Container gardening gives gardeners great flexibility. Container plants add interest, color and creativity to a garden and containers and planters can be moved as you change your mind or your mood.
Organic potting soil is now available from most retailers so the next step for the organic gardener is to determine what you want to achieve with your container gardening. Do you want to let the kids grow a small herb garden? Do you want the container to hang off your arbor or do you want to add additional color to a section of your landscape?
Container soil dries out quickly so they generally need more watering than you might think. You might not have a lot of extra time, so dead heading plants or doing a lot of pruning is also something you want to avoid. The good news is that there are plenty of low maintenance plants you can try in your container garden.
These are some easy to care for full sun plants that I love growing in my organic container garden:
– Chenille Plant: This looks like something Harry Potter would grow in Professor Sprout’s Botany class. Trailing lighter green leaves with fuzzy red tassels make this a great plant for a hanging container.This plant is an annual even here in Texas – it hates the cold and doesn’t even like temps in the 60’s. Of course, that’s why I found it in the big box retailer’s indoor plant section in February! Fortunately, I kept it safe indoors and now it thrives in the sun with daily watering and admiring glances. It makes me smile every time I look at it. (Hardy to zones 10 & 11 – annual for everyone else).
– Blue Daze: Another trailing annual – this time with blue green leaves and vivid blue flowers that close during the latter half of the day. Blue Daze loves full sun to to part shade and is able to handle hot summer days. (Hardy to zones 10 & 11 – annual for everyone else).
– Periwinkle: a/k/a Vinca. Don’t plant this annual too early either, this plant loves it sunny, hot and dry. The leaves will curl up if you go too long without water and revive quickly with some moisture so it’s really hard to not like this plant. I like to use the Mediterranean periwinkle – it’s a trailing version I’ve used with success in containers and as an annual for more color in my landscape. The trailing version usually can be found in white with a red center or pinkish red with a white center. The trailing periwinkle is becoming more popular – you can find them in the big box stores now. I’ve planted this for each of the last 8 seasons and the hummingbirds, bees and butterflies love them! Some gardeners have stayed away from this plant due to a related fungus problem that can infect other plants. However, this is not a problem when you follow an organic program.
– Lantana: This is another no worries full sun trailing plant that does well in containers or your landscape. Technically, lantana’s are hardy from zones 9-11 but I’ve had Lantana’s return in my southern facing yard for the last 8 years here in North Texas (zone 7). The root system of the more upright growing lantana get about 3 inches wide in just one season. Pulling them out at the end of the season is a little like dealing with that plant from “Little Shop of Horrors”. But the trailing purple or white have returned each year and love it hot and dry. Butterflies love any kind of lantana and we have great fun in September gently shaking the plant and watching the cloud of butterflies fly up in into the air.
Whatever you want to do – just do it! Organic container gardening is easy if you select the right plants for your lifestyle and your area. Let me know about your favorite container plants.
Susan LaRocca has experience in landscaping and organic gardening in the Dallas, Texas area. Learn more about organic gardening by visiting her blog http://organicgardenerviewsnews.blogspot.com/.
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