When it comes to decorating your yard, not everything needs to be planted in the ground. Add drama and personality to your patio, porch or gardens any season of the year with containers. Containers are an easy way to get started gardening because it’s scalable. Start out small with one or two containers and then keep adding to your collection as you get more and more ambitious.
Choosing Your Containers
You may already have a favorite container or two you’d like to use, just make sure they’re large enough (we recommend minimum of 12” in diameter) so that they won’t dry out too quickly once plants become established. Quality high-fired ceramic pots are a good choice because they won’t blow over in the wind. Consider containers whose color, shape and texture complement, rather than clash with, the plants you plan to grow in them.
Choosing Your Plants—Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers
When designing combination containers there’s plenty of opportunity to let your inner artist out, but following a proven design recipe known simply as, “thriller, spiller and filler,” and choosing the right plants for the right places will ensure that your container plants thrive. First, you’ll want to match the plant palette with the season. Plants suitable for spring and fall combinations don’t generally do well in the heat of summer, and the opposite is also true. Second, check the plant labels to make sure the plants are right for the conditions where the containers will be located; especially check sun exposure: full sun (more than 5-6 hours of direct sunlight), partial sun (4-5 hours) or full shade. A few examples of thriller, spillers and fillers for summer containers are noted below, but the number of combinations you can create at The Growing Place are limited only by your imagination.
The thriller plant is usually the tallest element and the focal point of your container. There’s usually only one in each pot—make it a bold choice. It doesn’t even need to be a live plant, but can be seasonally appropriate twigs, like pussy willow branches, curly willow or even birch poles.
Summer Sun-Loving Thrillers include: Grasses, Tropical plants like Hibiscus, Angelonia, Coleus, Small shrubs, Shasta Daisy, Gaura
Summer Shade-loving Thrillers include: Hosta, Ferns, Persion Shield, Hiemalis Begonias.
As the name implies, low to mid-height fillers add lushness and fullness to your container. The color of the filler might complement the thriller and contrast with its texture.
Summer Sun-Loving Fillers include: Vinca, Zinnia, Lantana Baby’s Breath, Dusty Miller, Lobelia, Diamond Frost
Summer Shade-loving Fillers include: Rex Begonias, New Guinea Impatiens, Lobelia, Oxalis.
These are plants that cascade over the edge of the pot. They soften the edges of the pot and help to unify the design by use of color or texture.
Summer Sun-Loving Spillers include: Verbena, Petunias, Sweet Potato Vine, Calibrachoa
Summer Shade-loving Spillers include: Torenia, Ivy, Asparagus Ferns, Lysimachia.
Choosing the Soil
We recommend using our Growing Place Choice Potting Mix. It’s the same potting mix that we use to grow our plants. It contains pine fines, coir, sphagnum peat moss and perlite with a starter fertilizer and a wetting agent. We also recommend incorporating a granular organic or synthetic slow release fertilizer when you plant. Be sure to follow the label instructions.
Maintaining Your Containers
As plants become established in pots they require more frequent waterings. Check your pots daily. To keep blooms and foliage looking good into the season apply a liquid organic or synthetic plant food about every two weeks. Remove spent blooms regularly so plants can continue to produce flowers. Your containers will evolve with the season. Eventually it will be time to consider replacing your summer combination planter with one for fall.
The Growing Place has everything you need to be successful, whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned pro. We have the expertise and all the components you’ll need to create your own containers at home, or right at the garden center. We have a high quality selection of concrete and ceramic containers from Campania as well as from other sources. Campania makes high fired ceramic containers that make the more durable—even in our winters.
If you’re feeling like you just want to grab something and go our container designers have been busy making up a wide selection of ready-made containers. You can even bring in your own empty pots and we’ll help you choose the right plants and create your finished containers.
Posted on 5/7/2014 at 7:15:00 PM