Combination flower pots make the landscape

Kathy Henderson

Combining the right flowers and getting the colors that you desire in a specific place in the garden can be challenging, fun and satisfying. I love to mix annuals, perennials and even small shrubs in the same container. Just think of the display as a flower arrangement with roots.

A combination pot arranged by Kathy. Special photo

Here are the steps that I follow when deciding my choices:

1. Choose the container - be as creative as you want. If it has sides, it is a container. If it has a bottom, that bottom must have drainage holes. A rusty bottom bucket, a wooden box or bucket, broken bottom pot or bowl (sink into ground a little) or a sturdy basket. Of course there are always pots that you purchase.

2. A small container (less that 12 inches diameter): Limit the quantity to one of a kind; you can always group several of these together in an area for an assortment of colors and shapes.

3. Use a high quality potting soil that contains peat moss, bark, and perlite

4. For larger containers, make certain that all of the plants you choose like the same conditions - water, sun, soil, fertility.

5. When planting, be sure to anticipate the growth pattern of each plant - upright, spreading, weeping, creeping and just plain vigorous. Don’t choose a vigorous plant to accompany a slow growing one or it will take over the pot.

6. Give them plenty of root and top growth room - Do not crowd the plants.

7. Choose colors and textures that complement each other.

8. If the perennial or shrub gets too large for next years pot, plant it in the garden or pot it up for a gift for a friend.

I like to choose an upright plant, a spreader or bushy plant, and a creeping plant that will hang nicely over the pot. Sometimes you need only 3 or 4 even in a large pot.

Water the pot regularly and give it a liquid fertilizer (one you mix with water) about every 10-14 days or as directed on the package. You will have a beautiful pot to place on your porch, patio, front steps, under a tree, by a garden bench or just about anywhere in the landscape. Combination pots are perfect for areas in the garden where it just does not make sense to dig (around tree roots or near a building).

Take your container if possible to the nursery and set a pot in it to get the effect. If not possible, borrow a similar sized container at the nursery and arrange the plants to get the look you desire.

Have fun with container gardening for herbs, vegetables and flowers.