Bold and Brassy Container

Add a bright container to your patio with these ideas for colorful plants.

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Bold and BrassyEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Simple Steps to Success: Containers for Patios © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

A fun scheme with bright, contrasting colors and rich scent that will fill front-of-patio gaps, giving a quick injection of maroon, yellow, and red. The container can also be used in front of a border where the planting has gone quiet, or even to help signpost the way to another part of the garden.

The chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) provides the vertical interest, growing up to 24 in (60 cm) tall. It has silky petals and a rich scent of hot chocolate when standing in full sun. The twirly stems of the bidens scatter yellow flowers in all directions, and the pendula begonias help to hide the edge of the pot. The different leaf sizes — open, feathery greenery from the bidens and large triangular leaves from the begonias — add extra interest.

Materials Needed:

  • 3 x Bidens ferulifolia or Tagetes Gem Series
  • 2 x Cosmos atrosanguineus
  • 3 x Begonia pendula

Planting and Aftercare

Container basics:
Size Approx. 18-in- (45-cm-) diameter, 12-in- (30-cm-) high, glazed ceramic pot
Suits Cottage gardens
Potting mix Multipurpose potting mix
Site Full sun

Plant in spring or early summer, but do not put outside until after the last frost. When the summer flowering begins, keep deadheading to guarantee a continuous supply of flowers, and water and fertilize at regular intervals. The plants hate cold, wet winters, so bring them under cover in mid-fall. Cut off any dead growth, tidy up, and keep in a bright, frost-free place, watering just occasionally while dormant. Repot next spring with fresh potting mix.

Plant Specifics

Bidens ferulifolia (Image 1)
Plants that survive outside in mild regions or sheltered sites, Moist soil, Well-drained soil, Full sun

Cosmos atrosanguineus (Image 2)
Plants that survive outside in mild regions or sheltered sites, Moist soil, Well-drained soil, Full sun

Begonia pendula (Image 3)
Plants that need protection from frost over winter, Moist soil, Well-drained soil, Partial or dappled shade, Full sun

Alternative plant idea:
Tagetes Gem Series (Image 4)
Plants that need protection from frost over winter, Well-drained soil, Full sun

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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