Set the Scene for Summer
1. Choose your Planters: ceramics – whiskey barrels/wood – lightweight plastics – terra cotta window boxes – pots – bowls – hanging baskets – strawberry pots
2. Survey the Plants (take your time): Choose from annuals, perennials and tropicals. Keep in mind their sun requirements. When deciding what to put in a planter, we suggest setting them on your cart or a table to get an idea of the arrangement. Container rule of thumb: find a thriller (tall plant), filler (medium height, usually bushy), and spiller (something trailing).
- Zesty – hot reds, yellows and oranges
- Sweet – pinks, purples and blues
- Whites – to brighten arrangements
- Colorful Foliage – contrasts with green leaves and contrast or complement flowers
3. Enjoy your Setting: It’s not rocket science. Have fun arranging your plants. Every year should be a new experience. Maybe this is the year to try banana trees!
These sweet flowers are a big hit in summer gardens. They are available in white and shades of pink, cherry-red, and purple – some in solid colors and others with an “eye” of color in the center of the flower. Vinca are perfect for garden borders or in planters and grow 12-15” tall. These low-maintenance annuals will grow in full to part sun, are drought and heat tolerant and prefer a well-drained soil.
Pizzazz for your planters and garden! Iresine has richly colored foliage that can be planted on its own or used to complement and contrast with flowering displays. It will reach 12-18 inches in height and loves the heat and humidity. Plant in a location with full to partial sun (the more sun it gets, the better the color) and a rich, well drained soil.
Available in white and shade of blue and pink, easy-to-grow, Lobelia is both beautiful on its own or serving as a filler plant around other annuals. This low-growing, compact plant sports masses of petite flowers making it excellent for hanging baskets, garden borders or the edges of planters. Lobelia prefers full sun and rich, moist soil.
One of the most versatile foliage annuals – there are coleus for shade, coleus for sun, coleus with tiny leaves and coleus with hand-sized leaves and this doesn’t even touch on all of the different leaf shapes, leaf colors and color combinations. You could plant a bed (or planter) full of just coleus and never want for a flower. But if you do add flowers, you can make a humdinger of a planting!
These are geraniums with attitude! Not only do you get pretty flowers but you also get eye-catching foliage. Some are silvery, some are dark and others have a splash of bright color on the leaves. Geraniums enjoy good air circulation so don’t crowd them in plantings and pinch off spent blooms to encourage new ones.
Perfect in both planters and garden settings, the Persian shield is a beautiful foliage plant for full to part sun areas. Growing about 4-7 inches long and 2-3 inches wide, the pointy, silvery purple leaves have dark green veins and shimmer in the sunlight. The plant can grow 2-3 feet tall and pairs wonderfully with dusty miller, lantana, petunias, bacopa, and calibrachoa.
Pansies flower and look their best in cool weather; that is, in fall and in spring. They may be either fall or spring planted. They will usually be in bloom when you purchase them, and, if fall-planted, continue flowering into December or later. They stop blooming during the cold of winter, when temperatures are consistently below freezing, but if given some care, the plants will hunker down and survive the cold.
As the days get warmer in March, pansies begin to flower again, and look downright spectacular in April and into May. As the temperatures get hot going into summer, the plants get leggy (stretched) and the flowers get smaller. In our climate, they generally look so miserable in summer heat that gardeners replace them with summer annuals.
Most people think about planting pansies in the early spring, but there are a few other annuals that will tolerate cooler temperatures as well… One of our favorite is snapdragons, as they provide a mass of brightly colored, unique blossoms that are sure to liven up your beds or containers.
While chilly night temperatures persist, you must still exercise some caution. They are best planted when night temperatures remain above 50 degrees. If the forecast is for colder nights, cover them with a box or lightweight sheet overnight to protect them. Mix them in with pansies, stocks, dusty miller, calibrachoa, ornamental grasses and/or mums for bright plantings in the garden or in containers. And don’t forget, snapdragons make excellent cut flowers, so grow a few extra to bring indoors.
Loving the cool spring weather, English Daisies with their low, compact foliage are perfect for planters and garden borders alone or mixed with spring flowers such as pansies, alyssum and snapdragons. The 2-inch flowers (borne on stems 4-6 inches tall) have a yellow center surrounded by fringed petals in white and shades of pink.
Osteospermum (a.k.a. Cape Daisy or African Daisy) – These annual daisy bushes will “paint” the garden or planters with vivid colors. They love the cool spring weather and prefer a sunny, well-drained location. Like most daisy flowers, Osteospermum make great cut flowers though the stems are not particularly long. Trim off faded flowers to promote new ones.
