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4 Low-Maintenance Plants That Thrive in Pots

FAB 4

Container gardens provide mini-landscapes for patios large and small. These plants, recommended by Melinda Walton of Berridge Nurseries (berridgenursery.com), flourish in pots with minimal maintenance.

Felt Bush

(Kalanchoe beharensis)
• Succulent • Yellow blooms; summer • 12″-3’H by 1′-2’W • Well-drained, sandy soil •Zones 10-12 • Full to partial sun • Low water • Low-maintenance • Attracts bees

The crinkled fleshy leaves of this bushy succulent are covered in fine hairs, making them soft to the touch. Tiny clusters of yellowish-green flowers are relatively uncommon, so the plant is mainly prized for its foliage. This plant is easily propagated via cuttings.

Why we like it: “This variety offers interesting leaf structure and texture not often seen in the garden,” Walton tells us. “With its upright, treelike growth habit, the felt bush is well-suited for larger containers. They are heat tolerant and thrive with afternoon shade.”

Rose Tree

(Rosa ‘Celestial Night’)

• Perennial • Purple blooms; spring to fall • 3′-4’H x 2′-3’W • Moist, well-drained soil • Zone 4-10 • Full to partial sun • Medium water; • Low-maintenance • Attracts bees, butterflies

Largely disease-resistant, the bright reddish-purple blooms of these double-ruffled floribunda roses are hard to miss. They can be pruned into a treelike shape and the flowers make excellent cuttings for indoor arrangements. For contrast, try ‘Julia Child’ (buttery yellow flowers) and ‘Doris Day’ (golden yellow).

Why we like it: “The ’Celestial Night’ offers your garden some of the showiest of blooms, and in the upright tree form, provides for companion planting at the base for a cascade of color to highlight patio corners or entryways,” Walton says.

Partridge Breast Aloe

(Aloe variegata)

• Succulent • Pink blooms; winter • 10″-12″H by 9″W • Well-drained, sandy soil • Zone 9-11 • Partial sun • Low water • Low-maintenance • Attracts hummingbirds

The partridge breast aloe’s distinctive green and white striped leaves edged with tiny blunt white teeth set it apart from other species, and even provides its alternative common name of tiger aloe. Its scientific name has recently been reclassified as Gonialoe variegata.

Why we like it: “This is a compact aloe with striking variegated leaves. Long-lasting coral pink blossoms are produced late winter through spring and attract hummingbirds,” Walton says. “Bright filtered light, well-draining soil and infrequent watering are keys to success for this plant.”

Butterfly Agave

(Agave potatorum ‘Kissho Kan’)

• Succulent • Yellow blooms; once • 1′-2’H by 1′-2’W • Well-drained, sandy soil • Zone 9-12 • Partial sun • Low water • Low-maintenance • Attracts birds, hummingbirds

The A. potatorum originated in Oaxaca, Mexico, while the ‘Kissho Kan’ variegated cultivar hails from Japan. The name translates to “lucky crown” and this dwarf variety is often listed under several misspellings. As with most other agaves, this plant blooms once at full maturity before dying.

Why we like it: A slow-growing, solitary agave with dramatic color, ‘Kissho Kan’ displays blue-gray leaves with creamy-yellow margins and red spines. “It’s cold-hardy and will do best in very bright shade. It is well suited for a small container, as its mature size is no more than 18 inches,” Walton says.

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