If you are like most people you still have one “hole to fill” or you have found a couple of empty containers in the garage or basement or storage unit that you want to plant with something that will grow fast. Good news, there are fast growing annuals such as the wave petunia or impatiens that will grow so fast that they will amaze you and both can be planted in the ground or in containers such as hanging baskets, window boxes or just regular pots.
When planting late in the season it is a good idea to place your plants a little closer than recommended by the label as the object is to fill in the space fast. This is especially true if you decide to use plants that are not so fast growing such as vinca, a great plant to grow in a very sunny and hot spot that doesn’t get a lot of water. Vinca, sometimes called periwinkle or pera-vinca has the look of impatiens but with totally opposite growing habits. We used vinca in front of our business one year and I almost never had to water them the whole season long. It took them longer to fill-in but they were worth the wait.
When planting up a window box or a large container, the spacing rules never apply. You want to use upright growing and hanging plants at the same time. You want to mix up the colors of both the flowers and the foliage, as many plants have red leaves, not just green. I like to vary the colors wisely by mixing reds, yellows, blues, whites, and sometimes pinks. But I feel that some colors clash such as light lavender and red or red and orange…I don’t know, it’s just a matter of taste. I have seen several shades of pink all in one pot, and it looked great. Truth-be-told, all colors look great together.
And not everything has to be flowering. Many of the non-flowering plants such as sweet-potato vine, licorice vine, lotus vine and many other vines add color and give that hanging effect to pots filled with plants that only grow upright. Vinca-vine, asparagus fern and spike can now be replaced by more interesting plants such as annual grasses, cleome, black and blue salvia, German ivy or angelonia, and many more. You can be extravagant by starting with a large blooming plant such as the hibiscus tree or oleander tree and then fill-in around the base with vines and blooming flowers.
It’s definitely not too late to bring more beauty onto your patio or porch by using annuals for a great splash of color all summer long. Be cautious of the use of perennials in container gardening as perennials have a short, limited blooming time and can therefore be very un-eventful most of the time. Don’t get me wrong however, a shrub or a tree in a container on both sides of the front door might be just the thing you need to finish off that “formal” look.