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My odd pot has been a lot of fun
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Oddly enough, a pot has given me a lot of gardening fun this season, and I highly recommend it for everyone.
The pot is rather unique. My wife, Jan, saw it at a garden and patio show and had to have it. It looked like work to me -- getting it to the car, getting it home, placing it, etc. Plus, I didn't have the vision at first. Jan probably would say I never did.
The pot is large and weighs a few pounds. It lies on its side as if broken, but it is actually a complete pot with a flat bottom and drainage holes. I did a spring and early summer planting that we enjoyed for a couple of months, and then followed it up with a planting for the hottest part of the summer.
The pot is ideal for cascading plants where the point of the planting is to develop a look that mimics water spilling over the rim. A week has not gone by since we began growing plants in the pot that someone in a car or a neighbor doesn't stop and ask about it.
Our first planting was of Waterfall Blue lobelia. I knew it would never last the entire summer, but no other blue flower can match its intensity.
I placed most of a large bag of potting soil in the pot and then planted a 10-inch hanging basket in the pot. Much of it hung over the edge, coming within 4 inches of touching the ground. Then I planted another hanging basket in front of the pot, this one a little wider than the one in the container.
Since the plants I used were about 8 inches tall, they immediately gave the appearance of having grown together and made the perfect waterfall coming out of the container. It's kind of funny that the plant is called Waterfall Blue.
I wanted to use lime green in the bed in both directions leading away from the container. I was going to use Joseph's Coats, but one nursery had just gotten in a new Mexican Heather from Costa Rica called Riverdene Gold. It has the same tiny violet flowers as typical Mexican heather, but the foliage is a brilliant charteuese or golden lime color. I have not been the least bit disappointed with it.
Behind the Mexican Heather I planted coleus. I went with Rustic Orange, which looked good with the heather and the intense blue of the lobelia.
After a couple of months, I switched out some plants. In the container, I planted Suncatcher Sapphire petunia, a vegetatively propagated variety that packs a lot of vigor and can spread quickly.
This time, I went with two 6-inch plants in the container and three 6-inch plants on the ground. I also wanted to try a different coleus and switched to a variety called Defiance, which has lime green partnered with burgundy. Though a different color from the lobelia, the petunias have done their job in superb fashion.
These pots that look broken or that are made to lay on their side can become a real focal point in a bed. If you run across one at your local garden center, I urge you to give it a try. You can use any color you desire.