Vail Landscape Logic column: Try these mid-season fix-ups for flower containers on the fritz
July 15, 2017
By early July, it's common to have patio containers that are a mix of thriving flowers and foliage as well as some stragglers that are less than lush.
Maybe you were on a trip or have been too busy to water, mix the fertilizer and dead-head the blooms regularly — it happens.
Fortunately, there are quick fixes that can get containers shaped up for the rest of patio season. Here are things you can do to restore your container ambiance.
If most of the plants are dead or droopy, then pitch them and pick up a ready-to-go planter filled with annuals from the local garden center. Another fast fix is a color bowl or hanging basket you can drop in to your existing container. Your do-it-yourself investment will cost drive time plus how long it takes to remove the old plants from the container and put fresh plants in it. The makeover will be instant.
Replacing a few plants
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If only a few plants look scruffy, then remove them and drop in fresh plants in their place. But before you get replacements, try to diagnose what went wrong.
Was the failing plant a shade plant in too much sun — or a sun-lover placed in the shade?
Did you plant a lower-water plant next to a thirsty one? Plants with mismatched water needs can cause one of them to fail.
Once you have selected good replacements, it will probably not take more than five minutes per container to replant.
What about bare spots?
If plants got unevenly spaced at planting, or only one plant needs to be removed, then there are quick fixes that may not require adding more plants. Here are a few ideas:
A bare spot in the center of a container is a great place for a large candle and even to add a glass hurricane around it if there's room. Once the hurricane is in place, but before setting the candle in it, fill the inside with enough clean white sand to cover the soil.
Use obelisks to add height and form in containers.
Dried branches with unique shapes can do the same. With a few more minutes, you can spray paint branches in metal tones or bright colors to fit in with your decor.
Other objects such as glass orbs, little sculptures, small animals or figurines made for gardens — or any artistic element that matches your style and decor — can quickly fill a bare spot. Even a little truck or tractor from the kids' toy box can be a fun addition.
With minimal time and effort, slightly shabby containers can be dressed up and ready for the next patio party.
Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.
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