Container Gardening

Planting With a Purpose

[May 2019 | San Juan Silver Stage | By Trina Donahue]
Images courtesy Camelot Gardens.

Container gardening is an easy and fun way to brighten up small spaces, patios, and storefronts with colorful flowers for the summer. Planting your own patio pots allows you to quickly transform an ordinary space into a beautiful area that you’ll enjoy all season long.

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when selecting your plants.

• Be sure to check the light—make note of where the sun is throughout the day; if your space is in full sun, you’ll want to select plants that can handle the heat.  Likewise, there are specific plants and flowers that will thrive in the shade.

• Don’t over plant! You’ll want to leave room for both the plants and the roots to grow.  They’ll continue to grow all summer long, so your plants will need a little room to expand.

• Make a point to fertilize. It will keep your flowers healthy, strong, and blooming until the end of the summer. There are special fertilizers to maximize the blooms. Ask your local Garden Center for what they recommend.

If you’re looking for inspiration, you can plant with a purpose.  There are specific flowers and plants that are beneficial to pollinators, and will attract hummingbirds and butterflies.  You can combine beautiful plants that also double as mosquito repellants; for example, Citronella Geranium. Another popular idea is to plant potted herb and vegetable gardens; parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme make a great set.  If you have space near your kitchen, a tomato plant with basil and oregano growing in it is a fun and useful combination.

For beautiful flower pots, keep in mind this formula: you’ll need a ‘thriller’, a ‘spiller’, and a ‘filler. The ‘thrillers’ are your bright, tall, and colorful plants that can double as the centerpieces—great choices are hibiscus, ornamental peppers and grasses, or snap dragons.

You’ll have lots of fun picking out your ‘spillers’! They will be the plants that trail and cascade down the sides of your pots, and there are so many to choose from.  Trailing petunias come in lots of colors and offer a traditional look. Sweet Potato Vine and Strawberry plants are also unique and beautiful choices. The ‘fillers’ are where you can get really creative! Here’s where you can sneak in your favorite herb, or pick out a plant with colorful foliage to add some variety to your combination!

Your local garden center will have experts on staff to help you select pottery, soil, and the plants to make your patio full of color all summer long!!!

Trina Donahue is a gardening specialist with Camelot Gardens, Montrose.