Perennials in containers

Asked March 2, 2020, 12:51 PM EST

I have been considering landscaping my yard with perennials in containers. I live in the Brainerd Lakes area. I wonder if you have articles about what perennials would be successful in containers, how to plant and care for them, and how to winter them. I have both sunny and shady spots in my yard. Thank you.

Crow Wing County Minnesota container gardening overwintering

1 Response

Thank you for writing.
Brainerd is a 3b-4a growing zone but this can be misleading for container perennials because the roots get colder than if they were in ground. Water transport can be impaired and plants are more susceptible to drying out with cold winter winds.

The major risk you have for each of these is that (1) the soil dries out around the roots over the winter and (2) the air is much colder above ground than under, and winds will dry out the container and freeze the roots.
Water well throughout the fall until the plants go dormant. Add mulch on top of the soil at the top of the pot(s) will help. Then packing the containers in cardboard boxes surrounded by dense compost will help protect the pots, partially burying the containers, moving them to a garage, or somewhat heated boathouse will help protect the roots from freezing. Some people handle the containers like roses, encircling them with lightweight fencing filled with leaves or straw.

In the spring cut off dieback.

Here are some references on other aspects of container gardening for you.