Plants for Containers in City Gardens in Full Sun (Grow More Than Your First Thought)

Imagine gardening in the city
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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.

Imagine gardening in the city
Imagine gardening in the city

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)

ABUTILON x SUNTENSE
Abutilon x suntense

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)

Bear breeches
Acathus Mollis

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’

Alstroemeria
Alstroemeria

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’

Artemisia ludoviciana
Artemisia ludoviciana

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’

Callistemon citrinus
Callistemon citrinus

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’

Ceanothus x delileanus
Ceanothus x delileanus

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’

Ceanothus x delileanus
Ceanothus  ‘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)

Chionanthus virginicus
Chionanthus virginicus

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)

Crambe cordifolia
Crambe cordifolia

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’

Cryptomeria japonica
Cryptomeria japonica

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)

Delosperma nubigenum
Delosperma nubigenum

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’

Ganzia 'Kiss Series'
Gazania ‘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’

Geranium himalayense
Geranium himalayense

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)

Geranium pratense
Geranium pratense

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’

Geranium sanguineum
Geranium sanguineum

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’

Gerbera
Gerbera

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.

GEUM ‘Borisii’

Geum
Geum ‘Borisii’

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)

Hypericum calycinum
Hypericum calycinum

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)

Malva moschata
Malva moschata

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)

Papaver oriëntale
Papaver oriëntale

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’

Philadelphus
Philadelphus

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.

PHYSOCARPUS OPULIFOLIUS

Physocarpus opulifolius
Physocarpus opulifolius

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)

Pleioblastus variegatus
Pleioblastus variegatus

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’

Potentilla
Potentilla ‘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’

Rhus typhina
Rhus typhina

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’

Rosa 'Crazy for You'
Rosa ‘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’

 Rosa 'Rhapsody in Blue'
Rosa ‘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)

Santolina pinnata
Santolina pinnata

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’

Solidago
Solidago ‘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)

Veronica spicata
Veronica spicata

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.

CONCLUSIONS

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.


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10 thoughts on “Plants for Containers in City Gardens in Full Sun (Grow More Than Your First Thought)”

  1. I live in a city with lots of tall buildings and because of this I have always been afraid of growing a garden because I felt they might not receive enough sunlight. This post has definitely opened my eyes to the fact that been a city folk we have more options on plants to grow due to the temperature of our surroundings.

    I did not really look at it this way and even felt my options were limited. Now I know better. I think it is about time I start growing a garden in my backyard.

    1. Hi Jay

      You have got the nail on the head as more people should garden in the city. I wish you all the success for your container garden in the city. To help I am just writing an article of container gardening in the city in the shade, which should help more people.

      Thanks

      Antonio

  2. I love a colourful and Good looking garden. Before I heard about container garden, I used to plant on a small space at my in my compound just to watch few plant growth around my building. Shortly after I read reviews about container garden, I started practicing it.

    It was yielding positively at first until my plant started growing yellow leaves instead of green. It later migrated into stunted growth and left behind several tiny spots on the leaves. I was so devastated seeing that my vegetables is not giving me the outcome I wanted.

    I have to take a sample to the agricultural lab for research. What caused this awful result was as a result of pollution and other viruses. I have to take a break for some time before I get another plant species that can grow well inside my container garden.

    I think I have seen many options from this review. I will firstly try this blue rose and see the outcome it will bring.

    1. Hi Stella

      Thank you for those kind words and your experience about container gardening. All my plants hat I suggest should do well in growing conditions, if you look after the plants well.

      Thanks

      Antonio

  3. Growing plants in today’s concrete jungle is something I certainly wish that more people would do.  We all need a beautiful oasis to go to and what else would be a better way!

    Many plants also counter pollutants and filter them through their leaves, making our environment much cleaner.  If more people would take your advice, each one of us could do our part in today’s greenhouse warming crisis.  Good for the individual and good for the planet!

    I like your selection of plants as they are a good mix of those that are good for privacy and also for beauty.

    What would you do if the only place you have to grow is on a northern exposure or is excessively shaded due to a big building right next door?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Feochadan

      You are right, concrete jungles have become a feature in many people’s garden. It is difficult to get the plants right in these conditions. To answer your question, I am writing an article at the moment of container gardening in city gardens in the shade. This will cover everything you ask.

      Thanks

      Antonio

  4. Great article, and just the advice I was looking for. We recently got a second property in London due to work issues with my partner, but we thought we’d have to leave our green fingers back in Wales due to lack of garden space to grow in the city. 
    We have a (very) small garden area in the city and I was wondering what options you covered above would be best for the smallest of spaces?

    1. Hi Chris

      All the plants I have suggested are suitable for small city gardens, all you need to do is rein in your buying habits. A bigger garden you can use more specimens, smaller garden use less specimen. it is best not to overcrowd.

      Thank you for your kind words

      Antonio

  5. I am growing a few small plants in containers on the terrace of my new apartment in the middle of a city. They are doing pretty well until now but I want to plant some more (I love plants).

    Some of those plants you highlighted in your article seem like a good fit to my garden. Do you happen to know any place to buy some seeds?

    1. Hi Harry

      Thank for reading my article as city gardening is often neglected. The plants I suggest are often bought as a pot specimen, and often can be found in nurseries, garden centres and online gardening stores. You should be able to find it in that way.

      Thank you

      Antonio

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