Thursday, August 1, 2013

Adventures in Gardening

I got a little adventurous with my potted plants this year, and since they are doing well for once I thought I would share what worked for me. 

I love potted plants around the patio and on the front porch.  For just a few bucks, they add a lot of color, soften the hard edges of the patio and fill up the outdoor spaces nicely.  Usually when putting together potted plant, I throw a bunch of varieties of coleus in a pot and call it a day.  I love coleus.  It's colorful, grows large and is hard to kill.  Plus, it's gorgeous.  Here's my favorite variety.

But pots with only  coleus are a little one note, so this year I made it my mission to choose plants that would add some more interest.  The trouble is, I don't really know a lot about plants and gardening.  So what should I choose when plant shopping?
I prepared for my trip by doing some internet research, and the consensus seemed to be that an interesting potted plant should contain three elements: a spiller, a thriller, and a filler.  'Spiller' plants are those that will spill over the edges of the container and cascade toward the ground.  'Filler' plants take up space, while 'thriller' plants add height, color, and drama.  Well that makes sense, and is easy to remember!

So using those rules, I branched out and made some new additions to my pots this year. I didn't know this black sweet potato vine even existed until this year, but look how gorgeous it is!  If you look closely, you can see one of the pretty purple flowers that grow on it. I also planted a spike (the tall grass) in this pot to add some height.

I branched out even further with pot on the right.  It has regular sweet potato vine (the large chartreuse leaves 'spilling' toward the ground on the far right) along with purple petunias, another spike, and a hot pink geranium.  Four plants in one pot?  Crazy!

The plant on the left has another variety of coleus and red petunias.
But my favorite new plant find of the year was this one.  It's called Creeping Jenny, and its awesome.  It's got color, texture, and such pretty way of cascading toward the ground.  It makes me wish I had bigger pots, so it had further to fall. 

Here it is with black petunias, a pink geranium, and yet another variety of coleus (the red leaves in the background).

I like to use Miracle Grow potting soil in my pots, and I also put several Jobe's Fertilizer Spikes in each pot to keep the plant supplied with a food source.  I water the pots every few days, and on August 1st they still look great!

What do you plant in your pots?  I'd love new ideas for next year!

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