Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lovin It

Although I've crabbed a bit (OK, maybe more than a bit) about the effects of our drought conditions, there's been some really standout performances this summer.

I've always planted one variety or another of sweet potato vines.  The last few years I've gone almost totally for the bright lime green in my planters.  It's bright thick and vines wonderfully.  Not so much this year.  FORTUNATELY, I planted a purple sweet potato vine "Sidekick Black Heart" and it's been the workhorse of my planted pots.  Then the real kicker (in a good way):  It's bloomed.  Who knew!  It has flowers much like a morning glory shape.  It's been a near-perfect annual.

I've used ornamental grasses in my outside pots for years.  One of my favorites has been "King Tut".  It's tall, it's crazy unusual and this year it's been huge.

Another surprise was new to my yard:  Ensete "Red Abyssinian Banana" was a spur of the moment buy.  This fantastic colored banana plant has out-performed even my wildest expectations.  It's in an old washtub where it gets the afternoon sun.  This sun shines on the leaves making them glow.  I'm going to try to keep it over winter (not something I'm typically good at doing.)

Others that have done well:
Chrysocephalum apiculatum "Fambe Yellow" strawflower.  Has bloomed constantly.
Euphorbia "Hip Hop" was used as a filler and has been filling the entire summer.
Alternanthera "Hoja del Loro"  "Little Ruby" is a foliage plant.  It's formed this dense beautiful ruby-purple rounded mass that keeps on going and going.
Petunias:  "Clamouflage Grape" has clear purple flowers and bright two toned leaves.  "Surprise Midnight Cowboy" hasn't needed pinching and stays healthy and full looking into fall.
Calibrachoa hybrid "Superbells Yellow" looks and acts like a petunia and has been performing all summer without pinching or getting leggy.
The true blue "Angelonia Statuesque Blue" is still blooming.  Doesn't get huge but keeps it place in the pot without needed any attention.

"Hoja del Loro Little Rugy"
Some lessons learned:
I use potting soil with fertilizer and it doesn't last the entire summer.  This year I added a dry slow-release fertilizer in late June and it's helped most pots.  The geraniums especially loved the extra kick.  The Mandevilla and mullet have not.  Not only have I fertilized but I've made an effort to keep them watered on a more regular basis.  I once read every time a plant wilts, there is death of some of the roots which never recover.

I don't think I will ever plant tender coleus in the back area where something seems to love to eat them off at ground level until they finally die.  The ones on the front porch are going strong with a little pinching to keep them full.

By the time I realize I should have pinched certain petunias back, they are so long they never come back from the pinching.  I either have these semi bare twigs or leggy half dead stems barely blooming in the fall.  Maybe it's time to throw them on the compost heap and put in some fall flowering mums, ornamental cabbage and a few pumpkins.

Hope you had some successes with your annuals and learned some good lessons in the process.  Enjoy the Harvest Moon tonight!    

No comments:

Post a Comment