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Container Plant Ideas & Helpful Tips

Container Plant Ideas & Helpful Tips

Looking for a little container planting design inspiration? We've gone to the source at Proven Winners for great container plant ideas and helpful tips to make the most of your container plantings.




Come to the Dark Side


Create a container garden even a vampire could love by utilizing plants with dark foliage and flowers.


I can’t flip a channel without running into something that features vampires, pirates or zombies- and that’s just on the evening news. Vampires are super on-trend right now, currently inspiring romantic fashions, chocolate nail polishes and bloody lip colors. So why not your container plantings, too?


I understand that dark and moody colors aren’t for everyone-- But for those that dare, here are a few things to keep in mind; If you’re planting in a full to partially sunny spot, think about lightening up the look with silver foliage, bold variegation or by mixing in white flowers so that it glows in the moonlight. For shadier spots, dark plants can be used as accents with bright limey chartreuse they positively throb with plush velvety goodness.


For height in your so-good-it’s-evil container, try Elderberry Black Lace™, Pennisteum Graceful Grasses Vertigo® (featured below), Alocasia Jurrasic Dark™ or fashion a 3 part trellis out of wooden stakes (just in case!) for a luscious Lophospermum Great Cascade™ Wine Red to prop itself up on.Pennisteum Graceful Grasses Vertigo


Next add a layer of opulent, rich colors with plants like Cosmos Choco Mocha, Dianthus Cinnamon Red Hots, Heliotrope Marine, Arctotis The Ravers® Cherry Frost, Ornamental Pepper Black Pearl, Ageratum Artist® Purple or Scabiosa Barocca. Hey, they don’t call ‘em “Thrillers” for nothing!


To bleed over the edge of your pot, choose a combination of rich burgundy and deep purple and add some dark foliage for good measure. Try Calibrachoa Superbells® Blackberry Punch or Superbells® Grape Punch, Sweet Potato Vine Illusion® Midnight Lace or Sweet Caroline Raven, Petunia Supertunia® Royal Velvet, Superbena® Royale Red or Lysimachia Midnight Sun for the desired effect.


If you’re in the shade, throw a chocolaty Coleus like ColorBlaze® Dark Star (featured below), ColorBlaze® Velvet Mocha or Lancelot® Cherry Cordial in a pot with an Oxalis (I like Zinfandel™ or Black Prince) and add the Rex Begonia of your choice from the Great American Cities™ collection and you’re darkity dark! For spikes of color try New Guinea Impatiens in a throbbing shade of purple like Infinity® Blushing Lilac or hunt down some Begonia Gum Drop™ Coco White. How interesting to have a container with not one green leaf in it!


Coleus like ColorBlaze® Dark Star

I’m pretty sure that if vampires gardened, they’d be into succulents. Watering just doesn’t seem very vampirely and they could use that dry, dusty native soil their coffins are filled with. Perhaps a container with Aeonium Zwartkop, Dykia Burgundy Ice, Sedum Garnet Brocade™ punched up with some Euphorbia Faded Jeans™ and Sedum Cola Cola™ would look nice next to that coffin? Perhaps being “on-trend” doesn’t mean much to you-- Or maybe you’ve never been bitten by a vampire. Perhaps you don’t even like chocolate? I can promise you these plants and combos are chic and fabulous- And who doesn’t love that?


Information provided by Proven Winners®; Amanda Thomsen.


Great Landscape Plants - Diamond Frost®


Have you are ever driven through the mountains in Colorado? If you have, you may remember signs that started out "Truckers, Do Not Be Fooled" and then concluded with a message about being careful of the upcoming descent. Well, I was thinking "Gardeners, Do Not Be Fooled" despite her delicate, frilly appearance, Diamond Frost® is tough as nails.Diamond Frost in the Garden Border


When we first decided to introduce Diamond Frost®, way back in 2003, we knew we had a pretty cool plant on our hands, but we didn't really understand just how great she was. It wasn't until we sent her out to the public and university trials in the summer of 2004 that we began to understand just how special she was! That fall the trial reports started to trickle in and I began to notice that this frilly, rather unassuming plant was winning top performance awards from practically every trial. In 2004 alone, she won 30 awards and has continued to add to her trophy shelf with a total of 172 awards and counting from trials in Texas to Quebec and Massachusetts to Oregon - and everywhere in between! By the time she made it to retail garden centers in the spring of 2005, we knew we had an amazing plant on our hands, we just had to convince everyone else of the same thing.


The challenge with Diamond Frost® at the garden center is she doesn't look like she's "all that" when she's sitting there in a 4-inch pot. She might look cute and sweet, but she doesn't look like a plant that will thrive in almost all conditions. In order to really understand just how great Diamond Frost® is, you have to take her home and grow her yourself. Sales for a few plants start out like they were shot from a cannon, Supertunia® Raspberry Diamond FrostBlast Petunia was one of those plants. Growers and gardeners alike took one look at the amazing color and we sold millions the first year that she was on the market. She is a great performer and still one of our top selling plants.


Diamond Frost® wasn't like that. She sold reasonably well her first year, but it took about three years before she really got momentum as word spread that she was really great in gardens almost everywhere. She isn't a screaming "look at me" kind of plant, but I've had her in my garden every year since we first introduced her and really can't imagine not having her somewhere in my garden every year.


Diamond Frost as a Landscape Planting

We always put emphasis on choosing plants with great versatility, but I think Diamond Frost® might be in a category all by herself. She is great in landscapes and containers. She is especially effective in the landscape, when you mass several plants together, although a single plant can hold its own too. She can work at the front edge of a bed or more towards the middle. She will create a mound of dainty white flowers that are forever in motion in the landscape.


In containers, she will gladly mix and mingle with pretty much any plant out there. Baby's breath is a staple of cut flower arrangements. Diamond Frost® serves the same purpose in combination planters - adding fullness and delicate texture. She is also quite attractive when planted by herself in containers.


Diamond Frost as a Filler in a ContainerDiamond Frost® is heat and drought tolerant. I would generally consider her to be a full sun plant and she flowers most profusely with at least 6 hours of sun a day, however, she will also do quite well in shade, although flower power will be decreased in shady conditions. Diamond Frost® will tolerate both poor and rich soils. She does not do well with soils that stay too wet.


Diamond Frost® isn't cold tolerant and really won't flourish until the temperatures heat up a bit. In most climates she will function as an annual, however, you can overwinter her indoors, although she will stretch and get rather leggy. Prune her back in spring when you move her outdoors and she should bounce back quickly.


One last note, if you are allergic or have sensitivity towards latex you should take care when handling Diamond Frost®. The sap of all euphorbias contains a derivative of latex and could cause issues for anyone allergic to it. A good pair of gloves should alleviate any problems. For those that aren't allergic to latex, it would still be a good idea to wash the sap off of your hands after handling euphorbia plants. Sap should only be a problem when pruning the plant.


Diamond Frost Vital Stats

  • Type: Annual
  • Sun/Shade: Prefers full sun (at least 6 hours of sun a day), but will perform admirably in part shade and shade conditions also
  • Height: Medium, 12-18 inches
  • Spacing: 10 to 12 inches apart
  • Habit: Mounded, used as a filler plant for combination planters
  • Bloom Time: Planting to Frost


Note: Can be overwintered indoors. Like all euphorbias she will exude a sticky sap that contains latex from cut stems. If you have a latex allergy, you should be careful when handling all euphorbias, including Poinsettias.


Information provided by Proven Winners®; Kerry Meyer
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