container gardens
Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Accent and Screening

   Rosemary. Mediterranean shrub with narrow, aromatic leaves that are dark green above and gray-white below. Thrives in sun and slightly dry soil; becomes leggy in shade in rich soil. Plants develop a natural asymmetrical habit, but may be clipped. The variety, Heavenly Blue, has semitrailing branches and small flowers, deeper blue than the species.

   Ruscus. Called also butcher's broom, a low-growing evergreen that is a common pot plant in patios of Mediterranean countries. Stiff habit and leathery, prickly, pointed leaves. Rugged plants withstand hot sun, shade, poor soil, and drought.


   Vines and climbers perform significant roles in container gardens. They cover walls, fences, and other vertical spaces. Attractive in flower and foliage, they also form interesting patterns, cover unsightly areas, cut off undesirable views, provide screening for privacy, and create shade for plants.

   There are hardy and tender vines, depending on where you live. Stephanotis, clerodendron, wax plant, allamanda, poet's jasmine, and bougainvillea are tender in the North.

   Hardy vines include English ivy, Virginia creeper, Boston ivy, climbing euonymous and Dutchman's pipe, which are grown for their foliage. For quick one-season effects, there are annual climbers-morning-glories, moon vines, cardinal climber, scarlet runner beans, climbing nasturtiums, cobaeas, and sweet peas.

   Wisteria. A most spectacular hardy vine, with long, pendulous clusters in spring in purple, lavender, pink, and white. The Chinese wisteria, which flowers without leaves, is less hardy than the Japanese, which blooms with foliage. Vigorous plants require large containers and constant pruning to encourage bloom and also keep them in hand. Tree wisteria is most decorative when grown in a tub.

   Hybrid Clematis. Handsome hardy vines, with large, starlike blooms, in lavender, purple, red, pink, or white in late spring and through the summer. Nurserymen offer hybrids in pots, easy to transfer to larger containers. Provide a well-drained soil with lime added.

   Star or Confederate Jasmine. A pot plant in the North, though hardy in the South, with small, star-shaped, pin-wheeled, fragrant flowers that smother the glossy evergreen leaves. Give a large pot or tub and place where the scented flowers can be enjoyed close at hand. Thrives in sun or shade.

   Stephanotis. Glossy-leaved, with scented, white, waxy flowers. Not hardy in the North, keep in a cool place in winter and water sparingly.

   Allamanda. A tropical vine, with shiny leaves and large, tubular, yellow flowers produced freely all year around. In the North, tender plants require a greenhouse. Vines like sun and rich soil, but are not otherwise difficult.

   Bougainvillea. Also called Chinese paper flower, with vibrant, fiery flowers in magenta, purple, rose, pink, red, and white. Not particular as to soil, but needs sun and plenty of water when growing. Rest in cool place in winter by keeping on dry side.