Need a plant suggestion

Asked April 5, 2019, 10:45 AM EDT

Hello We just bought 2 ceramic pots, 18”, which we want to plant in front of our house on a very busy street in Baltimore facing north with east and west light. Can you recommend any bushes if an appropriate size that might work (be decorative, tough, and help clean air) I wondered about Nandina- or do you have other suggestions? Thanks Pat Alexander

Maryland shrubs plant selection normal growth shrubs for containers

1 Response

We would recommend evergreens. Many dwarf varieties would be appropriate, such as chamaecyparis. Your pots are fairly small, so stick with smaller dwarfs. A vertical growth habit might make a bigger impact, i.e. juniper or Japanese holly. See what your local nurseries have in stock, that's going to be limited.

The main limitation will be cold hardiness. When a pot is above ground, it gets as cold as air temperature, which is much colder than soil temperatures. A plant in a pot must be able to withstand colder temperatures than a soil-planted plant in the same location.
The rule of thumb for planting in pots: select a plant with cold hardiness to 2 cold hardiness zones colder than your zone. Baltimore is Zone 7 so be sure your selection is hardy to Zone 5.

You mention that the pot will get east and west light. Unless they get some direct sun, be sure to stick with a shade plant.

Yes, dwarf nandina will be ok, though it should not be a kind that produces berries, as it is an invasive plant in Maryland now, unfortunately.