This is a sponsored post from Bulb.com.
Container gardens are a small element that make a quick and dramatic impact on a garden of any size. Their compact size allow you to experiment with different plant materials and color palettes, will little investment. It is also fun to experiment with perennials inside your container to be the main focal point. For Bulb.com I have created two containers using a perennial bulb, Crocosmia. Crocosmia is bulb.com‘s bulb of the year, that has a distinct fan leave shape and long stemmed flowers in reds, oranges and yellows.
You can plant bulbs directly in your garden, but for container designs I recommend using Crocosmia plants from the nursery to get the instant impact from the green foliage. I created two container designs, one highlighting the heat of Crocosmia Lucifer and the other the cooler yellow of Crocosmia ‘George Davidson.’ In selecting the complementary plantings, I focused on full sun, clumping or trailing annuals. The Crocosmia will bloom mid-summer so you want to make sure the other plantings will provide the color/texture leading up to the bloom.
Container Combo – SOME LIKE IT HOT
I generally don’t do warm colored gardens, but my hot hued containers always surprise me how much I enjoy the creative process of challenging my creative eye. This container has lived on our back steps for a few weeks gets the most comments from all our visitors. For the container I used a dolly pot I purchased from Anthropology, but I would recommend a container with an opening of at least 15″ wide to get a good quantity of plants in for instant gratification (this container is 17″ wide).
The container design used a 4 plant combo; Calibraoha Superbells Dreamsicle, Sedum adolphii ‘Firestorm’, Coleus Colorblaze Sedona Sunset and Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’. We grew the Superbells in a hanging basket to grow as large as possible at planting, and the Sedum was in a two quart sized container. This allowed me to use just one plant of each in this container, but if you are using 4 inch plants I would recommend at least three of each.
For the placement, the superbells and sedum are planted in the front two-thirds of the container to grow and spill down over the front edges. In the back third I have placed two coleus and two Crocosmia to create a background and grow up and over the superbells and sedum. The green of the Crocosmia leaves play with the foliage of the superbells, but once Lucifer’s flowers start blooming the red notes in the sedum and coleus will raise the temperature of the container.
Below is the container about two weeks planted and you can see the start of the Crocosmia flower starting to form. About once a week when watering the container I include a shot of a bloom boosting fertilizer. I have a video of planting this container on my Instagram page if you want see how I get all the plants in the container and a few more tricks for planting a container.
Container Combo – Chilled Lemonaid
The second container features Crocosmia ‘George Davidson’ which features a yellow bloom. The complementing plants in this design include Evolvulus hybrid Blue My Mind and other blue/silver annuals (see blow for list). I planted this container up this weekend as the cooler antidote to the warmer combo. The foliage between the featured Crocosmia is the same green hue, but just changing the tones of the other plantings changes the mood of the entire planting.
I designed the container with the crocosmia as the center “thriller” and then filled the perimeter with three other annuals in an alternating pattern that will fill in the base and travel down the sides of the container.
The opening of the container is 17′ and I have a total of 11-4 inch plants. When selecting plants, limiting yourself to four different varieties and repeating around the container gives you a diversity of color and texture, but keeps a rhythm and balance. The three other annuals I used include Amazon Sunset Parrots Beak (Lotus ‘Amazon Sunset’), Dwarf Morning Glory (Evolvulus hybrid ‘Blue My Mind’), and New Look Dusty Miller (Senecio bicolor cineraria ‘New Look’)
Currently you can see some of the soil inside the container, but in one-two weeks the plants will grow and cover all the viable soil. When planting however, cram in as many plants you can get inside. It is ok to squish the roots a little one more plant added.
Just like with the first container, about once a week I will fertilizer the container with a bloom booster to increase the flowers on the Crocosmia and dwarf morning glories. Also if any one of the other plantings starts to take too much control of the container, I can easily cut back some sections.
I only featured two varieties of Crocosmia in my containers, but there many more varieties. The hot container is interchangeable with any of the varieties, but the cool color I would stay with in the yellow flowers like Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘Meteore’. Visit bulb.com as a source about growing any type of bulb. They are not a retail site, but do your research on their site and buy at your favorite nursery, online supplier or google to find vendors for the very unique varieties.