Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:36 am
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Shrub in a Container

Last fall I bought a Philly row home (my first house), and so this spring I am just beginning to figure out what to do as far as gardening/landscaping. I'll tackle the yard areas soon, but right now I'm trying to figure out what to put in a planter on my front porch.

Here's a photo of my porch to give you an idea what it's like:

I have a charcoal grey planter (about 18" diameter at the top) that I will be using right next to the door under the mailbox. As you can see in the photo, the brick is painted a slightly brighter red than natural brick. The front door is white currently, but I will soon be painting it navy.

I'm looking for a compact/dwarf shrub with the following properties:
  • Will grow well in a container
  • Not more than 1-2 ft. tall or that is OK with regular pruning
  • Colors will contrast/complement well the red wall & navy door
  • Able to handle low partial shade of the porch
  • Either an evergreen or is attractive in winter
  • Able to handle Philly winters without being brought inside
I'm currently considering:

<b>Arctic Sun dogwood</b>

<b>Compact Japanese Holly</b>

<b>Golden Peep Forsynthia</b>

Does anybody have any feedback on these or suggestions for alternatives? Any must-do tips for a newbie container gardener? Thanks!

User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

That's a whole lot of requirements! 1-2 feet tall is a very small shrub, your porch with house behind and tree in front looks very shady, plus all the rest.

The forsythia is not evergreen, doesn't look like much in winter, and probably will not survive how shady the area is.

The other two seem like reasonable choices. Other options would be dwarf azaleas, dwarf kalmia (mountain laurel), mahonia (oregon holly grape).
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Mon May 07, 2012 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Susan W
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1858
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:46 pm
Location: Memphis, TN

I suggest shopping the local garden centers and get ideas for your area. When I worked a garden center here, sold many shrubs for containers. Boxwoods are popular. There's also nandina and alberta spruce. Even a humdrum boxwood planter can be changed up with annuals planted around the edge.
Have fun!

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