Flowers for summer pots

Untitled Document

Pot Perfect! 10 of the best flowers for summer pots

Whether you're a traditionalist or enjoy something new, there is a wealth of choice for summer pots and baskets. Green fingers are not required for an impressive display that continues right through summer till the first frost.

1

 

Petunia

Petunias, world famous for their reliable pot performance, just keep on getting better. Modern hybrids are more weather resistant, longer and more prolific flowering than ever before. Today's gardeners have a choice of many different plant forms and flower sizes and almost every imaginable colour - even black!

There are two main petunia categories; the 'bedding' petunias and the larger growing 'perennial' forms. The latter group encompass the well-known Colourwave and Sunbells petunias, the Calibrachoas, and new Cali Petites. One plant is all you need to fill a small hanging basket.

New to the bedding plant range this year are the Fuseable Petunias, grown via new technology, which 'fuses' the seed of different varieties to give a tapestry effect that can't be achieved with conventional transplanting.

2

Impatiens

Impatiens haven't always been so widely grown. Today's beloved Busy Lizzie might still be the spindly outsider it was in the sixties, if it weren't for an American plant breeder who saw its potential.

Fantastic for all kinds of containers, today's impatiens are compact, free flowering plants in a wide choice of bright colours. As well as conventional busy lizzies, we have tropical 'New Guinea hybrids' with slightly bigger flowers and colourful foliage. This season sees the release of the Sunpatiens range - impatiens which thrive in full sun.

3

Pelargonium

The archetypical Mediterranean pot geranium, aka 'zonal' pelargonium is no relation to true Geranium. It comes in a wide range of beautiful colours including classic red. Pelargoniums are famously tolerant of heat and drought, while modern strains provide superior disease resistance. Cascading ivy-leafed varieties are ideal for hanging baskets and window boxes.

Because they are frost tender, pelargoniums are best treated as annuals in cold climates. In any climate, buying new plants each year guarantees best flowering.

Plant them in full sun, in well-drained potting mix. They flower best when the mix is kept moist, but your pelargoniums won't be the ones lying flat on their pots when you arrive home from a long weekend. The worst you can do is over water them.

4

Fuchsias

Prolific flowering is rare among shade loving plants, but fuchsias produce masses of dainty flowers all summer long. They look great from below, so are ideal for hanging baskets. There are varieties with a spreading habit for baskets and bushy, upright growers for urns and pots. Look out for the very free-flowering Shadow Dancers series.

Fuchsias are best in part shade and need regular watering. The more sun they get, the more water they will need. Liquid feed once a week to boost flowering.

5

Verbenas

With some wonderful trailing forms and mass displays of pretty flowers, today's verbenas make better pot subjects than their forebears. This is due largely to vastly improved disease resistance, as ongoing breeding programmes continually improve garden performance. The colourful Superbena series are heat tolerant and mildew resistant and can tolerate dry soils and low fertility, which makes them perfect for growing in pots. Superbenas are self-cleaning, so no deadheading is required, although plants will respond well to occasional trimming. Colours include burgundy, coral, blue, white and bright red.

6

Alstroemerias

Not so long ago Alstromerias wouldn't have made anyone's top ten list as container plants but that's before we had the likes of compact 'Princess Lilies' and extremely compact 'Inticanchas'. Another recent release, 'Rock 'n' Roll', offers handsome variegated foliage with bright scarlet flowers.

7

Dahlia

Dwarf dahlias combine well in pots with dainty summer flowers like alyssum and lobelia. They come in a wide range of colours, available both as bedding dahlias on the seedling stands and named varieties such as the NZ bred Hammett cultivars and the ultra compact 'Dahlinovas' (see page 8), at just 20cm tall. A little taller, but still self-supporting, dahlias such as Dr Keith Hammett's 'Mystic Wonder' (see page 5) are fabulous in big pots mixed with other flowers, where their lacy foliage provides a nice contrast.

8

Marigolds

These retro gems are so bright they've often been called 'vulgar', but they remain a first choice among heat and dry tolerant annuals. You can't go wrong with a pot full of cherry French marigolds. Today's very dwarf forms have their roots in the 1950s. Their carnation-like doubles or daisy-like singles come in many shades of yellow and orange.

9

Roses

Watering and feeding is critical when growing roses in containers and small pots are best avoided. However, there a many roses that will thrive in a generous sized pot with good potting mix. Look for disease resistant varieties with a compact growth habit and small leaves. These include the Flower Carpet Roses, and also the Castle Roses, which have the look of old-fashioned roses.

10

Diascia

Colourful perennial Diascias are quick to establish and long lasting, covering their foliage with dainty flowers throughout summer and autumn. The 'Splash' Diascias, in a choice of four colours grow extremely well in containers. They thrive in full sun and withstand summer conditions well, despite their dainty looks. However, they will respond well to regular summer watering and feeding to prolong the incredible flower display. Cut back after flowering to maintain a nice neat shape for next summer.

 

Fillers, spillers and mixers

... more flowers to plant for summer:

  • Sweet alyssum
  • Bacopa
  • Sweet pea
  • Nasturtium
  • Nicotiana
  • Lobelias
  • Nemesia

 

Look for these products, tips and advice at a Go Gardening Store near you.



31-Oct-2011

 

Alfresco patio living - Fuseable Petunia Silk & satin
Fuseable Petunia Silk & satin

Fuseable petunia and bacopa
Fuseable petunia and bacopa

New Guinea Impatiens
New Guinea Impatiens

Pelargonium
Pelargonium

Fuchsia
Fuchsia

Verbena Superbena Royal Red
Verbena Superbena Royal Red

Alstroemeria Inticancha Sunlight
Alstroemeria Inticancha Sunlight

Dahlia Mystic Wonder
Dahlia Mystic Wonder

Marigold
Marigold

Rose
Rose

Diasica
Diasica

Bacopa
Bacopa