Create an outdoor oasis on your deck or patio with flowerpot arrangements. Combine different heights and colours for dramatic impact, choose one colour as a theme for many pots, or group a collection of varied plants.
Check labels before planting, and put only plants with similar water and sun needs in the same pot. For instance, don't combine sedum, which needs full sun and little water, with impatiens, which need shade and lots of water to flourish.
The size of your deck or patio is an important consideration. Large, overflowing arrangements will not look as well in smaller areas. Balance the size and area for a better visual effect.
Vary the heights of your plants in your container. Try a tall grass like Juncus with a medium-height geranium and a trailing lobelia. Surround an Escobaria cactus with the arching stems of aeolanthus and a trailing moss rose. Combine purple fountain grass, coleus and sweet potato vines. Or plant dracaena, petunias and Creeping Jenny for a colourful mix.
For a hanging plant, grow English ivy in the same container as an aeroplane plant. As they mature, the ivy will trail down in a multitude of leaves while the aeroplane plant will produce offshoots among the ivy.
Many of your container plants will be annuals because of their bright colours and full-season blooming. Combine pansies with daisies in different colours for a bright theme. Monochromatic combinations can be striking. Place a pot of "Squeeky Clean" nemesia and "Supertunia Mini White" petunias in front of a green hedge. The strong white flowers will really stand out.
Arranging pots together in one section will be more striking than scattering them all over the patio. Bring your houseplants outside during the frost-free season and group them. Try a colourful collection of potted sunflowers, black-eyed Susans and hens-and-chicks.
Pots are Important
Use decorative pots that have built-in stands for trailing plants. Make sure the pots have adequate drainage.
Cactus looks good in terracotta or brightly coloured plastic pots. If you don't like the terracotta colour, use a latex primer and then paint a different colour.
Hanging basket frames filled with coconut fibre are a good choice for plants that require moisture.
Use pots shaped like animals for small arrangements of daisies, pansies or Christmas cactus.