Containers in the Garden

“ Containers in the Garden”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana


I have never been one to have containers with multiple plants in them as has become so popular in the last few years.  You know, the thriller, the spiller, and the filler type containers.  Usually, I just have one tropical plant per container or maybe a few that also have volunteer impatiens surrounding a larger plant.  But, this year I decided to start a few containers for seasonal color since I am not planting as many annuals in the garden.  I figured a few spots of intense color should do the trick.

The combination that really got me started was Alabama Sunset coleus, Toffee Twist carex, and Bronze Sweet Caroline sweet potato vine.  I had bought all of these separately, but decided they would look good together, esp. when autumn arrives.  This color scheme should look really good then with all the other fall colors around.


Coleus, Toffee Twist, Sw. Caroline (redu)


Another combination I tried this year was the Cardoon and the Margarite sweet potato vine.  The cardoon should get very large, and I felt the chartreuse-colored leaves will fill up the space beneath the cardoon nicely as well as give a good color contrast.  Besides, the sweet potato vine was free; I dug some up from the front garden where it was getting too big.


Cardoon and Margarite (redu)


Next, comes the Red Sensation Cordyline and Pink Splash.  I bought the cordyline last fall, but never got around to planting it until a few weeks ago.  While it will eventually lose the lower leaves, right now they are still very close to the soil, so I figured I would need a low growing plant to fill in.  I choose the pink splash because that color complements the chocolate colored cordyline, and they will stay fairly low.


Red Cordyline and Pink Splash (redu)


Finally, I put together a Rex Begonia, Persian Shield, and a coleus.  The coleus is light green with purple stems and purple edging on the leaves which picks up the purple in the other two plants.  In this case, too, all of these plants were bought separately and a different times, and it was only after getting them all home together did the idea of their being a good combination occur to me.


Rex Begonia, Persian Shield, Coleus (redu)


Since I am not planting any annuals this year, I am hoping that these containers will do the same job as the annuals did before and give months of color around the garden.




  1. Sue said,

    June 4, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    They look great! I frequently combine things, but usually leave room for them to grow. My husband likes me to plant some closer, though, because he likes to see the fullness right away.

    • Jan said,

      June 6, 2009 at 4:55 am

      Sue, thanks. I tend to go for a full look right away, too. If I have to, I can always trim out plants and use the cuttings to make new ones.

  2. June 4, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    I particularly like the first and last combinations. Enjoy your creations!

    • Jan said,

      June 6, 2009 at 4:56 am

      Helen, those are my favorites, too.

  3. Chandramouli said,

    June 5, 2009 at 2:31 am

    Great combination, Jan! I used to always combine plants together mainly due to lack of space, but now I’ve started resorting to one variety in one pot to increase the yield…

    • Jan said,

      June 6, 2009 at 4:57 am

      Chandramouli, thanks for the positive feedback. I think it is good to experiment and not get stuck doing the same thing over and over.

  4. Randy said,

    June 5, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Those are beautiful combinations! We don’t have alot of container plants, we can never remember to water them. :-)–Randy

    • Jan said,

      June 6, 2009 at 4:59 am

      Thanks, Randy. I am lucky in that I am home during the summer so watering in not usually a problem, for me. Containers usually need a lot of water, and there is very little margin of error.

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