An ongoing series of beautiful container ideas
Story and Photo by Diana Sageser
I love travelling. It gives me a chance to walk around neighborhoods to see what other people have planted. Last year, in Kansas, I came across this stunning container located on the north side of a stone-faced house. Although this was in Zone 5, these plants will perform nicely here in a shady spot.
The star of this pot is Begonia ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’. As you can see, the mounding and trailing growth habit of this plant is spectacular. An endless flow of orange/red flowers is produced on a plant that remains neat and clean with little or no deadheading. The leaves have a nice texture to them as well: They resemble those of an angel wing begonia, but without the glossiness. Kansas is known for its variable weather patterns, which include very hot summers. As you can see, ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’ performs well. Heat and drought tolerant, it is hardy to Zone 7b, but like many container plants, is grown as an annual.
Begonias perform better when watered directly at the soil line rather than overhead. Keep this in mind when placing this pot in your landscape to avoid overhead watering.
Pairing orange with deep purple was an inspired choice. In this case, the partner is Summer Wave Large Blue wishbone flower (Torenia ‘SUNrenilabu’). I cannot say enough about this excellent performer. Wishbone flowers bloom all season and prefer shade or filtered light. They are heat tolerant and extremely low maintenance. And as an added bonus, the Summer Wave series is fragrant. Here in my Zone 9a garden, torenia plants that escaped their pots have popped up in other areas of my garden.
Summer Wave Large Blue grows up to 10 inches tall and can trail up to 36 inches. Nice in a container, this cultivar also does well in hanging baskets. As other Summer Wave torenias, it thrives in high humidity.
The final plant in this awesome container is white impatiens (I. walleriana). Impatiens thrive in heat and humidity. Their leaves are water repellent, giving them a slick, greasy feel. (Note: Due to I. walleriana’s susceptibility to powdery mildew, most garden centers do not stock them. However, New Guinea impatiens (I. hawkeri) and their hybrids, such as the Sunpatiens series, are resistant to powdery mildew, and therefore recommended in place of I. walleriana.)