In the Garden

Think You Can’t Have Color in the Summer Heat?

Adding color to the landscape is easy and quick with the use of containers.

A container of any size, shape, and color will add color to the landscape, patio, deck, balcony, and porch. The advantage of growing in containers is the ease of changing color, moving the colorful plants to different locations, watering, and fertilizing. Anyone can create a garden in a container.

The size, color, and shape of your containers are all up to you, but invest in good containers you will enjoy for many years. The less-expensive kind fall apart after a few seasons.

For a grouping, use different heights, shapes, and sizes. This display will create depth and variety. Place the containers where you will enjoy seeing them: whether you’re coming or going, sitting in the garden, or looking out from your favorite window. Anywhere will do.
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Once you have selected a location, fill the containers with potting soil and choose the plants. Select plants that will thrive in the light conditions of the site (sun, shade, part sun) and with the same type of water requirements.

Select a tall plant for the middle, shorter plants around the tall plant, and trailing or spilling plants around the edge. We call this thriller, filler, and spiller. Any garden center will help you with the selections.

Remember, the advantage of containers is how easy it is to replace plants anytime they’re out of bloom or have outgrown the containers.

Plants growing in containers will require more water more often than plants growing in the ground. Potting soils with wetting agents keep the soil moist longer. And if fertilizer is not in the potting soil, container plants benefit from frequent light applications water-soluble fertilizer applied with water, liquid fertilizer sprayed on the foliage, or slow-release granular fertilizer.

Slow-release granular fertilizer releases a small amount every time you water and will last for months.

Water plants with a water breaker on the end of a garden hose or a watering can with a water breaker on the spout — water breakers keep the water from displacing and compacting the soil.

Add a bit of bark mulch around the plants to slow evaporation and prevent splashing. As plants grow and temperatures rise, water more frequently.

Containers full of colorful plants will make your summer garden brighter and more enjoyable.

Happy gardening.


Dotty Woodson

Dotty Woodson has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Horticulture from Tarleton State University and a doctoral degree from Texas A&M and Texas Tech Universities for Agricultural Education, Communication, and Leadership. Woodson taught horticulture, irrigation, rainwater harvesting, and landscape water conservation by design, plant selection, and efficient irrigation efficiency for 35 years.

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