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GardenSMART :: Hedges in Containers

Hedges in Containers

By Stephanie Pratt, InstantHedge
Photographs courtesy of InstantHedge

With living spaces getting smaller and smaller, while our need for plants growing around us gets greater and greater, container gardening has become an extremely important landscaping tool. Growing things in pots and planters has enabled us to develop green roofs and have lush landscapes on even the smallest urban balconies.

Privacy in heavily populated areas is especially important, but it can be hard to achieve with many rules and regulations regarding hardscaping and landscaping on city ground. Planting a privacy hedge in a container on a patio or balcony is a great solution that is sure to satisfy the neighbors.

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Even in suburban and country areas where space isn't an issue, patios and courtyards can be greatly improved with container plantings. They soften hardscape features like stone, wood, and concrete, blending all elements together. Planting in containers also eliminates worries of paths and patios being displaced by the vigorous roots of in-ground trees and shrubs.

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Businesses such as restaurants, hotels, medical centers, and event venues can use hedges in containers to great advantage, creating private "rooms" for their clients using fixed or movable planters. They are a great option for rooftop dining, lounging, pool, and meeting areas. Additionally, using a low hedge like boxwood in a planter is a great way to add low-maintenance curb appeal and has extremely versatile style – it looks equally at home in a quaint cottage garden as it does in an edgy, modern space.

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Parks and public gardens benefit from using hedges in planters as well, particularly in urban areas where peace and privacy are desired but soil is poor or simply not available. Even in areas with plenty of room to plant in the ground, using concrete planters helps prevent sidewalk displacement and is a powerful design element. Layering different types of hedges with each other or with taller trees creates a very beautiful effect.

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Care for hedges in containers is similar to care for hedges in the ground. The main difference is making sure the containerized hedge is being sufficiently watered. In-ground hedges are typically very drought tolerant, since they can send down deep roots to find water. Hedges in containers don't have that ability. Setting up drip irrigation or micro-sprinklers on a timer is an easy way to make sure the hedge is getting enough water.

When choosing a planter for a hedge, a recommended minimum size (if using InstantHedge units) is 45" Long x 20" Wide x 24" Deep for the 3-4' and 5-6' hedges to ensure the longest life. Containers for the boxwood hedges can be minimum 40"L x 14"W x 12"D. The planter must have drainage holes. If you need to drill your own holes, make sure to have at least 4-5 and make them at least 0.5" in diameter to avoid clogging issues.

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We know that having more plants in urban environments helps counteract air, noise, and heat pollution, as well as improving certain aspects of human mental and physical health that are not even connected with pollution levels. We can all agree that the more plants we can have in urban areas, the better. Having the ability to grow plants anywhere, even rooftops and balconies, is important for the environment as well as our own well-being.


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