Mid-season tips to freshen up patio and porch containers

Becky Garber
Landscape Logic
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

With the close of July and the mid-point of the growing season, it’s time to spruce up patio and porch containers. A few fresh plants and ongoing maintenance will keep them lush and lively for the rest of the growing season.

Look at your containers and notice bare areas and the plants that for whatever reason never took off or just aren’t thriving. Even though we do hate the thought of giving up on some plants, you really don’t have to keep the struggling ones and nurse them back to health! The stragglers can be replaced.

Consider the design — do you need to replace the tall “thriller” in your pot? How are the “spiller” plants that cascade over the edge? Or is it “filler” plant that mounds to fill space that needs a fresh look? Once you know the shapes of plants you need to replace, you can look for replacements.

Plants to consider

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Rudbeckia (like the Denver Daisy) – mound and provide good visual interest.

Snapdragons – their tall habit adds height.

Zinnia – use different sizes for color and filler.

Mums – great filler and move well into the fall season.

Kale – green color, texture and interest.

Even herbs, grasses and perennials work in containers. Grasses can be the “thriller” tall focal point and herbs and perennials can fill in or cascade, depending on the varieties you choose.

Petunias are always great because they take the heat.

Overall, select plants that will thrive until the end of the growing season and offer late season interest as we move closer to fall.

Tips to keep containers healthy in the heat

Water daily for most containers that are in the sun. Check the soil and make sure plants get enough water – especially if containers are small or if they are in unglazed pottery that dries out quickly.

Deadhead flowers – pinch off blooms that are fading so the plant puts its energy into new blooms. Petunias, geranium and most annuals benefit from deadheading.

Fertilize – Container plants should be fertilized once a month. Select a fertilizer that promotes bloom growth rather than green foliage growth. Garden center pros can help select the best products for your plants.

Enjoy the second half of the growing season – and make it as showy as the first half!

Becky Garber is 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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