Seasonal Updates to Make for a Showstopping Garden Container


Spring Container Design

Colorful bulbs sing out the season

Japanese umbrella pine’s glossy, whorled leaves complement the variegated gray-green and white of ‘Silver Swan’ euphorbia and Feather Falls™ sedge. The curling foliage of the sedge hugs the top of the container and echoes the bold horizontal lines running across the pot, which is softened by a mounding rock cress. Sapphire blue flowers of ‘Grace Ward’ lithodora add a pop of spring color, and they contrast with ‘Fireball’ geum and the airy blooms of Forever® Red heuchera. To signal that spring is here, a daffodil and tulip stand tall in the center of the display.

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Centerpiece woody:

1.Japanese umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata, Zones 5–9)

2. ‘Silver Swan’ euphorbia (Euphorbia characias ‘Silver Swan’ syn. ‘Wilcott’, Zones 8–10)

3. Feather Falls™ sedge (Carex oshimensis ‘ET CRX01’, Zones 5–9)

4. Forever® Red heuchera (Heuchera ‘TNHEUFR’, Zones 4–9)

5. ‘Sunny Side Up’ daffodil (Narcissus ‘Sunny Side Up’, Zones 3–8)

6. ‘Striped Crown’ tulip (Tulipa ‘Striped Crown’, Zones 3–8)

7. ‘Fireball’ geum (Geum ‘Fireball’, Zones 5–9)

8.‘Grace Ward’ lithodora (Lithodora diffusa ‘Grace Ward’, Zones 6–8)

9. Variegated rock cress (Arabis alpina subsp. caucasica ‘Variegata’, Zones 3–8)


Summer Container Update

With warm weather comes bold primary colors

A little editing is all this container needs to swing into summer with fresh blooms. By now, Feather Falls™ sedge is cascading over the side of the container, complemented by a long silver dichondra. Vibrantly colored flowers from annuals such as Angelface® Super Blue summer snapdragon and Sunbini® creeping zinnia contrast with the bold foliage of Magilla® purple perilla.

– Removed: These plants have most of their interest in spring and were removed to make way for summer stars.

  • ‘Sunny Side Up’ daffodil,
  • ‘Striped Crown’ tulip,
  • ‘Fireball’ geum,
  • ‘Grace Ward’ lithodora,
  • and variegated rock cress
✓ Kept: Now that they are starting to fill out, these plants look even better.

  1. Japanese umbrella pine,
  2. ‘Silver Swan’ euphorbia,
  3. Feather Falls™ sedge,
  4. and Forever® Red heuchera


summer container with bold primary colors
Updates make the container’s design summer savvy.

+ Added:

5. Angelface® Super Blue summer snapdragon (Angelonia angustifolia ‘ANSUBLU021’, Zones 10–11)

6. Magilla® purple perilla** (Perilla frutescens* ‘Balmagpurp’, annual)

7. Sunbini® creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens ‘DSANTLAG’, annual)

8. ‘Silver Falls’ dichondra (Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’, Zones 10–11)


Cool purples make an understated but elegant display

By gently removing most of the annuals and adding several perennials that are peaking with flowers or sporting true fall color, this container extends into cool weather. The tall, burgundy fall foliage of ‘Storm Cloud’ bluestar hides gaps in the base of the Japanese umbrella pine. Its colors blend with the pink single-cupped flowers of ‘September Charm’ Japanese anemone. The elegant, orchid-like lavender blooms and dainty foliage of ‘Tojen’ toad lily cascade over a deeply colored Forever® Purple heuchera.


– Removed: Annuals like these have faded significantly by the time fall arrives, and the heuchera got crowded out.

  • Angelface® Super Blue summer snapdragon
  • Magilla® purple perilla
  • Sunbini® creeping zinnia
  • ‘Silver Falls’ dichondra
  • and Forever® Red heuchera
✓ Kept: These foliage superstars maintain their appearance with the changing seasons.

  1. Japanese umbrella pine
  2. ‘Silver Swan’ euphorbia
  3. Feather Falls™ sedge



fall container with cool purple plants
Fall plants are right at home in this container design’s solid structure.

+ Added:

4. ‘Storm Cloud’ bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana ‘Storm Cloud’, Zones 4–9)

5. ‘September Charm’ Japanese anemone (Anemone × hybrida ‘September Charm’, Zones 4–8)

6. ‘Tojen’ toad lily (Tricyrtis ‘Tojen’, Zones 5–9)

7. Forever® Purple heuchera (Heuchera ‘TNHEUFP’, Zones 4–9)


White and green are all the sparkle you need

This design captures the feeling of a snow-covered woodland walk. The white and green of ‘Silver Swan’ euphorbia and Feather Falls® sedge are echoed by new introductions. Bright paper birch logs and white snow­berries were added along with pine cones for strong vertical elements, and the blue-green cascading branches of eastern white pine and blue spruce soften the container’s edge.

– Removed: These perennials will just get wet and mushy over winter.

  • ‘Storm Cloud’ bluestar
  • ‘September Charm’ Japanese anemone
  • ‘Tojen’ toad lily
  • and Forever® Purple heuchera
✓ Kept: While the euphorbia and sedge will die back for the season, their faded foliage will remain strong structural elements until spring.

  1. Japanese umbrella pine,
  2. ‘Silver Swan’ euphorbia,
  3. Feather Falls™ sedge


winter container with white and green plants
Fanciful branch and pine cone additions turn the container into a winter wonder.

+ Added:

4. Paper birch logs (Betula papyrifera, Zones 2–7)

5. Snowberry branches (Symphoricarpos albus, Zones 3–7)

6. Blue spruce branches (Picea pungens, Zones 2–8)

7. Boxwood branches (Buxus sempervirens, Zones 5–8)

8. Eastern white pine branches (Pinus strobus, Zones 3–8)

9. Pine cones


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*Invasive Alert:

Purple perilla (Perilla frutescens)

This plant is considered invasive in TN, VA, and WV.

Please visit for more information.

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