Beautify patio for summer
CARE: WATERING COMPACTS SOIL; PREVENT THIS BY MULCHING WITH PEBBLES OR BARK CHIPS
Select containers that blend or enhance your home’s colour. Terra cotta pots work best with red brick.
As living and entertaining moves onto the patio for summer, it is possible to create a lush and colourful outdoor living space with containers that show-off summer flowers and foliage.
With containers it is possible to grow a wide range of plants, even in a small space. Because they are right under your nose, so to speak, container-grown plants are easy to water and trim, or move, if it is in the wrong place.
Designer tips for containers:
Use the same colour, shape or type of containers. Using a mishmash of shapes and colours ends up looking like a mish-mash.
Select containers that blend or enhance your home’s colour scheme or style. Terra cotta pots work best with red brick. Modern shapes suit contemporary homes.
The bigger the pots, the greater the visual impact. Also, large pots don’t dry out as quickly. Use containers in spaces that need livening up with colour, texture. When grouping containers, use plants that enhance or complement each other in terms of colour, foliage, height and growth habit.
Five showstoppers for containers:
Alstroemeria “Inticancha” is a pot alstroemeria for the patio that maintains its round, compact shape (30cm wide and high) and flowers repeatedly throughout summer. It does best with morning sun and afternoon shade.
Find a position where the pot and roots will be cool, but the leaves and flowers receive plenty of light. On a very hot patio, let the pot stand on a saucer filled with pebbles. Water regularly and feed once a month with a liquid fertiliser to encourage flowering;
Coleus Flame Thrower “Salsa Verde” has bright lime-green leaves that add texture, contrast in mixed container plantings. Plants grow in sun or shade, growing upright and compact (45 cm high and wide). Water regularly.
Lisianthus “Sapphire” is a dwarf variety (15cm high and wide) that produces a multitude of rose-like blooms, giving the appearance of a freshly picked bouquet.
As a décor plant, it has the added advantage of coping with low-light conditions and will also thrive in bright, indirect light. Let the soil dry out between watering and supplement with a liquid fertiliser twice a month.
Begonia “Megawatt” is like a bedding begonia on steroids, with huge pink or red flowers and lush, large leaves. Plants have either green or bronze leaves, with bronze-leafed varieties being quicker to flower. Plants grow up to 70cm high and like semi-shade on the patio. Do not over-water.
Calibrachoa “Conga” is a patio variety that is compact and holds its shape so well when grown in a container that it looks like an iced cupcake. Plants grow 25cm high and wide, and flower earlier than other calibrachoa as well. They like morning sun and should not be over-watered.
Caring for patio plants:
When grouping containers, choose plants with the same light and water requirements.
Use a good quality potting soil and add a balanced fertiliser.
Water plants when the soil surface feels dry. Water until some of it starts to escape from the drainage holes. Watering compacts the soil; prevent this by mulching with pebbles or bark chips.
Feed with a liquid fertiliser like Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger once or twice a month to replace nutrients washed away by watering.
Foliage for contrast: Coleus ‘Salsa Verde’.
Cheerful: Alstroemeria ‘Inticancha Maya’
Non-stop flowers: Begonia ‘Megawatt’.
Elegant: Lisianthus ‘Sapphire’