How to Create a Container Garden Using Perennials


Annuals are the rock stars of the gardening world: short lived plants that put on a showy display of color. And while famous annuals like impatients or petunias get a lot of attention, a container garden of perennials can be just as satisfying on your deck or patio. Since a perennial container garden will be around for many seasons to come, more care and thought must be given to every aspect of the garden, including long-term plant care, soil selection and container selection.

Step 1

Sketch a plan for your container garden. The same design elements that apply to a garden in the ground also apply to a container garden.

Step 2

Note any problem areas in your container garden sketch, such as overly shady or sunny areas, or places which receive roof runoff or are subject to standing water.

Step 3

Select perennial plants that are hardy to your area. Plants that are not hardy to your area should be treated as annuals.

Step 4

Select containers that can withstand freezing temperatures, such as concrete planters. This will prevent you from moving containers indoors to protect them from winter temperature extremes.

Step 5

Select annuals to fill in large containers until your perennials have grown to the point that their root system can manage a larger container. This prevents root rot in larger containers with smaller annuals, and also prevents you from having to replant your smaller perennial in a larger container as it grows.

Step 6

Choose a sterilized potting soil with water-retaining elements such as vermiculite mixed in.

Step 7

Include a moisture-based fertilizer when you water your plants. Perennials will use up any fertilizer in the soil after the first year, and will need fertilizer additives such as this to help them remain healthy. Many moisture-based fertilizers can be attached to your watering hose and will mix with the water as you water your plants.

Step 8

Consider installing a drip-irrigation system to water your plants on a more regular schedule. An easy drip irrigation system involves running a soaker hose along the tops of each container, and attaching the end to a timer placed at the water faucet.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Containers
  • Perennial plants
  • Sterilized potting soil mix
  • Garden trowel
  • Fertilizer
  • Soaker hose
  • Faucet timer


  • Flower Guide For Perennials
  • Making a Splash with Container Gardens
  • Container Gardening

Who Can Help

  • Perennial Gardening and Design
Keywords: container garden, garden design, perennial garden

About this Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.