By David Christopher
Thinking Outside the (window) Box with Perennial Planters!
Who says you have to plant your window boxes and planters with annuals? Many homeowners are pulling away from the traditional annuals and using dwarf shrubs and perennials in their planters that they only have to do once every several years. It’s an economical approach to planter gardening that’s catching on. Unlike the annuals that have to be tossed and replaced every year, perennials can be transplanted into your gardens as they outgrow their window boxes and planters.
Most perennials are short lived on the flowering cycle, but many of them have unusual and colorful foliage that will look great all season. And unlike annuals, they will survive to give you another season!
There are many possibilities and combinations to work with but here are just a few sun loving and shade loving suggestions:
Shown here: Primo, Amazing Daisies & Color Spires
For the Sunny Side:
Delosperma (ice plant)
Epimedium (barrenwort) – purple prince, spring wedding, spine tingle
Euphorbia (spurge) – ascot rainbow, blackbird
Gaura (wandflower) – whirling butterflies
Sedums- creeping varieties
Sempervivum (hens and chicks)
Thymus (thyme) – creeping thyme, wooly thyme
Stachys (lambs ear) – Helen von stein, pink cotton candy
For the Shady Side:
Ajuga ( bugleweed) – burgundy glow, pink lightening, black scallop
Aralia (spikenard) – sun king
Brunnera (siberian bugloss) – looking glass
Chrysogonum ( green and gold) – pierre, superstar
Heuchera (coral bells) – all varieties
Heucherella ( foamy bells) – all varieties
Lamium (spotted deadnettle) – pink pewter, white nancy
Ligularia (golden ray) – brit-marie crawford, osiris café noir
Pulmonaria (lungwort) – raspberry splash, silver bouquet
Tricyrtis (toad lily) – miyazaki, samurai, sinonome
Shown Here: Lemon Coral & Primo
Use some of the shorter ornamental grasses such as Juncus ‘spiralis’ or ‘blue arrows’ to give your sun loving planter some added texture. Miniature hostas and ferns can be planted in your shade planters for extra effect.
By combining a combination of tall perennials with low growing, trailing plants, you can create a planter or window box that becomes attractive, easy to maintain, extend into the winter season and give you several years of satisfaction.