Thursday, September 4, 2014

Containers 2014

I like growing things in pots, both annuals and perennials. Most of the time I put only one variety in each pot. As with every year, this last summer, some pots were more successful than others.

Here is a review of what I grew in pots in 2014 and how well they did. The most successful was an alstroemeria. The variety, Fabiana, has variegated foliage which adds interest even when the plant is not in bloom.

Alstromeria 'Fabiana'





In winter. I take the alstromeria out of the pot and sink it in the vegetable garden. This is rather tricky, because if I put it too deep, it is sitting in water. The secret is to put it an inch or so below the soil surface with a lot of mulch on top. Over the years, I have had problems finding plants that would go well with this very colorful Vietnamese pot. If flowers are too bright they compete with the pot. This subdued Alstroemeria seems to be the best thing for it.


It only starts blooming in early July, but then it stays covered with flowers till frost. Alstroemeria seems to grow just as well in a pot as in the ground.

Every year I grow various hostas in pots. They also seem to do just as  well in pots as in the ground, and of course in a pot they are to a large extant  protected from slugs and snails. The one below is 'Sagae' with yellow Creeping Jenny at the base.

Hosta sagae and Creeping Jenny
This year I put all my Sedum matrona in one large low pot, and it worked quite well. They are now in bloom and look especially good. But all through the summer, before the blooms came, the foliage was attractive. Like the hosta above, I take these sedums out of the pot in the autumn, and they winter in the ground, in the vegetable garden.

Sedum matrona



I have a few tender trees I take to a dark cellar where temperatures do not get much below -1 Celsius. The figtree on the right is used to this regimen, but I am not sure what I will do with the Eugenia myrtifolium (I have two of them) which I just bought this spring. They are originally from Australia and are zone 10-11. No cold cellar for them!


Eugenia myrtifolium and Fig tree on the right
The lotus did not do very well this year. It put out a few leaves, but there were no flowers. I have no idea what went wrong. The plant might have needed more fertilizer as lotuses are heavy feeders.

Lotus 'Mrs. Perry D. Slocum'



I also grow annuals in pots. This year I had a variety of nasturtiums in one of my black pots. They did well, but I should have added some nasturtium seeds when the plants started blooming because they now (early September) look quite awful. It I had seeded replacement plants earlier in the season, these would now be at their best.



In another of these black pots, I have some 'radio' calendulas  that keep company to the tomatoes.


I grew Torenia for the first time this year. In these small pots, they stayed nice for about two months. They were in full shade. I expect they would have performed better (and longer) in the ground.


Torenia
These yellow portulacas did also very well. It looks as if they will stay covered with flowers till the first frost.



To end with, some China Asters (in Chinese pots) on the left and some begonias from two bulbs that were blooming for the third year this summer.



20 comments:

  1. I love big pots and have quite a few in and around the gardens. There are many that have to go into the greenhouse every fall but they are worth the trouble.

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  2. I haven't come across that Alstromeria before, it's really unusual. Next year I want to try growing hostas in pots, with a bit of copper tape around the rim. It is a complete and utter waste of time in the ground here.

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    1. Hosta do very well in pots. They even increase.

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  3. Your pots all look superb! They are a statement to the care you give them as all the plants look so happy.

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    1. Thank you Pauline but I did not show you the actual failures!

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  4. Your pots are all flourishing. I love my hostas in pots too and also grow most of my veggies in big containers. Do you move your hosta inside over the winter?

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    1. I transfer the hostas that are grown in pots to the vegetable beds for the winter. You have to have good labels because when you have to dig them up in the spring, there is no way to find out which is which. Many people just put the pots on their side and they survive well. I have hesitated do to this so far because I am afraid the pots might crack.

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  5. The alstroemeria looks like a great choice for midsummer, when a lot of other plants have either finished blooming or haven't yet gotten there.

    At first I was wondering why your potted perennials keep going into the veggie patch, but I guess it's all cleared out by fall and you're using it as a nursery bed?

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    1. That is it. The veggie bed becomes a nursery bed.

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  6. Some great looking containers Alain. I love that Alstroemeria. I planted one in the ground this year but it has very bright blooms, your variety is lovely and delicate.

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    1. They don't survive the winter here. This is why I have to bury it in the ground and put mulch on top.

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  7. Sedum in pots are doing very well indeed. Yours look like a crassula. And the design of the pot of alstroemeria is a barock as the variagated form can be :)
    Bonne soirée

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    1. The sedum variety is "Matrona", it is a darker pink than Autumn Joy and the like Of course sedums belong to the Crassulaceae family but you are right. This one is more like a cassula.

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  8. Wonderful Alain!
    I love containers as well. I put the drainage of foam plastic in each and the containers are not heavy so I move the plants to sunny spots or in shady spot when it's necessary. I love Creeping Jenny too and grow it under roses because no weeds in this case.Lovely ideas of combination! Your pots are interesting especially Vietnamese one.

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  9. Very good post. Your point about planting later nasturtiums seeds is a good one, I wish I had done that.

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  10. I love your pots, the Alstroemeria is gorgeous and what a good idea growing Sedum in a pot, it is very effective. I would love to try the lotus, have you ever got one to flower?

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    1. The lotus has bloomed in previous years. The growing tip is supposed to be very brittle and if you break it the plant dies. Knowing this has frighten me off trimming the roots. However I suspect it has not bloom this year because it has a huge ball of roots that ought to be trimmed. Next Spring I will take the plunge and trim - advienne que pourra!

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  11. Hello Alain, I particularly like the hosta underplanted with the creeping jenny because uUsually it's the hosta that is used for the underplanting and I really like how that's been turned on it's head in that pot.

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  12. I am glad you like it Sunil. They seem to work well together.

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