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.
The Anatomy of a Container Garden
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.
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.
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.
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.