Not knowing what to expect this summer as scientific facts reveal climate change and sea level rise, this summer will certainly be watched closely by the scientific world. Even though the summer sun is relentless we still want our gardens to be alive with color and sometimes only a container will do the job. In keeping with the golden rule of ‘RIGHT PLANT, RIGHT PLACE’ success can be achieved.
First, we have to think about space. Although “thinking big is the latest trend” – know if your space can accommodate large containers.
Here are some suggestions:
I have discussed this plant in a prior article; please feel free to go to the communitynewsofbroward.com website and look for the June 2017 issue to read up on this topic.
1. Bougainvillea Bush
Bougainvillea glabra is the dwarf variety and grow slow to 3 feet or less. This plant in a pot needs little care and little water. Most bougainvilleas die a death with ‘wet feet’ – too much water. This plant thrives in the sun and will produce beautiful color.
These come in so many shapes and sizes that the possibilities in containers are endless, but you can’t go wrong with them! Check out Kalachoe thyrsiflora, Dwarf Crown of Thorns, Kalachoe luciae, Euphorbia Milii Compacta and “Flapjack” varieties.
One of my favorites is the Stapelia gigantea, also known as Starfish Flower or “Carrion plant”. The bud appears at base of pot. The ‘carrion’ flower does not have a great aroma so don’t place it near a window but the flower is worth it! The Carrion Flower thrives in dry, sunny areas of the garden. Mix soil with sand in pot to insure good drainage. Ample water assures more vigorous growth. Once established, plants require water only during very dry periods. They can remain without irrigation throughout the winter months in South Florida. This succulent is almost always propagated by cutting or stem pieces, so it’s easy to share. Flowers are rather short-lived usually lasting no more than two days. However, flowers may appear in succession and a clump may be in bloom for up to two months during the peak blooming season, from late summer into early fall.
3. TIPS FOR CONTAINER GARDENING FOR OUTDOOR SPACES
Sometimes you can increase the dramatic effect of a small container by simply placing it on a pedestal! Do not stop with just one – groupings of containers create impressive displays. However, do not use a hodge-podge of containers and plants and be sure to unify the grouping by using one or more of the following:
- Same-shaped container in different sizes
- Same type of container (i.e. concrete, glazed pottery, etc)
- Same color of container
- Same dominant plant form in all containers (such as spiky or trailing plants).
Shady sites need brighter colors for impact. Colors under shade often appear more muted than in sunlight. Use containers in garden beds to define or divide space. Container gardens can be permanent components of the garden, or temporary accents used when needed. Take advantage of the portability that containers allow. It may be necessary to relocate containers as the seasons change. And finally, remove the ‘tired’ container gardens. Move them around to a less visible area when plants need a little R&R to recover.
Excerpts from (ENH1095) one of a series of the Department of Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date February 2008. Reviewed February 2017. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.