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Quick Container Rehab

Nothing stays the same, and this is especially true with gardening. A container planting can look great for 2 months and then an issue arises…a focal point plant gets leaf spot or melts with the humidity, or it just stops blooming.  This doesn’t mean you have to ditch the grouping. You just need to edit.

Blame it on the humidity or uneven watering, or gardener’s neglect (I’ll be honest) but the showy orange Begonia bolivinensis just began to look awful with leaf spotting. Spraying with a fungicide would only prevent new leaves from being affected, so the only thing to do was to remove this sad plant and find a worthy replacement. Sad because the hummingbirds sure did visit frequently.

This spot gets a few hours of the afternoon sun, and we’ll have summery weather for at least another 6-7 weeks, so I decided on using orange flowered Cuphea ‘David Verity’ (for the hummingbirds) which never disappoints and will flower until a hard frost. I also had enough space to tuck in a dwarf variegated papyrus  (Cyperus albostriatus) , (you can always count on foliage plants). Although it likes moisture I’ve found it can tolerate dryish conditions.

I am guilty of overplanting a container, in case some plants just don’t perform, figuring I can always thin out the planting later. This pot with Verbena bonariensis, Lantana montevidensis, Gomphrena ‘Truffula Pink’ and Euphorbia Diamond Delight needed editing. The Angel Wings Senecio candicans really started to go downhill once the humidity arrived in July.First  I brought down the height of the Verbena bonariensis by removing the tallest stalks. I cut back the Lantana and the Gomphrena to allow the Euphorbia to own more space. And out came the Angel Wings…lesson learned…not a plant for southern New England summers. Next, I fertilized with fish emulsion to give a nourishment boost to the planting.

Later, I’ll post how these containers fared when I do the end of September evaluation.

5 Comments

  1. Your candid comments about the reality of containers…..even yours….are really appreciated! I confess to planting extras in a second container and putting it in a backup location so I can get replacements out of it later. This has sometimes worked.

    Reply
  2. Thank you for the lesson in replenishing our containers. We are away 3 weeks in July which means my window boxes, etc. need special care when returning. We plan to come to Dartmouth for a visit to Avant Gardens. The ‘Brother Stephini’ hosta we bought there is thriving!

    Reply
  3. Calamintha nepeta Nepeta splits are wonderful also, especially with the texture of Euphorbia! Echinacea ‘White Swan’, if cut back throughout the season works also. Both Echinacea and Calamntha winter over in my planters which is another bonus! I am adding more perennials to my pots every year.

    Reply
  4. I have 2 white concrete urns out at the front entrance that now are in full sun, drought and heat. I had to resort to adding a few silk flowers of lily for color. I cannot carry water out that far every day.

    Reply
    • Doris, I recommend using succulents in those urns. They will be forgiving if you are unable to water.

      Reply

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