Very difficult problem to solve!


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Hi:

I'm not sure if this is is the correct category to ask this question? If not let me know where I should post.

I'm trying to figure out what to do in my backyard. I have a cinder block wall that had various vines growing from my neighbors side. He took the vines out which killed them on my side.

Now, what to do?

The wall faces East. I live in Sacramento. In the summer the wall gets about 6-7 hours of sun. The big problem is the cinder block planter box, which has a cement bottom!
:s
(photos attached).

Also, It's a problem that there's only 18" from the top of the cinder block box to the cement bottom. There's 17" of room (depth) from the back wall to the front wall of the cinder block. The length of the box is 26 feet.

I wanted to plant bougainvillea, roses or Japanese euonymus. The problem is no drainage; root rot; little room for roots to grow, roots getting steamed in summer since the box is all cement!

Any suggestions for the type of plants that might work as-is OR how to modify the cement box so there will be enough drainage and height for roots?

Thank you!
 

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Yes, the cement bottom is solid. 7.5" height. The previous owners built the box on top of the patio concrete. I don't know how difficult it would be to drill holes. How big they would need to be or whether drilling holes would crack the concrete on the patio?

Does anyone know?
Thanks.
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A few years ago I used a kango hammer like this to get up a trench across a concrete oversite on a building. I hired it for a day...... what fun :joyful:
 
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You could drill holes in the side of the box as close to the bottom as possible. It would drain onto the patio. You would have to water carefully to prevent staining or bleach it occasionally.
Any of those plants would work just fine. Think of it as a very large pot. All of them can take the heat as long as they are watered.
 
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I never noticed the box full of water. There are cracks in the patio so you could be right.

Here's 2 photos from a few years ago. The bushes/vines that were there worked with the current conditions.

Any suggestions for the type of vines or bushes that would work?

I'm looking for something that's low maintenance; Height 7 feet or higher and 2 feet or so in width.

But space is small depth wise (back to front). I'd love to have some Italian cypress but I don't think they would work (roots, size of cypress may cause damage to wall and patio?) and would they take too long to grow over 7 feet tall?

I think the flowering vines in the photo are Star Jasmine. They appear to have worked without any change to the cement box. But I'd rather have plants that grow higher to block the neighbors backyard.

Photos may not have been posted.

Thank you!
 

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Try :
Bright-n-Tight Carolina Cherry Laurel
Nandina domestica
Syzygium 'Monterey Bay
Bougainvillea 'Pixie Pink'
Viburnum tinus
They all would grow well in your area and either tend to be narrow or can be trimmed to fit the space.
 
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After some research on the question of what will tolerate that depth of planter, I would consider Boxwood spaced 4-5 ft. rather than a hedge and keep those pruned to about 3 ft. tall to fit the space and whatever shape and height that makes you happy. Whatever the plant selection some light and air is usually required on the wall side.
 
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I would put some good soil in there and plant Parthenocissus Henryi / syn.Henryana
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It`s my favourite creeper because it`s a bit more well behaved than tricuspidata or quinquefolia, and would cling to the wall to clad it. This plant would probably cope reasonably well with the shallow container as long as it gets some water.
 
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I would put some good soil in there and plant Parthenocissus Henryi / syn.Henryana View attachment 79169 It`s my favourite creeper because it`s a bit more well behaved than tricuspidata or quinquefolia, and would cling to the wall to clad it. This plant would probably cope reasonably well with the shallow container as long as it gets some water.
Well, i can't sple or prnonce those you sugested but they sure pretty. But i can spell and pronounce Buxwood.:confused:
 
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Hi:

Thanks for the ideas. I'm going to go with the suggestion that I turn the problematic cement box (photos in earlier post) into a shelf that I'll put pots on.

I'm thinking of something like Japonicus Euonymus Cone shaped. (photo attached) I like the way the Japonicus Euonymus Cone looks. For me the variegated (golden and green) leaves and most importantly the cone shape may work in the space.

But I have a few questions.

Are the Euonymus in the photos labeled "Cone" that shape because of the way they're pruned or do they naturally grow in a cone shape like a Christmas tree?

The shelf I'll create will be 24" from the back wall to the front of the shelf. If I place the pot in the middle of the shelf that means there's only 12" between the wall and the middle of the Euonymus. Monrovia says it grows "quickly" to 12' tall 6' wide. Chollipo Euonymus (monrovia.com) Is there a problem with only 12" between the plant and the back wall?

Most importantly can the plant stay in the pot for the next 20 years or will it need to be repotted?

Thank you!
 

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That euonymus is called ''emerald n`gold''
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and there is another similar one called ''gaiety'' which is silver and green
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I have grown thousands of them when I was at work. They will form lax little bushes, unless you keep clipping them to shape. Kept clipped they would be ok staying in a pot for a while as long as they get a bit of top dressing and feed. I think that to say they will get to 12 feet tall by 6 wide is rather far fetched.
 
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Yes, the cone shape is due to trimming. The normal shape is a blob.
The other plants will get bigger faster and all can be in pots long-term, although as Tetters said they will need to be treated like a big Bonsai and have their roots pruned and new soil added every 2-3 years. By planting them directly into the planter you increase the size of the "pot" dramatically and avoid the necessity of root trimming. Write the names down and take the list to a nursery and they can show you the plants and help you pronounce them. There are several very good independent nurseries in Sacramento that can give you more information and advice, visit the nearest to you.
 
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Yes, and although they are usually ''blobs'' my ones are very gorgeous blobs - in fact, I have grown them very close to walls and fences, and they appear to climb (they don`t climb of course) but they seem to like to grow against a wall/fence fairly tightly.
 
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Does it need to be year round? I would consider something herbaceous like Morning glory which would give you quick cover and be fine with the soil in that space, but maybe your winter is a bit more clement, we don't get out in the garden much that time of year :)
 

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