Container Planting

Spring Update to the Ultimate Guide to Planting Florida Container Gardens

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Spring has arrived and I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we got any winter! I feel totally cheated. Well, now as the temperatures are rising, we need to pick the correct plants for planting in our containers.

Warning! Warning!  Do not decide what to plant by what is available in the box stores. I was in Lowe’s the other day and found many plants that will die once we get 90 degree weather. Here is the list of “DO NOT PLANT” PLANTS: 

Osteospermum or African Daisies- Hate the heat!! Love Florida winters! 

Geraniums- These plants love the Florida winters and spring but once the rain and humidity comes, they melt!! 

Dianthus- These plants love the Florida winters but hate the heat.

Snapdragons- These lovely plants will perish in the heat of summer.

Delphiniums- Nope! Don’t do it!! Those gorgeous plants are peaking now but will go in a quick decline in the summer. Again, these are great winter annuals but once the rain and heat come, they melt away.

The reason I am putting out this list is because they are selling these NOW! You will go to all the work to plant and won’t get much more that 2 months out of them, if that. Therefore, it is important to look ahead to the warmer months and plant for those conditions. Picking the wrong plant because they are presented to you, does not make you a poor gardener or have a brown thumb. It is just lack of information. I owned a nursery for 23 years and we never put things out for sale that would not thrive at that season. Now it goes back to the old saying, “Buyer Beware!”

Here is the list of plants for containers that you can put out that will last into the summer with heat, humidity and rain. 

Outdoor Design Trends

Just as we have trends in Interior Design, we also have trends in Outdoor Design. Last January I attended the Tropical Plant International Expo in Ft. Lauderdale. This is a trade show for Retailers, Landscapers, Interior Landscapers and Wholesalers in the Tropical Plant Industry. Wow! It was so much fun! I got to see all the new varieties of houseplants, succulents, bromeliads as well as new pots and garden decor.

I was very interested in watching which booths got the most attention from the attendees. There were many pottery vendors ranging from brightly colored glazed stoneware to sleek modern composite pots created from stone and fiberglass. It was interesting to see that the buyers were all looking at the modern black, white and gray pots, not the vibrant blue, red, aqua stoneware. And this is Florida!!!

So this year, I ordered pots in these neutral colors and they were the ones that sold first! This type of modern pot has been seen inside office buildings with houseplants in them but now they have crept outside. Most are made of the new fiberglass and stone composite, but there are others that are made of glazed stoneware. There are even some plastic look alike pots that look like a stone pot.

When planting these pots, it is a good idea not to fill them entirely with soil. I usually put empty water bottles in the bottom so that the soil drains well and does not rot the roots.

Here are some pictures of some of these very cool pots in residential and commercial locations.

Outdoor Decorating in the City

Road trips always bring about opportunities to view plantings and gardens. On a road trip from Florida to Massachusetts in August, I found that the plants featured in the pots, window boxes and gardens had more similarities than differences as we traveled from South to North. Some cities and areas are really into planting in window boxes and city gardens. I personally think that gardens uplift everyone's spirits when they look at them. What do you think? Here are two window box plantings in Philadelphia. This was a city of art with many beautiful gardens and artwork and my favorite.....mosaics!


Successful Flowers to Plant for Winter

What are successful flowers to plant in your pots for the winter?  I would have to consider myself a flower snob- when I lived up North I only planted unusual flowers, never giving way to the common.  Well, Florida is a whole different story.  The climate is so severe and pots take such a beating with the heavy rain, high humidity, bugs, etc.  Therefore the flowers that I love are the ones I can keep alive.  The Begonia Family is so reliable.  From wax begonias to Angel Wing begonia- they are hardy and bloom all throughout the winter.  Impatiens also do nicely as well as geraniums, snapdragons, blue salvia, pansies and violas.  The plants all thrive with the cool weather and it is not necessary to water them as heavily.  Stay tuned and I will give you some important information on how to plant your pots for great success- what kind of soil, fertilizer and pots.