA (Musk Mallow)
A 1m tall upright perennial with heart-shaped basal leaves that turn ferny on the upper flower stems. From summer to early autumn masses of pink saucer-shaped flowers appear. Grow this flowering perennial in a large container full of multipurpose compost.
PAPAVER ORIENTALE (Oriental Poppy)
This 90cm tall perennial has divided mid-green leaves, where in early summer large, pink or red saucer-shaped blooms with dark eyes appear. Plant it in groups in large containers full of multipurpose compost.
PHILADELPHUS (Mock Orange) ‘Belle Etoile’
A deciduous shrub that has arching stems where small, mid-green leaves appear on. In late spring to early summer, masses of highly fragrant white flowers with purple marking are produced. Plant this scented shrub that grows up to 1.2m in height in multipurpose compost near a seating area.
This is a 3m tall fast-growing, deciduous shrub that has lobed, green leaves. ‘Lady in Red’ instead has vivid, dark red leaves, which makes an interesting alternative. In early summer, clusters of small, white blooms are produced. Grow it in a very large container full of multipurpose compost.
PLEIOBLASTUS VARIEGATUS (Dwarf White-Stripe Bamboo)
This 80cm, small, compact, evergreen bamboo that has pale green canes, with creamy white striped green leaves. Grow it in a large container full of enriched multipurpose compost, where it will add greenery to any container garden.
POTENTILLA (Cinquefoil) ‘Gibson’s Scarlet’
This is a clump-forming perennial with lobed, soft green leaves. In summer small red, flowers with dark centres appear, where it will grow up to 65cm in height. Grow this plant in multipurpose compost, where it does not like the compost to be too wet or too dry.
RHUS TYPHINA (Stag’s Horn) ‘Dissecta’
A 3m tall shrub or very small deciduous tree that has velvety stems, where large dissected, bright green leaves appear. These leaves turn yellow to red in autumn. Female specimens have large, maroon buds-shaped fruit clusters when planted in a multipurpose compost. Suckers that appear from the base need to be removed, so to prevent it from becoming invasive.
ROSA (Rose) ‘Crazy For You’
A disease-resistant variety of rose which has dark, green glossy leaves. In summer to autumn, cupped, semi-double, red-splashed cream flowers appear that have a light scent. Grow this 1.5m tall shrub in an enriched multipurpose compost.
ROSA (Rose) ‘Rhapsody in Blue’
This modern disease-resistant rose has dark green, glossy leaves, where clusters of scented, purple double flowers appear from summer to autumn. Plant it in an enriched multipurpose compost in a large container, where it will grow up to 1.2n tall.
SANTOLINA PINNATA (Cotton Lavender)
This short 75cm tall bushy, evergreen shrub produces finely toothed, grey-green leaves. A mass of pompon-like pale lemon-yellow flowers appears in summer. Grow this shrub in a multipurpose compost in a large container.
SOLIDAGO (Goldenrod) ‘Goldkind’
This 1.2m tall upright clump-forming perennial has slender, pointed green leaves, where from mid to late summer, branching heads of golden yellow are produced. Grow this perennial in a container full of multipurpose compost, where it will require regularly deadheading.
VERONICA SPICATA (Speedwell)
An upright clump-forming perennial that has lance-shaped, toothed-edged, green leaves. Spikes of dark pink flowers appear in summer, where it will grow up to 50cm in height. Grow it in groups in a large container with other summer flowering perennials in multipurpose compost.
In this article, plants for containers in city gardens in full sun has been discussed. As can be observed a number of beautiful specimens can be grown that will tolerate pollution and will offer some privacy have been highlighted.
The choice of what plant to use is quite intensive and should do well growing in a city garden in a container. Your choice is not limited to a few plants.
If you have a question that you wish to raise or a comment you have to make, please do so in the comment box below.
Turn your city garden to your bit of oasis.