By Susan Albert
With all the vibrant colors in annuals this year, it’s easy to create a bold statement in container gardens. Whether you decorate in the sun or shade, there are plenty of choices.
Containers can be novelty items, such as flea-market finds, or brand new, with dramatic designs and colors. Drainage holes are important to prevent soggy roots. If you can’t drill holes, place a layer of rocks or pebbles in the bottom of the pot. Pots can be large. Or try grouping containers of different sizes.
To give a balanced look to your container design, choose three height combinations: a tall plant for structure, a medium-sized filler, and a low-growing plant to spill over.
Start with a plant you want to showcase such as this tropical pink hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis).
For midlevel filler I included ‘Oborozuki’ sweet flag grass along with white vinca. To accentuate the hibiscus’ dark-cherry centers, I added a red petunia along with a contrasting deep-purple petunia for bold color.
Lowe’s offers container Ready Refills with vibrant flower combinations that are ready to insert into a pot. If you desire, you can add a dracaena spike for additional height. Calibrachoa (also known as Million Bells), petunia, and verbena are the all-stars.
For a shady spot, Dazzler ‘Punch’ impatiens, lime-colored pennywort, and begonia surround this muted-wine coleus.
Also for shade, these red caladiums are terrific in containers — alone or with complementary filler such as bright-pink impatiens.
Here are more favorite annuals for summer containers:
- Tall focal point: Snapdragon, ornamental grass, dracaena spike, dwarf canna, caladium, coleus.
- Midlevel filler: Lantana, pentas, angelonia, impatiens, begonia, marigold, globe amaranth, geranium, vinca, Gerbera daisy, Mexican zinnia.
- Cascading trailer: Petunia hybrids, verbena, trailing lantana, pennywort, calibrachoa, asparagus fern, bacopa, ivy geranium, sweet potato vine, alyssum, fan flower.
Decorate the front porch, entryway, patio, or deck with season-long color. Remember: When the weather heats up, pots need to be watered at least once a day. You can add slow-release fertilizer, such as Osmocote, to the pot every two months for nutrition. Or use a water-base fertilizer once or twice a month.