Shady spots explode with color when you draft botany’s big guns for shade: caladium, begonia and ivy. This pot showcases classic container garden design. A white and green caladium stands in as thriller, with Dragon Wing Pink begonia as filler and green ivy as spiller. It’s a blend that easily fits on any porch or deck to bring season-long color. Dragon Wing begonias are a shade all-star, strutting their stuff in part to full shade. These begonias are low maintenance, heat tolerant beauties that pump out flowers until fall’s first frost. This planting combination looks great in a pot, but would transition easily to planting beds, too.
The owners of this 1918 Craftsman home wanted a front yard and porch that would be instantly welcoming. The original exterior's green stucco was switched out to navy blue siding that paired handsomely with the home's cream-colored trim. For a cohesive look from yard to porch, designers used planters painted the same pale gray as the chairs and porch floor. Chairs, faux tile floor and flower pot paint color: Sherwin Williams Silver Plate
For maximum visual impact, choose two main colors to work with and one accent. This porch is silver and red with a bit of evergreen. Then repurpose existing materials: Use big flower pots as a base and fill them with evergreen garland, huge ornaments, sparkly twigs and white lights. Another decorating tip is to repeat a few elements. This project used evergreen garland along the porch railing, which mirrored the green in the planters. The ornaments were also hung from the roof and featured in the red and green wreath on the door.
In garden circles, plectranthus is known as the plant with a funny name that delivers big, strong color. ‘Velvet Elvis’ is no exception. Leaves offer a fuzzy touch with a deep green top and violet-purple underside. Lavender flowers rise on 4-inch spikes that last easily through summer heat. Use ‘Velvet Elvis’ in pots or planting beds—pair it with ‘Jack Frost’ brunnera or ‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’). Plants grow 28 inches tall and 31 inches wide.
The classic corsage flower, gardenia delivers fragrance—and ‘Sweet Tea’ is no exception. Pure white, tennis ball-size blooms contrast beautifully with waxy, deep green leaves. Plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall and wide, with a strong upright shape. The secret to a happy gardenia in the landscape is thick mulch, no soil disturbance (roots like to be left alone) and monthly feeding with an acid fertilizer, blood meal or fish emulsion. Grow ‘Sweet Tea’ as a hedge, or tuck it in a pot you can place beside your favorite outdoor seat to keep the perfume close at hand. Hardy in Zones 7 to 10.