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2014 Easy Colourful Containers

Easy Colourful Containers by Jean Atkinson, Richbar Golf & Gardens

After last winter we could all use a good dose of colour. One of the biggest trends in gardening this year is containers planted with just one type of plant. This one big punch of colour is simple and elegant.

You really can’t beat petunias for colour. Quesnel is famous for its streets lined with petunias. It is amazing how they stand up to all that dust and exhaust and still manage to look so good. But plants can’t do it all on their own, not even petunias. There are just a few simple steps to growing great containers.

First begin with a decent sized container, especially for hanging baskets. We recommend you don’t use anything smaller than a 30cm (12”) basket, anything smaller dries out too quickly. Before you begin filling with soil, make sure that the drainage holes have been punched out. Use only a professional potting soil. Heavy topsoil inhibits root growth and has slow uptake of nutrients.

Before planting add a slow release fertilizer to the potting mix. Many basket stuffers, especially supertunias, are heavy feeders. Water before plants become extremely dry. Water until the water drips out of the bottom of the container. Use a water soluble fertilizer every 7-10 days. Finally remove spent flowers to promote continuous bloom. If plants are getting leggy just pinch them back to create a well-branched plant.

Here are some new petunia varieties that are outstanding; they will work on their own or in combination with other basket stuffers.

Johnny Flame is part of the Sweetunia series and is a mound of rosy-purple flowers with a deeper magenta- purple splash on every petal. This also pairs perfectly with the trailing geranium Temprano Lavender or another white petunia for contrast.

If you are looking for something different try ‘Cascadia’ Indian Summer petunia. It emerges lime then ranges from yellow to orange to pink. If you are looking for the terra cotta look this is it. A great choice for the hanging basket as it keeps on cascading.

Good and Plenty Orange petunia will be a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. The terrific orange colour is unique. One of the other outstanding features of this variety is that it continues blooming from the center as it spreads.

Cascadia Hot Pink petunia really jumps out at you with its pink and white blooms. Planted by itself or alongside either of the new black petunias, Ray Black or Black Mambo it is sure to get noticed. Enjoy all the colours of spring and summer, because you know what’s just around the corner.

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