Container Plants That Come Back Every Year

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Certain plants are so easy to grow that they are more aptly described as ‘hard to kill.’ Hard to kill plants are extremely drought tolerant and form new roots from the tiniest bit of living root or stem. These hardy selections tend to spread quickly, so growing them in a pot outdoors is a great way to enjoy them without allowing the plant to become invasive in your landscape.
If you’re looking for a few container plants that you can put on your deck and forget about, consider the following:

Close up photo of Chameleon plant and English ivy

Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata) is a tricolor groundcover with pink, red and cream variegation. It’s a perfect complement to English Ivy (Hedera helix), especially the dwarf variegated varieties. Both plants tolerate sun or shade and create a colorful combination of leaves in one pot.
Close up photos of comfrey plant and ostrich fernComfrey (Symphytum officanale) grows from bombproof rhizomes to form lush leaves up to 2 feet (.6 m) long and displays dainty blue flowers. It grows well in shade and has a soft woodsy look, like Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris), one of the few ferns that qualifies for the hard-to-kill category.
Close up photos of prickly pear cactus and Delosperma, ice plant
Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.) is a cactus that’s easily propagated by setting a piece of it in the soil. It’s known for the fiesta of brightly colored flowers that appear in summer and goes well with Ice Plant (Delosperma spp.), a smaller, but equally tough succulent that forms a thick groundcover and sports daisy-like flowers.

Tips for Overwintering Plants in Pots

The roots of perennial plants grown in containers are more vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Move your planters to a sheltered position for the winter months to ensure the plants survive until spring. Place the pots in a garage, shed, or along a wall that blocks winds from the north or west. In the spring all that will be needed is some tidying-up to trim off dead leaves or stems.
The soil in your planters can become compacted and depleted of nutrients over time. It’s a good idea to remove the plants from the pot every three years to replace the soil. Doing this in the spring will get them off to a good start. This is also the perfect time to divide plants if they seem overcrowded. Use the plant divisions to create new planter combinations or share with plant-loving friends and family!


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