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Our Front Porch Containers Three Year Review

May 15, 2014

Rita and I just planted our front porch containers trying two new plants and using one old standby that has worked well for us in the past as the focal point.  Thought you would like to see how this year’s container compares to those we have planted in previous years.

Last week we planted a Mexican Feather Grass in the center, surrounded by 3 'Strawberry Punch' Superbells, and 3 'Diamond Frost' Euphorbias. (Click on photo to enlarge)

Last week we planted a Mexican Feather Grass in the center, surrounded by 3 ‘Strawberry Punch’ Superbells, and 3 ‘Diamond Frost’ Euphorbias. (Click on photo to enlarge)

We planted a single Croton Zanzibar in the center, surrounded by 2 ‘Goldi’ Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny), 2 ‘Bonfire’ Begonia and 2 ‘Black Dragon’ Coleus.

Last year we planted a single Croton Zanzibar in the center, surrounded by 2 ‘Goldi’ Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny), 2 ‘Bonfire’ Begonia and 2 ‘Black Dragon’ Coleus.  This picture was taken in summer, so you can see how the plants filled out the container (click on photo to enlarge).

 

One year we planted a single Mexican Feather Grass in the center.  We then surrounded it with 3 ‘Golden Ingot’ Ivy plants, 3 ‘Golden Globe’ Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny) and 3 ‘Charmed Wine’ Oxalis plants.

One year we planted a single Mexican Feather Grass in the center. We then surrounded it with 3 ‘Golden Ingot’ Ivy plants, 3 ‘Golden Globe’ Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny) and 3 ‘Charmed Wine’ Oxalis plants. This picture was taken fall of that year after a full summer’s growth.  (Click photo to enlarge)

Our friends and neighbors are always saying: “Your containers look better than mine… what is your secret?”  We tell them we have three secrets to growing great looking containers.

Our first secret is to combine plants with interesting texture, color and growth habit.  They can be annuals, perennials, small shrubs, grasses or most any plant you like.  Sometimes it is easier to work with odd numbers of plants for each plant you select (1, 3 or 5), however this is not a hard fast rule if you can achieve balance with an even number.

Our second secret is to use great soil.  Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix (click here to learn more) works well because moisture is supplied to the plants as they need it.  This soil is less likely to pull away from the inside of the container when it dries between watering, which means your water does not bypass the soil to drain out of the bottom holes like you can experience with other potting soils.  Rita and I are big believers in this soil!  And before I forget, we start with fresh soil each time we plant.  We learned this lesson one year when we took a short cut to save a little money by reusing our soil the second year.  The containers were not as good that year.  We now mix the old soil into our garden.

And our third secret is to not let our plants starve.  We fed these containers with Osmocote (click here to learn more) a few weeks after we planted. The Miracle-Gro plant food that came in the soil gets the new plants off to a great start.  The Osmocote then takes over and provides continuous feeding throughout the summer.

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