An ongoing series of beautiful container ideas

Story and Photo by Diana Sageser

Pictured here is a very simple, yet striking container for sunny locations. Using only three plant varieties, but choosing different colors that blend nicely gives this pot the “wow” factor. As the plants mature and begin to drape over the front and sides, this will become quite the showstopper.

Let’s start in the front with a plant that I used to loathe, but now use happily – the Petunia.

In the past, I hated working with these flowering nightmares! They had to be deadheaded all the time and if you didn’t wear gloves, you would end up with a sticky smelly mess all over your fingers. These flowers appeared in every grandmother’s garden, and since we loved our grannies, we helped keep her flowers looking nice.

All of this has changed with the introduction of new petunia hybrids. The petunias in this container are hybrids (P. x atkinsiana), Surfinia Sky Blue (‘Keilavbu’) and Brilliant Pink (‘Revolution Brilliantpink’). Surfinia petunias can become a bit bushy, so pruning will help this plant fill out a pot nicely. The individual used in this pot are and.

Another interesting characteristic of the Surfinia series is the flower color: as the temperatures climb, the color becomes deeper. This plant is perfect for Florida winters and springs, as it prefers to be sheltered from hot sun. Hardy in Zones 9-11, petunias are usually grown as flowering annuals.

Many people will recognize the dark green plant in the center of this container as sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum). I love going to my local nursery and gently brushing the basil plants and enjoying that unique smell. Basil plants like full sun and are considered very low maintenance. Pinching them in the center not only encourages bushy growth, but it gives you fresh herbs to add to whatever you may be cooking. 

While this plant does develop small white flowers, it is best to keep these pinched back or the plant will finish its life and die back. Leaves may be dried, but I prefer making them into pesto and freezing for later use. Listed as hardy in Zones 2-11, basil plants are usually grown as annuals.

An old-fashioned favorite, snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) is in the back of arrangement. Antirrhinum majus is aptly named: In Greek, anti means “like” while rhis refers to “nose or snout.” How many of us used to play with snapdragons, gently pressing the on the sides to watch its little mouth open and close?

Unless you go to a very specialized nursery, chances are you will find snapdragons as dwarf (8-12 inches tall), intermediate (12-24 inches tall), or tall (24-36 inches tall). They are usually available in mixed colors, but sometimes you can get specific cultivars.

Hardy in Zones 7-10, snapdragons flower best in cooler temperatures. They attract both hummingbirds and butterflies and may be cut back to encourage more growth and flowers. Avoid overhead watering these perfect Florida winter and spring plants. 

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