HGTV HOME PLANT COLLECTIONS
Available at Behnke’s (in season) – You’ll find pots and pots of annuals locally grown by professionals who know what grows best in our area. Choose from single varieties or mixed pots of beautiful color. Just look for the easy-to-recognize HGTV logo on the pots.
Beautiful hanging baskets of flowering annuals add instant pizzazz to any garden area hanging from a shepherd’s hook, sitting on a patio table, or suspended from a tree branch. Choose from many different kinds of flowers in lots of colors.
Petunias are wonderfully versatile annuals, blooming not only in the hot summer but also in the cooler spring months. You can plant them with pansies now and then pair them up with warm weather annuals later. Just remember to fertilize them to keep the blooms coming.
Watch the butterflies line up for seconds as loads of flowers (available in reds, oranges, yellows pinks,and lavenders) produce lots of food all summer long. Lantana need a sunny location with well-drained soil. Pinch off spent blooms to encourage new ones.
The Thriller: This is usually the “head” plant that has an interesting shape, bold flowers or big leaves. It should add vertical interest and say “Wow” to passersby. The thriller will take up position in the center or back of the pot. Grasses, dracena spikes, cannas, banana plants, tall ferns, colocasias, tall coleuses are just a few examples.
The Filler: Just as the name suggests these are the “body” of the container garden. They fill in around the thriller and usually compliment or contrast it in color or texture. Most of the time these are flowering annuals (impatiens, petunias, geraniums, etc.) or perennials (heuchera, hosta, low grasses, etc.)
The Spiller: These are the “feet” of the container garden anchoring it to the ground. In addition, the spiller will soften the edge of the pot and again help unify the composition through color or texture. Included in this group are trailing vinca, licorice plant, bocapa, sweet potato vine, creeping dusty millers, lysimachia.
Terra Cotta Pots: Rustic and comfortable, terra cotta pots are a gardener’s staple. They are simple, become more charming with age and feel down-to-earth. The bowl shaped ones make great Fairy Gardens.
Poly Pots: It’s really not fair to call these “plastic”. Many are made from combinations of materials and present themselves as faux stone or clay but much, much lighter. Our selection of poly pots starts with the very small and extends to large porch pots perfect for container gardens.
Ceramic Pots: Bright or subtle but always a classic, ceramic pots make a statement. Their lacquered, shiny finish can add another layer of style to container gardens. Many sizes and types available to dress up your area and set the mood.
Campania Cast Stone Pots: Very grounded, cast stone is ageless and sturdy, denoting a sense of establishment. To this, Campania provides a wonderful selection of styles and color finishes old and new. Look through our store and definitely check out our special orders book.
Why would you want pot feet?
Let me count the ways…..
(1) They keep those nasty dark rings from forming under you pots and staining your decks, patios and porches.
(2) They allow for air circulation at the roots of your plants.
(3) If you place your pot in a flower bed, they keep the drainage holes from becoming clogged and drowning your plants.
Summer Loving Annuals – (usually available during the summer months)
No matter where you live and garden, the summer heat and dry weather can be a challenge. Here are a few annuals that will tolerate the hot, dry summer — even thrive in the sun and heat*.
Choose from the list of heat tolerant annuals below to give you “the biggest bang for your buck” with beautiful blooms right up until frost.
Angelonia – (a.k.a. Summer Snapdragon)
Lantana – (Clusters of flowers in many colors)
Vinca – (An artist palette of color in large blossoms)
Portulaca – (a.k.a. Moss Rose; flowers open with the morning sun and close at night)
Purslane – (Flowers open with the morning sun and close at night)
Pentas – (a.k.a. Egyptian Stars)
Celosia – (Plume type blooms)
When planting in hot weather keep these tips in mind…..
1) Start with healthy plants.
2) Use potting soil that will drain well .
3) When you water, do so thoroughly.
4) Fertilize on a regular basis.
5) Pinch off spent blooms to encourage new ones.
* Please note: Even though these annuals are heat and drought tolerant, they will rely on you to help them get established.
— Still The Height of Fall Fashion
Garden Mums provide so much color in the fall. From the first crack of color to the last remnants of faded petals usually takes about a month, depending on the temperatures, but keep in mind there are many varieties of mums that start and end at different times, so you can enjoy colorful mums from the beginning of September through the end of October and into November if you vary your varieties. The late season varieties start showing color in late September/early October. The season extenders start peeking out early to mid October.