Container Plants, Part II

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Most plants and bulbs grow just fine in containers, provided you meet their basic light and water requirements.

One of the biggest challenges when grouping different plants in one container is to combine plants with growing requirements that are similar. Dont put sun-loving flowers with shade plants; or plants that require a lot of water in the same pot with plants that like it dry.

Before you buy that lovely you cant live without, its best to read the details on the label.

When grouping plants in a container, plant them closely together to create a dense, rich look. Experiment with varying heights, color and textures in your plantings.

Add a trellis (even putting one stabilizing leg in one container and the other in an adjacent container) for height in container arrangements as well as grounding the grouping.

Annuals give color all season long, while perennials (like trailing variegated vinca) will come back each year, saving time and money. The larger the container, the better the chance of the plant returning.

Bushes and evergreens are a handsome stabilizing backdrop which are attractive through the winter. Tender houseplants can be used to fill in with floral plantings.

And one Cardinal rule (which I constantly resist!) is this: Be prepared to replace.

Following are lists of a few plants which do well in containers:

Part Shade/Shade:
Caladium, Coleus, Impatiens, Potato vine, Hosta, Begonia, Fern.

Semi-shade Shrubs:
Aucuba, Skimmia, Azalea, Mahonia.

Perennials for sun:
Yucca, Hibiscus (hardy), Mums, Knock Out rose, Sedum/Succulents, Clematis, Red Hot Poker (Kniphora) instead of the houseplant Dracena, winterhardy Gardenias (Kleims Hardy or Chuck Hayes), ornamental grasses, certain bulbs and tubers.

Annuals for sun:
Zinnia, Four oclocks (Mirabilis jalapa), Sweet Alyssum, Marigold, Morning glory, Sunflower, Geranium, Hibiscus (tropical), Snapdragons, Petunias, some bulbs.

Wind-tolerant:
Holly, Red-tip Photinia, Rugarosa rose, Needled Evergreens, junipers, Cherry Laurel, Dusty Miller, Hydrangea macrophylla, Yew, Bamboo, Sweet Alyssum.

Vegetables:
Tomato, Lettuce, Parsley, Swiss Chard, or Bright Lights.

Trees:
Dogwood, Mugo pine, Weeping Eastern Redbud,Crape Myrtle. Best if all trees, bushes or evergreens are dwarf varieties.

Try something new and wildyoull be glad you did.

Nancy Burns is a Certified Master Gardener, Horticulture Information Director of District 2 of the National Capital Area Garden Clubs, President of the Belle Haven Garden Club and Secretary of the National Capital Orchid Society. Please contact n.burns@cox.net or 703-329-1899.

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