My container combinations are often inspired by ones that I have seen during my travels. Last summer, in late July, on one of the Perennial Plant Assocation tours, I saw huge containers filled with Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’, a yellow lantana, Ipomoea ‘Blackie’ (black sweet potato vine), and a pale purple/dark eye petunia. When you look at the photo, keep in mind that this combination had been growing for two and a half months and has been faithfully watered. The fiberglass pot was probably at least twenty inches in diameter. You could imitate this full sun combo, known as Combo #3, in a twelve or fourteen inch pot with one Colocasia ‘Hawaiian Punch’ (a bit smaller than the ‘Thailand Giant’ shown in the picture), three lantana, and three sweet potato vines. If yellow is not your favorite color, you could change the color of the lantana. This combo is $47 plus tax.
I love the form of ornamental grasses and when the foliage is colored, it is a bonus. Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’ is a moderately sized pink to red grass and did quite well for me a few years ago on my sunny front porch in a twelve inch concrete pot. I planted it center back and then added Helichrysum petiolatum ‘Lime’ (Licorice Plant) on asymmetrically on the sides and hot pink petunias in the center front and in back on the right side. Combo #4 is not as drought tolerant as #2 but thrives in hot sun as long as you water every few days. Periodically during the summer, pinch the licorice plant and the petunias to make them bushy instead of straggly. Combo #4 consisting of one Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’, two Helichrysum petiolatum ‘Lime’, and two hot pink petunias is $34.50 plus tax.
For those of you with shade, I suggest another combination I saw on the PPA tour last summer in a twelve inch container. It was very simple: white Caladium with green edges and red splashes plus trailing Creeping Wire Plant (Muhlenbeckia axillaris). There are also caladium with pink instead of red and any small leafed, shade loving, green trailing plant such as ivy or asparagus fern could be substituted for the Muhlenbeckia. You, too, can have Combo #5 – two Caladium, two Creeping Wire Plant (plant on the sides), and one asparagus fern for the center front that you can work through the caladium leaves – $37.50.
Next week, I’ll have some suggestions for windowboxes.