Early-fruiting 'Pickering' (Mangifera indica hybrid) is a mango that you can grow in a container or the landscape. It grows vigorously and is less susceptible to diseases than some other mango varieties. Let the plants develop a strong trunk and branches before fruiting (this usually takes a couple of years). 'Pickering' mangos have a coconut-mango flavor without a lot of unwanted fiber.
This groundcover forms mats of round, flat greenish leaves with red-tinged edges. In the winter, new leaves are burgundy, bringing a splash of color to the landscape. Native to the Caucasus, it produces tiny, star-shaped, rose-pink flowers and can endure below-zero temperatures. Use it to edge along a wall or plant it in a container and let it trail over the edges. Zones 3 to 8.
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.
Colletti says growing moss in a terrarium can be a challenge, because there's a lot of moisture and little air circulation. She prefers open-topped containers. Climacium americanum (commonly called lobe-leaved tree moss) and Hedwigia ciliata (fringed hoar-moss) work well in any kind of container, she says. Leucobryum glaucum (pincushion moss) and Cladonia rangiferina (reindeer moss, actually a lichen) are best used in open containers. In this image, sheet moss surrounds other small plants.
Romeo cleyera (Cleyera japonica ‘Variegata’) offers year-round variegation. Leaves have butter-yellow splashes in spring and summer that shift to rose tones in fall and winter. Cleyera is a low-maintenance shrub and grows in full sun to part shade, reaching 8 to 10 feet tall by 5 to 6 feet wide. Use it as a privacy hedge, accent plant or container shrub. Hardy in Zones 7-10.
Getting water to plants is one of the top tasks you’ll tackle. If you grow any container gardens, watering is a daily event in the heat of summer. Invest in a quality hose that’s guaranteed for life, along with some kind of easy-to-use hose storage. Include a hose end watering wand, nozzle with multiple patterns and watering can with a detachable rose (the nozzle part that turns a water stream into a shower). For planting beds and large gardens, choose a sprinkler, or invest in drip irrigation. Last but not least, when buying a hose, pick up a pack of flat washers that fit your hose. Replace washers inside hose ends annually, at the start of every gardening season, to reduce drips and wasted water.
Position microgardens on balconies where there is structural strength. Moist soil gets very heavy, so consider the total weight (soil + pot + plants + water) of each container, says Anne Gibson of TheMicroGardener.com. You may need to consult an engineer to find out if the structural capacity can handle the additional weight. It is wise to position heavy pots close to the strength of the structural wall or around the perimeter.
You can still grow a tasty crop of spring peas even if you don’t have a big yard. Look for container pea varieties, like this yummy sugar snap type, Little Crunch. With container peas, you may or may not need a trellis; it depends on how tall plants become. Little Crunch grows 24 to 30 inches tall, which makes it a perfect fit for a typical tomato cage. When growing peas in pots, don’t forget to water. Consistent soil moisture—especially once flowers start appearing—helps ensure a sweet harvest. If you battle rabbits in your yard, growing pots of peas can make it easier to beat the bunnies without having to fence a pea patch. Just know that rabbits (and deer) love peas, so you may need to protect pots on an open patio.
No matter how you do it, bring life and beauty to your home with plants and flowers. Designer Sara Brown has incorporated multiple potted houseplants and succulents into both her kitchen and breakfast room design scheme. Her clever arrangement of pink glass vases inside a larger vessel and simple stems of Queen Anne's lace show how to incorporate even wildflowers and simple arrangements into your home as an alternative to expensive arrangements of cut flowers.
While you don't often see heucheras grown as houseplants, these low-light perennials can be potted up in fall and briefly enjoyed indoors. Just be sure to return them to the garden when the weather warms back up. The plants, also known as coral bells, bloom in spring, so give them the cool, spring-like temperatures they prefer. They'll also benefit from being housed in a deep pot, rather than a shallow one. Shown here: heuchera 'Mint Julep'
This glass container is filled with “unearthed” ivy, which means the dirt has been removed with the roots exposed, says Joyce Mason-Monheim, floral director for Accent Decor. "Ivy and many other plants will last for a lengthy time without soil and survive with just a water source," says Mason-Monheim, a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers. The ivy is shown with a purple Phalaenopsis orchid bloom for color and detail.
