Mid-Summer Container Update

by Susan Harris

Readers may remember when Homestead’s Kerry Kelley selected plants for my containers, after which I dutifully followed her instructions?  Well, it’s time for my promised update on how they’re faring.  The tension mounts:  Have I killed them yet?  And the honest answer is:  Only one of them – yay!  Details coming right up.

First I have to gush about this dramatic focal point in the middle of a new border in my back yard.   Plants in this large Mexican-style pot include Lantana ‘Pot of Gold’, a chartreuse sweet potato vine, a couple of Angelonia ‘Serena Purple’ and for the “thriller” in this collection, a Canna ‘Emerald Sunset’.   And I’m indeed thrilled with the height on the Canna – rising about four feet out of the top of the pot – and would have been even MORE thrilled if the stalk holding the actual flowers hadn’t broken off somehow.    That stalk added about three feet, so we’re talking seven feet total, y’all, on top of the height of the pot!  I’m betting that the stalk wouldn’t have broken off if I’d planted this baby in the ground where it really wants to be.  Also notice some sunburn on one of the Canna leaves – perhaps unavoidable in this brutal summer we’re having.

Now let’s move on to the pots sitting on my front porch, where they receive intense afternoon sun.  This first one includes one Purple Fountain Grass, two Calibrachoa (a ‘Double Yellow’ and a “Compact Orange”), one purple sweet potato vine, and to trail down the sides of the pot (the “spiller”), a Lysimachia ‘Walkabout Sunset’.   With daily watering occasionally amended with a fish-based fertilizer, these all look terrific  – to my eyes.  (And who else needs to love them, after all?)

On the left you see one Calibrachoa ‘Compact Orange’ doing a great job of spilling, two ‘Vancouver Centennial’ geraniums for “filler,” and for the vertical element, one ornamental millet ‘Jade Princess’.   Wild, huh?  All plants I’d never grown before, but will grow again.

And lastly, the all-one-type planting of three Geranium Grandiosa ‘Merlot Red’  has also held up well, with scattered reblooms at all times.

Now for the failure – if it really is one.  My Orange Osteosermum and Burgundy calibrachoa bloomed, then dried up, apparently for good. (You can see them newly potted-up here on my original post – on the right in the second collage.)  I’m hoping that Kerry will solve this mystery for us for us (while hopefully leaving me a shred of gardener dignity when it’s all said and done.)  So, Kerry?

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