By Susan Albert
There are so many colorful annuals to choose from that it’s hard to decide which to purchase. In addition to the traditional fare, such as geraniums, impatiens, coleus, petunias, begonias, and marigolds, there are always new plants to try.
Before heading to Lowe’s for container annuals, decide whether you’ll place them in a sunny, part sun, or shady location. Then check plant labels for the light requirement.
Here are some options for two containers requiring a sunny location, one container for part sun, and a grouping for a shady area.
- Full Sun -- For a sunny exposure you can’t beat petunias. They come in a wide variety of colors and are constantly being improved for vigor such as the Wave petunias and Supertunias. Two Wave petunias, pictured right, are joined by a six-pack of bedding petunias. All bloom from spring to a hard frost.
- Full Sun -- In this container, right, the popular geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum) and Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii Jaguar Series) are shown in coral. They bloom spring through fall, and both are water thrifty once established. A dracaena spike adds height, and sweet potato vines trail over the edge. Filling in on the sides are coral-color verbenas that fade to white as they age.
- Part Sun -- This variegated tricolor ginger (Stromanthe sanguinea ‘Triostar’) makes a striking container plant. Used as filler below the oblong leaves, white Million Bells (Calibrachoa Aloha Kona), doesn’t detract from the ginger’s bold coloration. Keep soil moist.
- Shade -- The shade grouping holds Caladium Rose Glow with gold moneywort, trailing Spellbound Salmon impatiens, and Helichrysum ‘Silver Star’, an accent plant that spills over the container edge. A pot filled with asparagus fern provides a green-textured backdrop.
You can fertilize container gardens easily with a slow-release fertilizer. Simply add the granules as directed, and repeat in about two months. Nutrients are released every time it rains or you water plants.