Written and compiled by Fred Jaicks
Want a Garden On Your Patio? Here’s How!
Many gardeners find that using containers to grow their plants is preferable over planting a garden in the ground. Containers can be grown where traditional gardens are not possible, including patios, balconies, decks, courtyards and areas of poor soil. They are ideal for those who do not have the time to tend to large landscaping, those with limited mobility, and individuals in rental situations. Plant containers and pots are also portable, allowing the gardener to bring the plant indoors or outdoors if desired. Container gardens are an excellent choice for both beginners as well as advanced gardeners. They allow creative expression in a small space and can be used with a wide variety of plants.
- Geraniums: Botanical Name – Pelargonium x Hortorum. Geraniums prefer well-drained soil and full sun but can handle partial shade. Shear the plants back to basal growth to encourage re-blooming and to improve looks.
- Pansy: Botanical Name – Viola x Wittrockiana. Pansies can be difficult to begin from seed. They require temperatures between 60 and 65 degrees F, and darkness in order to germinate. Keep soil moist and allow a minimum of 15 weeks from seed to bloom.
- Mahogany Midget: Botanical Name – Coreopsis Tinctoria. An annual free flowering plant that appears in abundance from late spring through late summer. Plant in regular garden soil in a sunny spot. Mix with other annuals or perennials.
- Sonata Series: Botanical Name – Cosmos Bipinnatus. Sonata Series, or Cosmos, are undemanding plants. They thrive in full sun, well-drained moist soil and flower from July to September.
- Impatiens: Botanical Name – Impatiens Wallerlana. Impatiens come in a wide range of colors, including pure white, red, orange and pink. They require moist soil at all times. Give the plant a shady area that receives less than half a day of full sun.
- Sweet Potato Vine: Botanical Name – Ipomoea Batatas. Sweet potato vines do well during the warm days of summer and prefer well-drained moist soil. They can live in sun or shade and are a vigorous grower.
- Coleus: Botanical Name – Soenostemon Scutellarioides. The foliage plant survives in sun but the colors of the leaves are enhanced by the shade. Small flowers appear late in the summer. Common pests to watch for include aphids, mealy bugs and whiteflies.
- Purple Fountain Grass: Botanical Name – Pennisetum Setaceum ‘Rubrum.’ Oriental Purple Fountain Grass grows best in well-drained soil and full sun. These plants spread so separate them at least three feet apart.
- Trailing Lobelia: Botanical Name – Lobelia Erinus. Start seeds in early spring and at least 8 to 10 weeks before the final frost. Do not cover seeds in soil but firm seeds in soil with the back of the hand. Water with warm water to aid in germination.
- Dusty Miller: Botanical Name – Senecio Cineraria. This annual blooms in the summer and requires full sun. Dusty Miller should be grown in poor well-drained soil. It grows to a height of 12 to 18-inches.
- Licorice Vine: Botanical Name – Helichrysum Petiolare. Licorice Vine is a non-flowering plant. This annual does best in well-drained soil and full sun. It’s also resistant and easy to grow.
- Petunia: Botanical Name – Petunia x Hybrida. Petunias thrive in full sun but can do well in partial shade. While they are slow growers, their profuse blooms are worth the wait.
- Perilla: Botanical Name – Perilla. Also known as Shi-So, the popular plant requires light to germinate. They should only be covered with a light layer of moist soil when sowing.
- Canna Lily: Botanical Name – Canna Generalis. Canna Lillies like full sun and plenty of moisture during the growing season. Cut ragged plants to the ground in midsummer and add water, fertilizer and watch it grow.
- Catmint: Botanical Name – Nepeta Cataria. A member of the mint family, Catmint is an easy growing plant with few problems. Catmint requires exposure to full sun or partial shade. It blooms in early summer with repeat blooms during the growing season.
- Fuchsia: Botanical Name – Fuchsia x Hybrida. Vibrant colored Fuchsia plants have a long blooming season from spring through late fall. Fuchsias require indirect light. Pinch off the growing tips of the plant in spring and early summer to encourage the plant to branch out.
- Hens and Chicks: Botanical Name – Sempervivum Tectorum. This evergreen low-growing plant produces small rosette offsets. They require excellent drainage, sandy poor soil and a neutral soil pH.
- Miniature Roses: Botanical Name – Lagerstroemia Speciosa Linn. Miniature Roses are heavy feeders and bloom all season. Feed general fertilizer when the bush first leafs out and after each heavy flush of bloom.
- Shasta Daisy: Botanical Name – Chrysanthemum Maximum. Shasta Daisy grows 2 to 3-feet tall and forms a bushy clump. Full sun is best for this plant as well as well-drained neutral or high pH soil.
- Creeping Zinnia: Botanical Name – Sanvitalia Procumbens. With its orange and yellow blooms, Creeping Zinnia is popular in sunny areas of the home. It thrives in dry, hot conditions and requires partial sun.
- Emerald ‘n’ Gold: Botanical Name – Euonymus Fortunel. Emerald ‘n’ Gold plants grown in average moist soil and prefer sun to shade. The plant spread by creeping stems which root where they touch the soil.
- Morning Glory: Botanical Name – Ipomoea Purpurea. These vining plants produce an abundance of large blooms. Morning Glory plants require full sun and grow in average to poor soil. Plant early in the season and lightly cover with soil.
- Tom Thumb: Botanical Name – Pittosporum Tenuifolium. Tom Thumb is a low-growing compact shrub. The plant does well in full sun to partial shade and dry soils. Common problems of Tom Thumb include mildew, rust, and fire blight.
- Golden Sword: Botanical Name – Yucca Filamentosa. Golden Sword has leaves that are topped with ivory-white spiked blooms. Give the plant full sun and occasional watering once embellished.
- Japanese Pieris: Botanical Name – Pieris Japonica. Plant Japanese Pieris in a shady area, as plants placed in direct sunlight may become covered in lacebugs. It tolerates dry or sandy soils or clay soils. The plant prefers a pH of acidic to mildly alkaline.