Plant ideas for large planters

Written by jan weiss
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Plant ideas for large planters
An example of a large container garden (spikes & flowers image by Tracy Horning from

Large containers provide room for a variety of plant choices in a variety of environments. Gardeners can use these spaces for edible gardens with colourful vegetable choices, or as a showpiece with textured leaves and bold florals. Consider plant size and compatibility for the most success in this garden design. For best results, container gardens should always contain plants that take the same amount of water and light.

Height and Texture

Create a container garden that offers plants of varying heights and texture that complement each other. In the centre plant Purple Majesty, a palm-leafed plant with purple-toned, spiky leaves. Around the purple plant include yellow flowering species that warm the cool tones of purple. Choose marigolds, coreopsis and golden coloured Peek-A-Boo; each of these has long lasting flowers and bloom in warm weather. Along the base of the plants, cascading down over the edge, include Silver Mist. This foliage choice softens the bright colours with its silky leaves, and will look healthy for several months. This container design requires full sun, and dead flowers should be pinched off so new flowers can bloom.

Shade Lovers

In a shaded spot, place a large container with potting soil and choose plants based on leaf colour and texture; accent them with flowering annuals. In the centre, place two begonia plants that have glossy green leaves and small pink flowers. Next to this, plant a cluster of impatiens in purples and reds and add leafy plants such as coleus and Purple Lady. Coleus do not flower; the character of this plant is in the leaves that are offered in a variety of red and green tones as well as deep purple. This selection of plants loves warm temperatures, but grows best in shaded areas with regular watering.

Dramatic Shade Plants

Make a statement in a shady area by planting a large container with hostas. Hostas are easy to grow, require little maintenance and add texture and colour to gardens. In a large container, plant a variety of species that has the potential to grow to a considerable size, such as Sum and Substance. Only plant one hosta in each container. Balance the dramatic green of the hosta leaves with colour by planting nasturtiums---a shade-loving plant that grows well in both warm and cool climates. Nasturtiums are edible and can be used on salads.

An Edible Garden

Create an edible garden by choosing vegetables that will grow tall and have attractive fruit as well. Tomatoes and red peppers are both excellent picks. Plant a tomato plant in the centre of a large container with a diameter of at least 24 inches---the plant must drain well so extra space is necessary. At the base of the plant include low-growing herbs such as thyme and oregano. This container should be placed in full sun and tomatoes must have at least six hours of sun per day to ripen properly. Once the growing season is over, remove the tomato plants and add cold-weather vegetables, such as arugula and red leaf lettuce, for year-round gardening.

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