A Modern Container Garden for the Patio
Green is the only color used in this contemporary display, the subtle hues helping to emphasize the forms and textures of the plants. A slim vase-shaped container balances the tall spiky cabbage palm and pendent ferny foliage, while pineapple-like flowers lend an exotic touch.
When to Start: Late spring
At Its Best: Early summer to early autumn
Time to Complete: 1-1/2 hours
- large pot, at least 18 in. deep
- broken clay pot pieces
- multipurpose soil
- slow-release fertilizer
- Cabbage palm (Cordyline australis)
- Tobacco plant (Nicotiana) 'Lime Green'
- Maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris)
- Pineapple lily (Eucomis bicolor)
Prepare to Plant
Half-fill the container with soil, and then add some slow-release fertilizer. Water the plants well, and slip them out of their pots.
Plant the palm at the back of the container and the pineapple lilies at intervals in front. Set the tobacco plants between the lilies and squeeze in the ferns around the edge. Leave about a 2" gap between the surface of the soil and rim of the pot, to make watering the container easier.
Care for the Plants
Position your container in a sunny site but make sure it's shaded from the midday sun, which will scorch the fern. Water every other day in summer. Deadhead the tobacco plant regularly, and occasionally trim off leaves that look messy.
These plants need protection from hard frosts, so bring indoors when cold weather threatens. The pineapple lily will die back in the fall, then re-emerge in spring. Only the tobacco plant is an annual and will need to be replaced each year.
The following plants would work equally well planted together in a container.
Phormium tenax 'Variegatum' (Image 1); variegated heuchera (Image 2); Aeonium arboreum (Image 3)