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Growing Shrubs in Containers

Updated on September 20, 2011

shrubs in containers

Shrubs serve many purposes; they can provide food and shelter for birds, food for people, look great and act as a privacy hedge or a living fence. It is not necessary to have a large space to add a shrub or two to your landscape design; in fact, many shrubs can do quite well in containers and may be ideal for a deck or patio.

A shrub or two can be a focal point in a small space garden, just make sure to pick a plant that suits the space; in other words, one that does not get too tall or wide if space is limited.

The first decision that needs to be made is why do you want a shrub or shrubs. What purpose will it serve?

Now you can decide where will you place the container. This decision, once made, tells you the sun to shade ratio the spot has, (how many hours of sun) so you can select the right plant for that place.

Make a list of three or four possible shrubs that will thrive in that spot. Now it is time to choose the container. Yes, buy or other wise obtain the container before you buy the plant.

This is especially important if you are placing a shrub in a container in a small space such as a balcony or deck. The container will take up a certain amount of space on its own, so selecting it first helps you get a container that fits the space you have.

Once that decision is made you can purchase a shrub that will grow into the container. It is vital to consider the mature size of the shrub when buying. You do not want to have to repot the shrub so buy one that will reach a height and width that will not dominate the site where the container is place or outgrow its pot.

Know you climate zone, check the appropriate hardiness charts if you do not know which zone you are in. Climate zones help you select plants that will survive the climate where you live.

My current garden plans call for growing blueberries, strawberries, flowering crab apple and apple trees in containers. The crab apples are primarily to improve the physical appearance of part of the yard but they will also help screen us from the neighbours.

At least one pot of strawberries and two of the blueberries will be planted on the deck near the back door. The deck wraps around the side of the house and covers the back so there is ample room for the berries and herbs in containers.

Shrubs will do well in containers as long as you make the proper choices.

a personal favourite


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Happy it is useful, and great gardening.

  • jill of alltrades profile image

    jill of alltrades 8 years ago from Philippines

    Thanks for these tips Bob! I've got small garden space so I'm thinking of using containers. Your hub is very timely. Just what I need!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Look for a hub on gernaiums, hanging included soon. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for giving a lot of tips. I have a problem with my hanging geraniums. I live them but no matter what I never get them through the winter. They look great when I bring them in and then slowly die on me. Any good advice?