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Best Thriller Plants for Containers

Count on these striking plants to create eye-catching focal points in garden pots.

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Focal Point Plants

Containers create a focal point for the garden and can be easily moved to change the emphasis. Choose plants with strong shapes such as cordylines.

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‘Tuscan Sun’ Perennial Sunflower (Heliopsis ‘Tuscan Sun’)

Golden sprays filled with giant sunflower charm cover this plant all summer long. Butterflies, bees and other pollinators flock to flowers. This sunflower is winter hardy in Zones 3 to 9, but plants won’t survive winter in containers from Zone 5 and colder. Tuck sunflowers into planting beds for successful overwintering. As plants multiply over time, you’ll have some to add to perennial beds. Plants grow 24 to 36 inches tall and 24 inches wide.

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Tropicanna Canna (Canna indica ‘Phasion’)

Embrace tropical color with a canna that brings a rainbow to containers. Pin-stripe leaves unfurl to reveal a host of hues, including purple, orange, red, bronze and green. Plants grow 5 to 6 feet tall and about 2 feet wide. Choose a big container and make sure you can keep soil moist, because canna like wet feet. Lift tubers in fall in coldest zones and replant the following spring.

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Lo & Behold ‘Pink Micro Chip’ Butterfly Bush (Buddleia x ‘Pink Micro Chip’)

Tuck a miniature butterfly bush into pots to create a sweetly fragrant focal point. Flowers open in orchid pink on plants that grow 18 to 24 inches tall and wide. This butterfly bush is hardy to Zone 5. Shift plants from a pot to a planting bed in early fall in colder zones, and repot it in spring to continue using it as a container plant.

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