Q: Can you recommend perennials that I can plant in the planter boxes on my deck. They get full, blazing sun. I put that low-growing yellow lantana in there last year, but none of it came back this year…. I just don’t have the energy to plant these things ever bloomin’ year!
A: Hmmm…..perennials for planters….and I bet you want them to bloom all summer too?
Problem is, by their very genetic nature, most perennials don’t bloom for a long time. They bloom for a couple of weeks, set seed and go about storing energy in their stems and roots for next year. Annuals, by their nature, do bloom all summer.
Lantana IS a perennial in Florida but it freezes in our winter.
Here’s what I’d do: plant a couple of dwarf boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘Kingsville Dwarf’ is a good one) in a line in the center of the box and then plant a few dwarf variegated ivy along the edge.
Given that the planter box is wide enough (more than 12 inches, and at least 12 inches deep) you’ll have enough room between the ivy and the boxwood to plant some summer color like petunia and winter color like pansies.
And best of all, the permanent greenery of the boxwood and ivy mean the box will always have something growing in it even if you forget the color plants.