I’m wanting to plant some large pots with perennials. They have 6 plus hours of sunshine a day, being on the western side of the house. I am envisioning a variety of colour with more than one perennial per pot, with the plants being of different heights, and preferably with long blooming seasons, or alternatively, different blooming seasons. What would you suggest?
There are many perennial options for planters which can add variety over the growing season.
Consider the low, mid and high levels of the planter growth space. Trailing vines such as English Ivy, planted near the edge of the planter can cascade down the side of the planter to make use of that space. Then for mid-level, you could use a variety of smaller hostas and/or daylilies such as Stella D’Oro or potentilla which has yellow blooms most of the summer. In the centre you could put a tall growing perennial such as a grass, foxglove or delphinium. There are many other options of course and your local garden centre staff would be able to help with some choices. Remember that a variety of foliage, textures and/or variegation can offer as much and longer lasting interest than mere flowers. Dwarf evergreens can offer colourful foliage the year round.
For planter care, consider how much water the plants will need. Choose drought-tolerant plants if you plan to be away for any length of time so your plants don’t die from thirst. You may also think of using a drip irrigation method to keep plants watered. Consider also how much root space is required for each plant. Perennials get larger each season and may need to be divided annually in order to maintain adequate root space and foliage growth for survival in a container or they may need to be transplanted to a larger container. Finally, remember to insulate your planters against winter desiccation. Extremely cold and dry winters can freeze roots to a point where they do not survive. Depending on the material used to make the container, water that collects and freezes in containers can cause the container walls to crack. Here is a link that covers the topic of winterizing container perennials: