(Image credit: karenpritchett)

Many shrubs provide color, interesting foliage, flowers, and unique textures and shapes for the garden. A unique take on planting flowering shrubs is to put them in containers. This strategy is great for small spaces and also adds a special flair to patios and balconies. 

How to Grow Flowering Container Shrubs

The most important factor for flowering shrubs in containers is choosing the right plant and variety. Not all bushes will do well in a pot. Some are too big or won’t tolerate the root constriction. 

Once you have the right shrub, choose a sturdy container that will last and that matches the size of the plant. Choose a high-quality potting soil and make sure it will drain well. Bushes in containers need more regular water and the soil will dry out quickly. 

Container growing also requires more frequent pruning. Even with a small shrub or dwarf variety, you need to trim and shape the shrub regularly to keep it a reasonable size for the pot. 

The Best Flowering Shrubs to Grow in Pots

Choose plants that are on the small side and that don’t grow too quickly, so you don’t have to transplant it often. These small flowering shrubs are ideal for container growing: 

  • Miniature roses. These diminutive shrubs are just what they sound like. Miniature and miniflora roses, these are small, compact hybrid tea and grandiflora roses. They don’t generally grow more than 30 inches (76 cm) tall. They come in a variety of colors and have the same kinds of growing requirements as standard roses. 
  • Spirea. Also known as meadowsweet, spiraea is a popular garden shrub for their long-lasting flowers, varied foliage, and versatility. There are several varieties to choose from, including several that grow small enough for containers. Try Japanese spiraea cultivarsLittle Princess and Goldflame, Tor, a birchleaf spiraea, or Snowmound, a variety of Nippon spiraea. 
  • Dwarf Euryops. For a warmer climate, this dwarf cultivar is a great container option. It produces sunny yellow, daisy-like flowers year round and has evergreen leaves. If you want to grow this above zone 8, simply bring it indoors for the winter, another benefit of container shrub growing. 
  • Pieris japonica. This plant goes by many common names. It grows large but very slowly, so it is well suited to a container. The flowers of P. japonica are showy. They are small, inverted, tube-shaped blooms that grow in hanging clusters. The buds are striking too, so you get visual interest throughout summer and into the fall as the flowers bloom. 
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea. Most hydrangeas are quite large, but you can find dwarf varieties of oakleaf hydrangea that do well in pots. The cone-shaped clusters of white flowers are pretty against the dark green leaves. 

Container-grown flowered shrubs can be a great way to add color and texture to outdoor spaces. Choose the right variety, and you can enjoy it in a pot for years.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.