Green Mountain Boxwood, Arborvitae, Holly, and Witch Hazel
Container gardening is a versatile and rewarding way to enhance outdoor space and enjoy year-round beauty. While many gardeners associate planting directly in the ground with long-lasting beauty, containers offer unique opportunities to create stunning displays that thrive throughout the seasons. In this article, we will explore the art of container planting, focusing on four outstanding plants: Green Mountain Boxwood, Arborvitae, Holly, and Witch Hazel. These selections will provide texture, color, and interest year-round, transforming your garden into an enchanting oasis.
Green Mountain Boxwood (Buxus 'Green Mountain')
Green Mountain Boxwood, known botanically as Buxus 'Green Mountain,' is a versatile evergreen shrub renowned for its striking, deep green foliage and suitability for container planting. Its compact, conical shape makes it an excellent choice for adding structure and formality to your container garden. Here's how you can make the most of Green Mountain Boxwood in your year-round container planting:
a. Choosing the Right Container: To ensure the long-term health of your Green Mountain Boxwood, opt for a large, well-draining container made of materials like terracotta, concrete, or fiberglass. This will provide adequate room for root growth while preventing waterlogged soil.
b. Soil and Drainage: Use a high-quality potting mix with excellent drainage properties. Incorporate organic matter to enhance soil fertility. Ensuring proper drainage in container gardening is crucial to prevent root rot, a common issue.
c. Watering and Maintenance: Boxwoods prefer consistently moist but not waterlogged soil. Water deeply and regularly to moisten the soil, especially during hot and dry periods. Mulching the surface of the soil can be a helpful way to retain moisture and prevent weed growth.
d. Pruning and Shaping: Green Mountain Boxwood should be pruned in early spring to maintain its desired shape and size. This will encourage dense growth and a tidy appearance. Heavy pruning should be avoided during the growing season to prevent plant stress.
e. Year-Round Beauty: Green Mountain Boxwood's dense evergreen foliage provides year-round visual appeal. Its dark green leaves create a lush backdrop for other plants in your container arrangement, and it adds structure and formality to your garden, whether used as a centerpiece or a border.
Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
Arborvitae, often called the "tree of life," is a versatile evergreen tree that can also thrive in containers, making it a valuable addition to your year-round container planting. Its feathery foliage and pyramidal shape offer a unique aesthetic, and it can serve various roles in your container garden:
a. Container Selection: Like Green Mountain Boxwood, arborvitae requires a spacious container with excellent drainage. When selecting an arborvitae variety, please choose a suitable container for its height and width.
b. Soil and Drainage: Use a well-draining potting mix enriched with organic matter. Arborvitae can be sensitive to waterlogged soil, so proper drainage is crucial.
c. Watering and Care: Water it regularly to keep your arborvitae healthy. However, be careful to do it sparingly; the soil should be moist but not waterlogged. These trees are relatively low-maintenance but may require additional watering during dry spells.
d. Pruning and Maintenance: It is recommended to prune your container-grown arborvitae once a year during late winter or early spring to maintain its size and shape. Arborvitae can grow quite tall, so container gardening allows you to control their height and spread.
e. Year-Round Appeal: Arborvitae's dense, dark green foliage provides year-round beauty, and its unique, pyramidal shape adds a touch of elegance to your container arrangement. Placed as a focal point or grouped with other container plants, it can create a striking visual impact.
Holly (Ilex spp.)
Holly is an evergreen shrub with glossy, spiky leaves and bright red berries. These attributes make holly an excellent choice for adding color and interest to your year-round container garden. Here's how to make the most of holly in your containers:
a. Container Choices: Holly adapts well to container gardening, but choosing a container that accommodates its root system comfortably is essential. Make sure the pot provides good drainage.
b. Soil and Watering: Use a well-draining, slightly acidic potting mix for holly. To keep your plants healthy, it's essential to maintain the moisture level of the soil. Make sure the soil is consistently moist but not overly saturated. Avoid making the soil too wet or dry, as it can negatively impact plant growth. Holly prefers slightly acidic soil conditions, so consider using an appropriate fertilizer to maintain its health.
c. Pruning and Berry Production: Prune holly in late winter/early spring to maintain shape & encourage berries. Holly bushes are dioecious, meaning they produce berries on female plants. Consider planting male and female holly shrubs or using a self-pollinating variety to ensure berry formation.
d. Year-Round Beauty: Holly's vibrant green foliage and iconic red berries provide year-round visual appeal, making it an ideal choice for winter containers. Its spiky leaves also offer textural contrast in your arrangement, enhancing its overall aesthetic.
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis spp.)
Witch Hazel is a captivating deciduous shrub known for its unique winter bloom. Its fragrant, spidery flowers can add color and fragrance to your container garden during the colder months. Here's how to incorporate witch hazel into your year-round container planting:
a. Container Selection: Witch hazel adapts well to containers, but choosing a sufficiently large pot with proper drainage is essential. This allows the shrub's roots to establish and grow comfortably.
b. Soil and Watering: Use a well-draining, loamy potting mix for witch hazel. Keep the soil consistently moist. Avoid overwatering it to the point of waterlogging. Adding a layer of mulch to witch hazel plants can be quite beneficial as it helps retain moisture and provides insulation to the roots during colder spells.
c. Pruning and Shaping: To maintain the shape and encourage bushier growth and more blooming, prune witch hazel in late winter or early spring, removing dead or damaged branches.
d. Year-Round Beauty: While witch hazel's primary attraction is its winter flowers, its attractive foliage and unique branching structure add interest to your container arrangement throughout the year. When in bloom, its fragrant flowers are a delightful addition to your garden, and their vibrant colors warm the winter landscape.
Container planting for year-round beauty offers endless possibilities to create captivating outdoor displays that evolve with the seasons. Green Mountain Boxwood, Arborvitae, Holly, and Witch Hazel are excellent choices to ensure your container garden remains visually appealing throughout the year. With a thoughtful selection of containers, soil, and maintenance, you can cultivate a stunning garden that delights and brings peace to your outdoor haven throughout the year. Choose your favorite container plants and create a year-round garden masterpiece.