Con­tainer plants your neigh­bours will envy!

The Hamilton Spectator - - REAL ESTATE -

Cana­di­ans are fi­nally free from the cold clutches of win­ter. In ad­di­tion to crav­ing a touch of warmth from the sun, most of us also seek out colour and some green for our out­door spa­ces. How do we make the right choices so our brief months in the sun­shine af­ford us max­i­mum en­joy­ment from our con­tainer plants?

De­ter­mine whether your space is in full sun (more than five hours of sun), shade or part-shade (less than five hours). This will guide your plant­ing de­ci­sions.

If you want to place your con­tainer in an area that re­ceives full sun, choose plants that tol­er­ate drought con­di­tions. Bam­boo does sur­pris­ingly well in con­tain­ers. Highly in­va­sive if planted in the gar­den beds, bam­boo pro­vides fast-grow­ing, tall green fo­liage that works well to screen un­sightly views. It has a re­lax­ing, rustling sound on a breeze day, too.

Go ba­nanas! Ba­nana trees love the heat and have fab­u­lously large leaves that make any pa­tio feel like an oa­sis. Bring the tree in­side in the win­ter months - it won't sur­vive the frosty win­ter months.

Want a trop­i­cal feel with a pop of colour? Try can­nas. They have sim­i­lar lush fo­liage to ba­nana trees, of­ten with gor­geous var­ie­ga­tion, and are topped with fiery blooms.

For smaller scale plant­ings, trop­i­cal milk­weed (As­cle­pias curas­sav­ica) is still a re­spectable three feet. Not only will this colour­ful plant brighten any out­door space, it will also at­tract the en­dan­gered Monarch but­ter­fly.

If you have a shady area, don’t de­spair! There are loads of lovely plants for you to en­joy too. Mouse Ears (Xan­tho­soma Atro­virens) have that is­land par­adise feel and tol­er­ate part-shade. Hostas, espe­cially large-leafed va­ri­eties, make bold state­ments and come in shades from blue to chartreuse. Pair them with stun­ning coleus, grassy Carex or vi­brant be­go­nia va­ri­eties and you’ll feel like you’ve stolen away to Mex­ico! (RMM)

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