If I wanted to grow small conifers in pots, what pot would be the best for standing up to year-round weather? I'm assuming that even in the winter, conifers should remain outdoors but protected. I know clay pots won't hold up here during the freeze/thaw cycles.
Only a few conifers will tolerate a zone 5 winter in containers w/o protection.
Look to any container that is weatherproof, and preferably one with gas-permeable walls. I understand the consideration for possible (pot) breakage, but beyond that, your choice of soils will play the largest part in determining to what degree you'll be rewarded by your efforts.
I did see some threads about different soil types for containers. I guess my first concern is a container that will hold up and then tailoring the soil to the plant and drainage. By "gas-permeable", is there a type I should look for? I don't think I've ever seen that on pot labeling.
Thanks for your input.
Clay is gas-permeable because it allows air & water vapor to pass through the walls & noxious gasses to escape. There are other containers made of mesh, wood, cellulose fiber ... and various other perforated root-trapper type containers that all work well for conifers and other woody plants. I'm borderline 5b-6a and I grow dozens of conifers in clay containers, but I bring them into the garage in the winter. Most plants suffer root death at ACTUAL root temperatures much below 25*, so even though the trees might tolerate it, it's best to protect them from those temps whenever possible.