You can use evergreens in planters to complement neighboring plants or provide a relatively carefree container garden. Either way, it's fun to select a variety of evergreens from dwarf conifers to shrubs and vines, but make sure they're hardy for your growing zone. Before you choose, find out about suitability at a local nursery or agricultural extension program.
Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Dwarf spruces dress up your container garden with lovely shades of blue and green foliage. Many gardeners like the Dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca 'Conica') for its Christmas tree shape. It only grows a couple of inches per year and requires very little care. Select a spot for your spruce that gets partial sun. Plant it in well-draining soil, and keep it moist. Overwatering will cause its needles to turn yellow. Apply an all-purpose fertilizer in spring. Dwarf spruces grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 7.
Mexican Orange Blossom
For a hardy, compact shrub, use Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata). Its green leaves are handsome and glossy, and its white flowers add a cheerful note to your container garden. It mixes well with many foliage plants, complementing gray or bluish leaves. Mexican orange blossom requires little care other than an annual pruning. It likes full or partial sun and slightly moist soil that drains well. Mexican orange blossom is hardy to USDA Zone 7.
Use vines such as English ivy (Hedera helix) to trail from a planter or climb up a support in a container. Depending on the cultivar, this plant is hardy in USDA Zones 4 to 8. Some gardeners like their ivy with solid green foliage, and others prefer variegated leaves containing some white or yellow. English ivy thrives in well-draining soil. If it's too soggy, watch out for fungus or root rot. Plant in an area with partial sun, and fertilize two or three times a year.