This low-growing groundcover sprawls in a thick mat of stems and leaves that turn burgundy in the fall and stay red all winter, bringing color to the garden when everything else is dead. Sedum spurium is native to the Caucasus region between Europe and Asia and can take temperatures as low as 40 degrees below zero. It produces tiny, star-shaped pink flowers that butterflies adore. Plant it on a sunny slope or in a container and let it trail over the edges. Zones 3 to 8.
Container gardens add splashes of portable color to outdoor settings, but if you love pots of color, you also know it can take daily attention to keep plants looking their best. One way to expedite the care routine is to fill your containers with shrubs that deliver strong color for the entire growing season. Shrubs typically need less grooming than annuals and do their thing as long as you water. This pair of shrubs features Bangle Dyers greenwood (Genista lydia) and Black Lace elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’). Both of these shrubs flower in spring, but the leaves bring strong color and texture all season long.
Cater to all of your senses as you craft your retreat. By including fragrant flowers and herbs in the mix, you’ll discover the joy of breathing in rich floral aromas or spicy tones, which enhances the whole outdoor relaxation experience. Container gardens don’t have to be boring. Tuck plants into crates, baskets, buckets or your old garden boots. Plantings give you a chance to express your creativity and give your retreat a true signature style. This scented retreat includes two types of English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Blue Spear and Avignon Early Blue. Other herbs that offer a nose-pleasing bouquet include mint, basil, rosemary and thyme. For fragrant flowers, try dame’s rocket (Hesperis), Oriental lily, moonflower vine, rose or daphne.
For colorful leaves that thrive in shade, it’s tough to beat caladium. This variety, Artful Fire and Ice, unfurls leaves that look like a painter crafted them with splashes of green, pink, rose and white. Give caladiums a spot in full to part shade, although in northern gardens, plants can withstand more sun. Keep soil consistently moist for best growth and color. You’ll know you’re failing if leaves turn yellow and drop. Fire and Ice caladium grows 18 to 30 inches tall and12 to 18 inches wide. The other annuals in this container thrive in part shade: Diamond Frost euphorbia and Black Cherry Supertunia.
Rain gardens can even pop up and work effectively on parking lot areas. After removing asphalt, a rain garden basin could be built along this parking area of Totem Ocean Trailer Express, a shipping and cargo company at the Port of Tacoma, Washington. A traditional rain garden basin planting features a mix of shrubs, perennials and ground covers. The green container is a rain garden in a box. Rain gardens at this site handle roughly 250,000 gallons of rain water runoff annually, which reduces the amount of toxic pollutants washing into nearby Commencement Bay. If designers can build a working rain garden on a parking lot, you can make one work in your yard.
Talented Atlanta designer Mallory Mathison created this themed Little Boy Blue bedroom decked out beautifully in child-friendly holiday style in Francophile shades of blue and red. Each twin bed comes with a charming lit Christmas tree with fire-safe LED lights. Parents can treat these trees as advent calendars and nestle a different gift for each day leading up to Christmas or Hanukkah in the boughs or at the foot of the tree. Children will love the cozy glow of the tree lights as they drift off to sleep and these trees also make the perfect holiday night light says Mathison. Rather than cut trees, Mathison used potted evergreens that can be planted in the garden when the holidays are over.
Greenhouse-grown hydrangeas often hold their blooms for weeks indoors. Don't let your potted hydrangea completely dry out, and keep it in a cool, bright room, out of direct sun. After the last frost in spring, move your hydrangea outdoors to a shady spot for a week or two. Then gradually give it some morning sun, to help ease its transition. Finally, plant it in a location that gets morning sun (unless you have a variety that's labeled with different sun or shade requirements). Hydrangeas should be kept watered and mulched as the weather warms up. it may take them a year or two to start blooming again at the normal time of year. Gardeners in cold winter regions sometimes lose their flower buds to late cold snaps.