I learned several valuable tips from my husband’s grandmother (like the fact that mayonnaise can help get adhesive tape off a dining room table after your toddler decides to “scrapbook”. But that’s a whole different post….). The one that I follow year after year is her rule of thumb for spring planting in the Midwest: always wait until Mother’s Day when the threat of a late freeze has passed. With Mother’s Day in the rear view mirror, I’m in full planting mode this week. Here are some of my tried and true container combos for partial sun, full sun and shade.Partial Sun: Most of my deck is heavily shaded but the corner where the container above sits gets a few hours of sun each day. When designing my containers, I almost always follow the thriller, filler and spiller approach. In this case my thriller is red gerber daisy, my fillers are the Blue Rush juncus (center) and white angelonia. My spiller is blue lobelia.
Shade: I have three pots of the above arrangement in corners of the shaded area of my deck. After several years of failed attempts to grow shade loving blooming flowers (like impatiens), I gave up and went for gorgeous foliage instead. I center a small fern in each pot and add my favorite coleus plant around the sides. This year I used Chocolate Covered Cherry (picked it for the name alone!). Coleus has become my go to shade plant because of it’s interesting leaves in varying colors. I have a serious thing for coleus.
Full Sun: My driveway gets 7+ hours of sun each day. Whatever I plant in the 4 planters that flank my garage doors has to be the toughest thing going because they take a beating. Kansas City summers are hot (August, with it’s consecutive 100 degree days, will suck the life right out of you and the plants). I always go back to the same simple combo because I know it works and will give me the color I’m looking for well into October. I use a spike in the center for filler and height, red geraniums for consistent color (thriller) and sweet potato vine as my spiller. Within 3-4 weeks, the sweet potato vine will have climbed at least 6-8 inches out of the pot and be down to the pavement by the end of June. Love it!
I should have mentioned at the beginning of the post that I don’t plant high maintenance plants or flowers. I’m good about watering but I really don’t do much beyond that. I like easy, breezy flowers that thrive with little help outside of regular watering.
I’d love to hear what some of your favorite combinations are so please share. Happy Planting!