Home Page Image

Gardening is medicine that does not need a prescription ... And with no limit on dosage.

~author unknown~

Containers & Baskets

While walking through the garden earlier this week, I couldn't help but notice that our back neighbors had hung their baskets for the season: big fat ferns all along by their front door. Returning to my own porch, a sad sight of empty baskets and containers greeted me. 'Fill us' they were screaming at me!

Who could ignore this loud message?

First of all, I needed to fix-up last years soil. Container soil tends to get compacted and needs to be loosened up to allow roots to grow. The old soil is low in nutrients and requires freshening up with compost (don't have any? add a liberal amount of slow release fertilizer granules). Once done, I added some water retaining crystals. The final word isn't out in the garden literature, however, I have been known to forget about daily waterings and this approach helps our plants survive a bit of occasional neglect. Rather than using a water retaining pre-mixed product, we add our own. This allows us control over the quantity of crystals so as not to waterlog and drown the roots of our plants.

Now what to plant? I like to mix and match different plants but tend to pick one variety to have a presence in every container for continuity. Purple Heart (Tradescantia pallida) was my plant of choice for this year.
Here are some suggestions for your containers:

Foliage Plants

Think of these as the background or canvas to display your remaining selections.

  • Begonia
  • Caladium
  • Coleus
  • Coral Bells - Heuchera

Tall Plants

Give some height and interest to patio containers.

  • Grasses such as Japanese Blood Grass (Imperata cylindrica) and Fountain Grass (Pennisetum)
  • Elephants Ear (Colocasia)
  • Canna
  • New Zealand Flax (Phormium)
  • Tall Stonecrop Varieties (Sedum Autumn Joy)
  • Yucca

Trailing Plants

Soften the edge of the container or basket and add interest, ivy and vinca can be invasive in some parts of the country, don't let them escape!

  • English Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Periwinkle - Vinca (Catharanthus)
  • Creeping Wire Vine (Muehlenbeckia axillaris)
  • Purple Heart - Wandering Jew (Tradescantia pallida)
  • Creeping Stonecrop Varieties (Sedum reflexum, Sedum tetractinum, etc)
  • Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)

Flowering Plants

Either Annuals or Perennials can be used, give your imagination free reign!

  • Coneflowers
  • Coreopsis
  • Geranium
  • Impatiens
  • Petunias
  • Verbena
  • Zinnia


June in the Garden:

Plant iris :
Perennial Plant of 2008 :
Feed the Birds :