Beau­tify pa­tio for sum­mer

CARE: WA­TER­ING COMPACTS SOIL; PRE­VENT THIS BY MULCHING WITH PEB­BLES OR BARK CHIPS

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - CITY - Alice Spenser-Higgs

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’

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