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Potted Plants for Privacy

By Joyce Starr ; Updated September 21, 2017
Gardeners have many choices in privacy plants for containers.

Whether privacy is required for a porch, deck, pool or entryway, utilizing potted plants will do job done inexpensively and effectively. Gardeners have many choices in plants that tolerate container-growth and grow large enough to provide privacy. As with any container-grown plant, gardeners should select a container that is approximately two to three times larger than the plant’s root section. This gives adequate room for growth and cuts down on the need for frequent transplanting.

Clumping Bamboo

Clumping bamboo works well inside containers.

Clumping bamboos are suitable as container-grown plants, as they only spread approximately 2 to 3 inches each year and are manageable. This type bamboo is good for gardeners desiring potted privacy or screening plants in their landscapes. There are many cultivars of bamboo with some species tolerant to milder temperatures. Clumping bamboo varieties include Borinda species, Fargensia denudate and Bambusa oldhamii. Select a variety that is suitable for growing within your particular climate.

Plant the bamboo in containers that are approximately 18 inches to 2 feet wide and tall. Cooler regions experiencing annual frosts require lining the planters with Styrofoam that is 2 inches thick. Grow the bamboo in a well-draining potting mix and fertilize monthly with a 17-6-12 slow-release blend. During winter, cut the fertilizer to half strength. Water the bamboo regularly to keep the soil moist but not saturated.

Areca Palm

Areca palms make good privacy plants.

Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) also called yellow butterfly palm, is a multitrunked palm that is well suited for containerized growth. It has a bushy habit as it continues to develop new suckers as it matures. The palm is suitable for use as a container plant that creates privacy in the landscape. It can reach up to 20 feet tall planted into the ground but rarely reaches this height in containers. Areca palms are frost sensitive and require winter protection in areas where frosts and freezes are annual events.

Plants prefer growing in full to partial sun. Gardeners should use a well-draining potting mix and plant the palm no deeper than it was originally growing. Areca palms are quite drought tolerant but will grow best with regular applications of water. The palm requires an application of a slow-release palm fertilizer every other month.


Arboricola (Schefflera arboricola) also called dwarf schefflera, is an Australian native that grows well inside of containers. Its foliage becomes thick and dense with regular pruning making it suitable for use as a privacy or screening plant. Gardeners have a variety of choices in cultivars from plants with solid green leaves to variegated varieties with yellow and green or cream and green colored leaves. Plants produce orange berries in late summer and grow up to 10 feet tall at maturity.

These plants tolerate a wide variety of well-draining soils and are quite drought tolerant once established. Gardeners should water arboricola regularly for best growth. It tolerates growing in full to partial sun and is tolerant to salty conditions. Gardeners living in areas experiencing annual freezing temperature should protect container-grown arboricola plants during winter.


About the Author


For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.