Container Privacy Shrubs/Vines/Evergreens

(Question)

I’m located in Toronto. I am allowed to take over a boulevard (south facing) and wish to build a ‘green privacy wall’. I can use containers (no digging in the ground) What would be a suitable plant/shrub/tree for this purpose? What will survive Toronto winters. The containers have not been purchased yet, and I look forward to any suggestions you will have.

(Answer)

Hello:  You are undertaking an exciting project.  Here are some points to consider:

  • the desired height of the shrubs and trees- perhaps a staggered look is what you want- or more of a hedge?
  • the need for evergreens and other winter privacy shrubs
  • the ability to add a trellis or obelisk
  • watering the pots
  • blocking an annoying view
  • not causing any safety concerns for pedestrians, bike riders or cars.

Pots should be fibreglass, and aesthetically, the large pots should be all of the same shape and colour.  For trees, these pots should be at least 2 feet square and 3 feet deep.  Amur maple or Japanese Maple var. Bloodgood are hardy deciduous trees. Such evergreens as emerald cedars or Alberta spruce may have trouble wintering over.  Insulate all containers with 2″ deep styrofoam sides and bottom and burlap evergreens over winter (but they may still burn on the windy side or die).  Buy or build a wood obelisk or small  climbing frame of the desired height to include in the collection.   Train a pot of euonymus fortunei up it.  it may be pruned to resemble a fir tree shape or a green wall.  The euonymus pot must be at least 12″ deep and 8″ wide and insulated. Four to five strands of euonymus should be ok for this size pot.  Shrubs that winter over in pots include Sand cherry Prunus x cistenaor, lilac syringa Meyeri ‘Palibin”.   Some nurseries have 4ft by 4ft ‘walls’ of English Ivy  Hedera helix trained up steel frames and potted in plastic window-box shaped containers.   As this will be  an expensive project, it may be wise to hire a horticulturist or a landscape designer to help you determine the pots and plants that have the best chance of achieving your goals of privacy and beauty. Landscapeontario.com/find-a-company web page contains names of such individuals and companies.  All the best.

Terrace Container Gardening

http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/growing-emerald-cedar-in-container/

http://www.sheridannurseries.com/garden_tips/container_gardening/hardy_plants_in_year_round_containers