Everyone loves a beautiful container of plants by their front door for the summer but knowing what plants to put in them can be a little daunting at times. Below you will find a few ideas and tips from Clippings Floral Design to make your patio planters stand out from the rest!
Choosing a Container
First choose a container. Pick something that suits the surroundings, black and sleek for a modern look, terra cotta or stone look urn for a classical setting or bright and colourful for a fun whimsical atmosphere. Be sure that the container is sturdy enough to stand up to the elements. It will also need drainage holes so your plants don’t become water logged after heavy rainfall. Your container must be large enough to not only add visual balance to your plants but also physical weight to keep everything in place on windy days. If you are worried just fill the bottom with some gravel or old bricks which will help to weigh it down. Just be sure not to block the drainage holes and leave enough space for your soilless potting mix which will accommodate the roots of the plants when they reach their maximum size.
Plan before you shop for plants.
Where will your container reside? Will the plants be in full sun, partial shade or full shade? Choose plants with the same light and watering requirements so that they are all happy and healthy when planted together. This may narrow down your choices a bit but there will still be lots to choose from! Think about the overall look you want to achieve. For a bold and showstopping look go for bright contrasting colours with lush leaves and large flowers. For a more calming feel, go with subtle muted colours in similar tones with softer petite foliage. Remember to buy plants that will compliment your container.
When shopping start by choosing a focal plant.
It should be the tallest and command attention. A good rule of thumb is that it should be one to one and a half times the height of the pot when full grown. Anything more than twice as tall as the pot is too much and may look out of proportion. Plants to consider are canna lilies, elephant ears, ornamental grasses and banana plants.
Next choose a medium height plant that will fill in the bulk of the container. These should be lower than the tallest plant and fill in the mid-range of your design. Plants to consider are geraniums, begonias, verbena and coleus.
To finish off your design, choose trailing plants that will fill in the bottom portion of your design and spill over the container, sometimes even growing as low as the ground. But be sure not to overdo it and cover all of your beautiful container. Plants to consider are sweet potato vine, creeping jenny, asparagus fern and petunias.
Depending on the size of your container use at least 1 focal plant, 2-4 medium filler plants and 1-3 trailing plants.
Some other options to consider are planters with all greenery, all succulents or even all herbs and vegetables! Use plants with different shape, colour and textured leaves to add interest but the rules of thumb from above would still apply.
Most importantly have fun with it, don’t be afraid of colour and there is always next year for a different exciting look if you can’t decide on just one!