Pansies had a great winter and spring, but as the weather gets hotter, it is time to think about a new look for your pots, baskets and planters.
And there are ways to make your containers more interesting and beautiful.
1. The best container gardens possess variety of color, form and texture. Even a 10-inch pot or basket is big enough to hold several kinds of plants – rather than just one.
2. Vary the color. While a single hue is fine, a mix is far more interesting. And don’t fret about combining colors. I have seen combinations that might shock some people – pink and orange or red and purple for examples – that look wonderful. Garden flower colors work together so well that all you have to do is let your eye decide which is right for you.
It could be light to dark shades of pink, purple, yellow or blue. It could be big contrasts such as deep blue with white or pale yellow. It could be red, white and blue, always a success. And it could be as sunny combination of orange, peach and yellow. All of these work together, and there are many in the garden centers.
3. Vary the form. Some plants such as trailing lantana and verbena sprawl, making them well suited to spill over the edge of containers. Others such as begonias and torenia form dignified mounds, while still more, such as pentas, geraniums and angelonia possess a vertical form that elevates the height of your container garden. A house plant such as dracaena or a small ornamental grass also make good vertical centerpieces.
4. Vary the texture. Accomplish this with both flowers and foliage. Combine plants that produce small round blooms such as million bells or bacopa with those bearing flowers that are larger and of a different shape, such as nemesia, angelonia or lobelia. This is especially effective if you opt for tones of a single color, such as pink, because it distinguishes the various shades.
And if you are determined to do a single color container, such as all white, this improves the look a lot. Foliage plants such as hostas, herbs, creeping jenny, ivy and sweet potato vine will add texture ranging from rough to smooth. The lighter, yellow-green choices such as creeping jenny and the chartreuse sweet potato vine will add bright color where it is needed, especially when your floral choices are more dark than bright.
5. Consider the pot soil. If it’s a year or more older, take it out and replace with fresh, packaged potting soil. Some brands include fertilizer, which is nice. Water-absorbing crystals such as Soil Moist are welcome additions and will keep the soil from drying out too fast. Even so, a container garden must get regular attention – at least a daily check – in the summer when the heat is on and rain can be scarce.