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Southeast Gardening: Simple Container Color Schemes

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Lowe’s Southeast region garden contributor shares some simple strategies for dealing with color in container combinations.

warm-color plants in urns
Urns by the door complement the red brick.

By Glenn DiNella

Now it could be I’m just a simpleminded individual, but when it comes to arranging flowers—particularly within the small confines of a container—I like to keep things simple. My rule is to keep the hot things hot, and the cool things cool.

I like to use warm foliage and blooms—reds, oranges, yellows, and golds—by themselves in containers. Sometimes I select warm colors simply because a homeowner prefers those tones. Other times it’s because I’m trying to match the plants with the warm colors of a brick patio or home. This homeowner selected red begonias and a tropical hot hibiscus for her summer containers. The warm colors marry well with the deep, warm red of her brick home.

This pot by a birdbath is simple and serene.

In other arrangements I select cool colors—purples, blues, white, and soft yellows—because the homeowner prefers them or because I’m trying to blend with a serene green scene, or a home or patio featuring cool or neutral colors. In the hot and humid Southeast, most homeowners seem to prefer cool color combos because it makes them feel a bit cooler when the thermometer glows red.

In the arrangement pictured, spikes of blue salvia are the center of attention, while assorted blue/purple pansies and variegated ivy fill in around the sides and spill over the edges. Keeping everything blue, purple, white, and green creates a simple, serene arrangement.

close-up of pot

Of course rules were made to be broken. So if your inclination is to mix it up and use all the colors of the rainbow in your containers, go for it. Just don’t expect simpleminded folks, like me, to understand what you’ve done.

See more by this author.