Container gardening is a great way to have portable displays of foliage and flowers. Not all container plants are flowers and ferns; there are trees and shrubs that are also adaptable to potting. Shrubs that do well in containers are adaptable to having their roots contained.
The copperleaf or Joseph’s coat, Acalypha wilkesiana, is an evergreen shrub from the spurge family. It gets 10 feet high and 10 feet wide. The leaves are 5 to 8 inches long and have many colors. The flowers are individually tiny and hang in racemes that are 4 to 8 inches long, and the colors are determined by the cultivar. Plant a copperleaf in partial shade or sun, in rich, moist, fast-draining soil. Propagate via cuttings in USDA hardiness zones of 10 through 11.
The banana shrub, Michelia figo, is an evergreen fragrant shrub from the magnolia family. The flowers are 1-1/2 inches wide, off-white in color and smell like bananas. The leaves are glossy and green, 3 to 5 inches long. Plant a banana shrub in well-drained, acidic soil in sun to shade, and propagate via cuttings in USDA hardiness zones of 7 through 10.
Dwarf Alberta Spruce
The dwarf Alberta spruce or dwarf white spruce, Picea glauca var. albertiana, is an evergreen shrub from the pine family. It gets 3 feet high on average, but can get to 10 feet high. The needles are evergreen, bright green and 1/2 inch long. Plant a dwarf Alberta spruce in full sun and water regularly; propagate via cuttings in USDA hardiness zones of 2 through 8.
The yeddo hawthorne or Indian hawthorne, Rhaphiolepis umbellata, is a fragrant, evergreen shrub from the rose family that is easy to grow and drought tolerant. It gets 4 to 6 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide. The leathery leaves are dark green, and the flowers are 1/2 inch wide and white to pink. Plant a yeddo hawthorne in sun to partial sun, and propagate via seed or cuttings in USDA hardiness zones of 8 through 11.
The tea olive or sweet olive, Osmanthus fragrans, is a fragrant, evergreen shrub from the olive family. It gets 20 feet high and 6 to 8 feet wide. The leaves are shiny and green with white flowers throughout the year. Plant a tea olive in good soil, in sun to partial shade--it will tolerant poor soils too. Propagate via cuttings in USDA hardiness zones of 8 through 10.