Spectacular Summer Containers

"Cause a little bit of summer is what the whole year's all about." — John Mayer



Summer’s intense heat can leave your flowers looking wilted and sad unless you choose plants that actually thrive on hot sunny days. Packing a planter with heat-tolerant flowers will ensure a vibrant, gorgeous pot that can last through October.

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To create a bright and cheery summer container, I rely on the tried and true thriller, filler, spiller technique. For anyone needing a refresher on this, thrillers are the eye-catching, taller plants that go in the center of the pot; fillers are midsize and surround and enhance the thriller; spillers are the dreamy, cascading plants that drape over the sides.  



For the thriller component of a summer pot, I love using angelonias (Angelonia angustifolia), also known as summer snapdragons. Available in pretty shades of white, pink, purple, or lavender, this spiky stunner can easily withstand summer’s sweltering temps. Add salvia and heliotrope to bring interest to the height, and a stick of dracena for an added wow factor.  


Photo credit: Anna Herbst

Geraniums are perfect fillers. Their bold, round blooms love full sun, and they will last until the first frost. Vinca is a smaller filler that blends beautifully with geraniums. 



Finally, everyones loves the spillers of summer! My personal favorite is calibrachoa, also known as million bells. Many people choose petunias, but they tend to get leggy in the July heat and they need to be deadheaded. Calibrachoa come in a rainbow of colors in solids or stripes. Creeping jenny or potato vines are great add-ins for brightness.



Once you’ve chosen your container plants, keep them healthy by adding moisture control soil in the top ⅓ of the container. Moisture control soil has gel pellets (like you find in diapers!) that soak up and release water as needed. 



Water your plants in the morning and try to get down to the base of the soil. If it’s really hot, consider moving the plants to the shade or water a second time in the evening. Try to avoid the middle of the day as the water evaporates too quickly.

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Happy planting!


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