I garden in pots on my front porch, and by the time summer arrives, I just want my containers to look good…and I don’t want to spend a lot of time on them. So I always create at least one lushly planted pot filled with low-care plants, since that’s all you need to keep a small space looking gorgeous for the season.
Photographs by Julie Chai for Gardenista.
Above: I like to garden in larger potsâ€”at least 14 inches or more in diameterâ€”and I usually use a container I already own. I replant my containers as the seasons change.
Above: When Iâ€™m shopping at the nursery, I like to know my containerâ€™s size. But Iâ€™m not about to lug heavy pottery with me, so I came up with an easy way to measure: take a large piece of scrap paper (newspaper or a paper bag work well), place it over the pot, and cut out a circle thatâ€™s about the same size as the containerâ€™s opening.
Then, I take my paper disc with me to the nursery so I can arrange plants on it while I shop. This helps me estimate how many plants will actually fit in my pot without overcrowding, and also gives me a chance to play around with the plant arrangement.
Above: For summer, a simple color combination of cool blue, white, and silver balances the heat. This month’s container is a mix of four hardy summer workhorses:
- â€˜Blue Birdâ€™ Nemesia. It’s is an upright plant that grows to a height of 12 inches and blooms until frost; $14.95 for a 4.5-inch pot from Nature Hills.
- â€˜Gulliver Whiteâ€™ Bacopa has pure white flowers on trailing stemsâ€”perfect for the front of a container; $3.52 from Garden Harvest Supply.
- Lambâ€™s Ears have large, fuzzy gray-green leaves. Itâ€™s technically a ground coverâ€”so it will eventually spread and youâ€™ll need to reduce the clump or replant in another pot. It also forms lavender flower spikes (bees love them, but you can cut them down if you donâ€™t like the way they look). It’s $4.95 per plant from Mountain Valley Growers.
- â€˜Glacier Blueâ€™ Euphorbia. It can reach 18 inches tall, and has thin, silvery leaves edged in white along with blooms in late winter or spring. A 4-inch pot is $5 from Thyme After Thyme.
Above: I generally aim for five or fewer types of plants in a pot because I like to let each plant stand out. When creating combos, itâ€™s important to mix growers that have the same water and light needs so that everything will thriveâ€”this grouping likes full to part sun, and regular water.
Above: I always use a container with a drainage hole, and before planting I gently loosen any matted roots. Itâ€™s best to fill your pots with fresh potting soil because it drains well and is packed with the nutrients your plants need.
Above: Water thoroughly after planting, and then again whenever the top inch or so of soil feels dry.