Who are we kidding? We already planted our outdoor containers. Still, unless you're able to cover your plants if another cold night hits or, move them indoors, Brenna Henley, B.B. Barns container designer, suggests we wait until around Mother's Day. Read on for more tips from Brenna. And, don’t get discouraged if you’re containers are presently planted and gorgeous, just watch the weather and be ready to cover.
1. Can we plant our containers now?
The safest date is Mother's Day (Sunday, May 12th, this year), but it’s late this year and who can wait that long? The last week of April, watch for how the weather is trending and judge based on the forecast whether or not to plant early. I haven't pulled the trigger on my client's installs yet, but when I do it's going to be crazy. Everyone is ready.
2. Is there anything we can plant now?
Alyssum will melt once heat comes. Petunias love heat, but thrive on cool conditions as well. These are good plants for transitioning from spring to summer planters. They're good ones to add to your winter containers where cabbages died.
A lot of sun/part sun plants are fine even when temps dip into 40's but be careful of planting shade plants too early. They are more on the cold sensitive side. This would be your begonias, coleus, and so forth. Mother's Day is a more reasonable time for them.
3. You do all the fabulous containers we see around the store, and we're envious! we want to do containers like that. Got any design tips?
When designing your planters keep these things in mind:
What is your goal?
What is your maintenance level? Let's be realistic here.
What is your sun exposure?
These 3 things can make or break a design.
If the pots are going to be seen from far away, use 3 elements with bold colors, and the simpler the design, the bigger the splash.
Or, try a white theme or blue theme, which cools things down in the dead of summer heat. Try a few tropicals this year (houseplants). That pink cordyline (dracena) is a fabulous statement in pots.
Always use the tried and true formula when designing: Upright, fill and spill.
4. How do we care for our containers?
Knowing your sun/shade is crucial, but watering can't be said enough. Root drench your pots 2x a week. When you initially plant, use Osmocote and Biotone. Then, as the weather warms up and the watering schedule increases, use the Bloom Booster Miracle Grow every 7-10 days. Plants like gardenia, bougainvillea, and mandevilla, especially, are heavy feeders.
Today is April 17th (a mere 21 days until Mother's Day) with a predicted high of 75 sunny degrees. Are we really going to listen to the expert and wait? Before we hasten, let's remember last Sunday morning with a moment of silence, then maybe buy a hanging basket to tide us over.
Written by Cinthia Milner, OSA, Garden Coach, blog writer.
BB Barns serves all of Western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina, and Tennessee.