5 Container Garden Perennials To Try

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It’s that time of year for getting our gardens looking pretty… and at the latest Metro Atlanta Landscape & Turf Association (now part of the Georgia Urban Ag Council) meeting, Drew Watkins and JR Richardson of Frank A. Smith Nurseries, talked about some new container plants for your garden that I want to share with you.

Polemonium reptans “Touch of Class”Polemonium_TouchOfClass_3

Polemonium is a genus of around 30 species in the family Polemoniaceae.  It has a light texture-lacy foliage and forms a low mound.  In the South it flowers from mid-Spring to early Summer.  After the plant has finished blooming it may need to be cut back to allow for a fresh flush of foliage.  To plant the Polemonium it needs a rich, low woodland planting, loose organic well drained soil – consistent moisture.  The plant will labor in high humidity heat.

Arizona Red Shades GaillardiaArizona red shades

Gaillardia is a genus of 25 or so species native to North and South America in the species of Asteraceae.  Unlike the more common Gaillardias, this cultivator sports well, branched, uniform plants and produces masses of brick red blooms with darker central cones throughout the summer.  Needs full sun, loose sandy soil, likes it hot.  Once it’s established it’s pretty maintenance free.  It’s an easy to grow and grows stronger during dry periods.  Perfect for containers and borders.  Grows about 12 inches high, 10-12 inches wide.

Punica granatum “Purple Sunset”pomegranate_purple+sunset

Pomegranates are making a comeback with interesting new cultivators.  “Purple Sunset” is a dwarf cultivator selected for its large orange flowers which appear throughout the Summer before they bear edible, purple-black fruit in the fall.  Starts out red-tinged and turns to green.  It has a mounding habit to 3’ tall x 4’ wide.  Holds leaves late into the fall before turning yellow-green deciduous.  Prefers full sun and well drained soil, but tolerant of a variety of sites.  Will grow in clay soils.  It’s great in a large pot or planter as a center.

Ligularia dentata “Britt Marie Crawford”/Black-Leaved LigulariaLigulariaBrittMarieCrawfordThis is another great container plant.  Leaves are chocolate/maroon above and purple below.  Later in the Summer bright yellow daisy like flowers appear.  In the south, the plant does best with partial/afternoon shade.  Liqularias prefer consistent moisture.  Great with chartreuse foliage annuals.

Nerium Oleander “Tenfourteen”Nerium_oleander10This is an oleander that collected from a specimen growing here in the Atlanta area that has shown superior foliage integrity over the past 6 winters.  It has remained green through temps as low as 12 degrees and several occasions of 13-15 degrees.  This is unique as the hardy cultivators.  Other cultivators have exhibited leaf damage in temps below 15 degrees.  This plant has not yet exhibited leaf damage during late winter early spring warm-ups (sap movement time).  In addition to the foliage, the plants starts blooming in June and flowers through September with bright magenta.  5 petal flowers bourne in terminal cymes.   Oleanders are very toxic and should be handled with caution.  Plants need no care once established.  They only demand full sun and good drainage.  It’s good as a specimen shrub or tree form – will work well in large container too.

Have fun planting! And check out our amazing landscape transformations in the May 2011 issue of Atlanta Home Improvement.

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