April 15th, 2014
Finally… warm weather and that time of the year when we can get started planting/replanting the landscape.
As you’re shopping, consider that some plants make a good first impression but quickly lose their luster once they move in with you.
Others get off to a homely, underwhelming start in their garden-center pots but flourish like botanical swans once in open ground.
Knowing which is which helps invest your plant-buying dollars more wisely.
To help with your spring plant-buying, I’ve come up with a list of top 10 plants that look better in pots than the garden and a list of top 10 plants that look better in the garden than in pots at the garden center.
Let’s do the first list below and the second one next week.
Better in Pots
1.) Annual lobelia. These compact, dainty annuals grab lots of eyes with their rich blue flowers. Some varieties bloom sky blue, and others bloom a deeper, darker blue than any flower I’ve seen.
The problem is lobelia doesn’t do heat. By July, they’re almost always out of bloom and often totally fried to a crisp.
2.) Pansies/violas. These closely related flowers are also cool-weather lovers. They come in all sorts of vibrant colors with their cutesy faces.
In my experience, they end up in the same summer boat as lobelia – if the rabbits don’t eat them first.
3.) Azaleas. Azaleas have the good sense to hit peak bloom at the same time the bulk of people are planting-shopping in May.
Most are gorgeous balls of solid color in nursery pots, but way too many of them croak or become lacebug-infested in lousy soil, too much sun and summer drought.
4.) Mountain laurel. Our official state flower (a woodland broadleaf evergreen shrub) also looks great in April/May with its shiny leaves and pretty pink, rose or white flowers.
Unfortunately, this species is very picky about growing conditions, much preferring the cool Poconos woods (or the greenhouse) to your baked-clay back yard. A majority are dead in 2 to 3 years… or looking like they’d be better off if they were.