Tall perennials in planters

(Question)

The fence around one side of my pool is about 10feet tall and I’d like to find something I could put into a planter that might cover most of that height ( the pool is surrounded by concrete pads.) Any choices would have to tolerate full sun and I would prefer to try something that is perennial. Suggestions re planting pockets and insulated planters would be appreciated. I was thinking about Boston ivy but am open to other suggestions as well.
Thanks
Dan

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners with your enquiry regarding suggestions of appropriate plants to cover your pool fence as well as information about planting in ground and in year-round containers.

Your thought about Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is a good one: it could easily reach the required height, provide attractive foliage and rich colouration in the autumn. A similar vine, Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) possesses the same attributes. Both are vigorous growers, but pruning regularly will keep them in check.

Other perennials you might consider for the space include Arctic Kiwi Fruit Vine (Actinidia kolomikta) which lives up to its name, as it is hardy to -40 F.

Virgin’s Bower clematis (Clematis virginiana), produces large clusters of fragrant, white flowers and grows quickly to a height of 20 feet (6 m), hardy to zone 5. The fragrant flowers may, however, encourage visits from bees and other pollinating insects.

An excellent resource on insulated containers is found in our Toronto Master Gardener Archive: http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/insulated-outdoor-container/

The planting pockets you mention I presume to be areas within the concrete pads of the pool surround. The key to success here is to give plants enough loose, nutrient-rich soil between the stones, preferably at least 6 inches (14 cm) deep for roots to grow and are regularly watered. In all cases, it will be necessary to water the plants well at planting and to ensure that they do not dry out during the summer heat and wind. They should also be watered well until freeze-up in the late autumn, and check the containers in late March or early April and water if the soil feels dry to the touch and is pale in colour. Keep an eye out for insects and disease so you can control them.

We wish you well with your planting project.