An ongoing series of container recipes

Story and Photo by Barbara Wise

Another name I considered for this recipe was “The Three Little Shade Plant Varieties That Never Give Up.” To be such delicate looking plants, these three varieties have proven to be summertime workhorses – as long as they stay out of the afternoon sun. The biggest stress factor I’ve seen affect this recipe is being placed in a very windy location – the Cordyline gets quite battered. I’ve found them all underwatered at some point and watched with amazement as they rebounded with several days of consistent watering. 

Begin planting this recipe by making sure you leave room for the Cordyline root ball when pouring the potting soil into the planter. Once this has been positioned and planted in the middle of the planter, add soil loosely around the root ball and continue planting impatiens and Torenia according to the diagram.

This large container may look a little sparse at first with the 4-inch plants, but both the impatiens and torenia grow rapidly and will fill in quickly. These impatiens could also benefit from a gentle pinching of 1-2 inches off the top of the plants to encourage it to fill out more. This can be done at planting and then about 45 days later. Butterfly Deep Pink has smaller flowers, but redeems itself by the way they cover the plant. 

The more morning sun this container receives, the more water will be needed for the plants to remain healthy. While quite content in dappled shade or with a couple of hours of early morning sun, these plants will tolerate sun up until noon except in very hot climates. Keeping the soil evenly moist seems to be the key to success. 

After removing the summer annuals, replant in a smaller planter that can be placed in a sunny area of your home. Keep the planter away from drafts and the drying effects of heater vents.

Shade Combo:
A. 1 3-gallon Hawaiian ti (Cordyline fruticosa ‘Black Magic’) 
B. 9 wishbone flower (Torenia ‘Golden Moon’) 
C. 8 Butterfly Deep Pink impatiens (Impatiens ‘Butly Depink’) 

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