Thinking Outside the Flower Box
Working at a garden center, we hear many of our customers say they are bored with their containers. They plant the same thing every year, and while it works for them, they want to mix it up a bit. This is when we like to direct them to some not so traditional plants that are amazing in containers. Sure the spike, geranium and vinca vine combination is beautiful, but sometimes you need to think outside the flower box.
The first great container plant is Diamond Frost. This plant is from Proven Winners and has been around for several years already, but it is now becoming more and more popular. It is an airy plant with white flowers that bloom all summer long. It’s low maintenance and is a great filler plant because it grows in whatever spaces it can find. It is drought tolerant, doesn’t need deadheading and helps lighten up any planting.
A great container plant for shade containers oxalis, more commonly known as shamrocks. They are available in a wide variety of colors, from lime green to deep purple and more. They also bloom in a variety of colors like yellow, white and lavender. They mound and are a great filler plant. When they are not blooming, they are beautiful for their foliage and for adding texture to your containers.
Mexican Heather is an amazing plant that works best in full sun, is drought tolerant and is low maintenance. The delicate lavender flowers bloom all summer long with the lacy leaves that have great structure for containers. They don’t get too large and they do not trail, so once again, they are an amazing filler plant.
Iresine is a great plant to use for height in full sun or part shade. Like many of our favorite plants, it’s low maintenance and provides a splash of color in the center of any container. Whether you go with the lime green and white plant or the blood-red leaf to give your pot height,you can’t go wrong with iresine.
Chleome or spider flower is a great plant for sunny containers. It’s airy blooms look like a firework exploding in the center of your containers. They grow fairly tall and look beautiful when paired with other tall, airy flowers like verbena bonariensis (the tall purple variety). The unusual bloom also gives great texture to your containers.
Succulents like sedum are another way to add texture to your containers. They generally make great trailers, creeping over the edge of your pot and contrasting against the rest of your container. There are many to choose from, varying in shapes from round pedal-like leaves to thinner, needle-like foliage, as well as colors, from a bright green to a gray or purple. They are very drought tolerant and can handle a good amount of sun, and many even bloom at some point during the season.
Laurentia is a great filler plant, used in sun to part sun containers. Many of our customers refer to it as the blue star flower for its beautiful sky blue, star-shaped flowers. It has unusual leaves as well, giving you lots to look at. It has a mounding habit and grows to be fairly thick. Adding these to a red, white and blue summer container is a must.
Scaveola is another great blue flower that many people don’t know about. It is a trailing flower that likes the sun and is again, low maintenance. They come in white as well, but the blue is definitely the most popular. Maybe try skipping the petunias and grab one of these this year.
Finally, shade containers can seem like a real challenge for some people. We encourage our customers to use houseplants like variegated rubber tree plants, ferns or crotons in their shadier spots. These plants can give you textures and colors in your containers that you thought you could only use impatiens and some ivy. Make your shade pots look just as fun and unusual as your sunny spots by mixing up annuals and houseplants alike.
These are just a few of the non-traditional flowers we have in stock and love to use in our containers. If you want help mixing up your containers this year, be sure to stop by our Design with the Experts Nights. These are every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in May from 6-8 p.m.