Plant with perennials for pots of seasonal inspiration.
SHORT of time but still want a riot of colour on your patio? HANNAH STEPHENSON suggests permanent container plants that will come back year after year | CLEMATIS THESE are among the most colourful, rewarding climbers. When you're buying, check the label says the plant is suitable for container planting and its maximum height isn't going to outgrow the space you have available.
Ideal for large pots, plant several different varieties to climb up a wigwam or other support and keep their roots shaded, either with other smaller plants or with a mulch of pebbles or other decorative stones.
| ROSES COMPACT shrub roses need to be planted in large pots, ideally 45cm (18in) across and 60cm (2ft) deep, in a 50:50 mix of John Innes No. 3 and multipurpose compost Add some slow release fertiliser to the mix to give it a good start and keep it well watered. Top up the surface with fresh compost every spring. | CONIFERS THERE are plenty of dwarf conifers available for pots, most notably the lemon-scented Monterey cypress.
Using this type of plant to give height in a container also leaves you free to swap smaller, more colourful plants as they finish flowering - just dig them out and replace them with a summer flower, leaving the conifer in place. | ACER THERE are many small acers (Japanese maple) available with an array of leaves ranging from acid yellow to burgundy for superb seasonal interest.
| SUCCULENTS including sedum and houseleeks (sempervivum) look terrific in shallower containers with their floral structures and foliage colour, ranging from silver to burgundy.
They are also droughttolerant, so won't need as much watering as everything else on a sunny patio, and many will withstand sub-zero temperatures.