Perennials for containers work well because you can often keep them outdoors until the weather gets too cold, and then transfer their containers inside, where the plants will continue to thrive. Certain perennials work better in a container setting than others--some varieties require little maintenance while others need special care.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) trace their ancestry back to Asia and Europe. They resemble the top portion of the onion plant. This perennial features leaves with a sharp flavor that, according to the Floridata website, is stronger than onions but not as overpowering as garlic. Chives make an excellent container perennial; you can grow them in your kitchen to keep them handy when you need some for cooking. Chives feature hollow leaves as tall as 15 inches and purple flowers that are also edible. Chives require full sun, so consider this when picking a spot for their container. Water chives regularly, and avoid cutting all the leaves off at once. Leaving a few leaves helps the plant keep growing. Chives will grow from seeds, but you may also divide clumps of chives to start new plants. By dividing the clumps regularly, you will ensure the plant does not become weak from being crowded in its pot.
Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium ) is native to the eastern parts of North America, and is a perennial that makes an outstanding container species. The plant grows in a 1 to 2 foot-wide clump and achieves heights of up to 2 feet. The leaves resemble those of grass, and in warmer weather, remain evergreen. The flowers feature six yellow-centered purple petals and are only three-fourths of an inch wide. They do not last long, but new ones continue to develop during spring and into summer. Blue-eyed grass is versatile and will grow in containers indoors or out. The plant will flourish in full sun or in partial shade, and requires watering only when it is in its developing stage. The leaves will droop over the sides of your containers, making blue-eyed grass an eye-catcher even when the flowers are not blooming.
Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus) is a perennial shrub that works as a container plant because it only grows to 3 or 4 feet tall and no more than 3 feet in width. Persian shield is evergreen and features soft stems as well as 4 to 7 inch-long variegated leaves that have a purple metallic sheen. The flowers are not conspicuous, with the leaves the most noticeable aspect of the plant. This plant will survive indoors, but only under very humid conditions, since it is tropical in nature. This means that you will have to mist Persian shield many times each week and keep it watered so that the soil in the pot never gets dry. The temperature should stay above 60 degrees F indoors for this small shrub. In warm climates, you can more easily maintain Persian shield outdoors, but when outside the plant will need some shade.