Easy Container Combos: Crisp and Modern


Easy Container Combos: Crisp and Modern
  • Posted August 20, 2015

One nice thing about container gardens is that the plants are neatly contained — there is no chance of them creeping into areas where they are unwanted and creating a jumbled chaos in the garden. The crisp tidy look that is innate to potted plants lends itself well to a modern aesthetic. For a clean, refined patio garden that zings with architectural elegance, use single color glossy-glazed ceramic pots and choose plants that have a similarly restrained form.

As the polar opposite of a cottage garden, the modernist aesthetic emphasizes form and texture over exuberant flower displays. Fortunately, there are an abundance of easy-to-grow species that fit this description and are also happy to live in a pot. The following species excel in this equation and allow you to have an instant Zen garden on you deck or patio, creating a unique personal retreat.


Bamboo & Japanese Forest Grass

Especially the types with colored canes like Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra), has a wonderfully clear, calming feel and can be used to create an enchanting enclosure around the patio area. Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra) is a shade tolerant species that will soften the base of a bamboo planting with its lush, drooping foliage. Both will live happily in a large planter for many years.

Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra)

Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)

Horsetail & Blue Sedge

Horsetail (Equisetum hymale) has hollow, segmented stalks and a perfectly vertical growth habit just like bamboo, but it is completely leafless and grows only 3 to 4 feet tall. It is the ultimate architectural species for potted arrangements and, also like bamboo, looks best with something soft and flowing at its base. Try a planting of Blue Sedge (Carex glauca) for a striking contrast with the deep green horsetail stalks.

Horsetail (Equisetum hymale)

Blue Sedge (Carex glauca)

Fiber Optic Grass & Scotch Moss

Fiber Optic Grass (Isolepsis cernua) planted with a groundcover of Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata) around it gives a similar effect to the preceding examples, but in miniature. Fiber optic grass has incredibly fine, delicate blades, growing just 6 inches tall, while scotch moss, though not a true moss, is a low, fuzzy groundcover that stays under two inches tall.

Fiber Optic Grass (Isolepsis cernua)
Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata)

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Brian Barth
About the Author

After 15 years as a professional landscape designer and horticulturalist, Brian Barth embarked on a second career to share his passion—and the knowledge he's accrued—through writing. His love of plants is all-encompassing, but he has a particular soft spot for culinary crops.


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Easy Container Combos: Crisp and Modern