A shrub in a container can give height and depth to your English garden, and add instant maturity. Evergreen shrubs create a nice background to colorful annuals and perennials that can be added to the base of the container. You can also add bulbs to the pots in early spring to add early color.
Shrubs that work well in containers
These shrubs are all easy to grow and prefer sunshine for at least half a day. Small specimens can be grown in window boxes.
Buxus sempervirens or Boxwood, is ideal if you want to try your hand at a little topiary. They look especially good as balls or pyramids flanking the front door.
Juniperus Junipers of all kinds, but especially the upright ones, will look good in pots.
Camellias are especially nice around entry doors as their fragrance will create a lovely scent for people to stop and enjoy upon arrival at your home.
Holly – there are many different colors and they can be easily clipped into shapes
Roses - deadhead throughout the summer for continuous flowers.
Caring for shrubs in containers
Make sure you use a pot big enough to allow growing room for the the root ball. If you want to add annuals or perennials around the base of the shrub, the pot should be about twice the size of the root ball of the shrub.
Shrubs in containers will have a bigger root system than annuals, so they will need heavier and more frequent watering, especially if they are on a porch where they will not get rain water. Water all containers until you start to see water coming out of the bottom of the pot.
Add a light layer of mulch to the top of the soil in the pot so that it doesn’t dry out as quickly.
Give the pots a quarter turn once a week so the shrub doesn’t become lopsided.
Once roots start to come out of the holes in the bottom of the pot, it’s a good idea to either plant it in the ground, or move it up to a larger container.
Depending on your hardiness zone, some shrubs may not survive the winter in containers. If your winter temperatures frequently dip below 20 degrees F then you should probably either take the shrubs inside for winter (a cold garage or basement will be perfect), or you can plant the shrubs in the ground before early November. They can be dug up again for use in the spring, or just buy new shrubs for your containers at that point.