I’ve worked hard, little by little, to get a nice display of beautiful native plants started in my flower beds. They’re finally at the point where I enjoy them and feel a sense of pride at their beauty. The downside is battling sand burs, cheatgrass, Russian thistle, and a delightful variety of stubborn high desert weeds.
That’s all well and good, but it’s growing flowers in containers and hanging baskets that I love most. I don’t have any fancy plants or color palettes; for me, it’s all about a riot of bright colors.
Growing Bright, Heat-Tolerant Container Plants
Geraniums are the center of most of my pots. They’ve always been red, but I’m trying neon pink this year because true fire-engine red geraniums are hard to find. They usually have a tint of orange, pink, or burgundy that spoils the effect for me.
My other go-to container plants are Wave petunias and calibrachoa – they’re beautiful, heat-tolerant, and they don’t require deadheading, which makes things so much simpler. I’ve also discovered that I like zinnias in pots – miniature varieties are perfect. Sometimes, I tuck in other trailing plants, like bacopa or lobelia, depending on what catches my eye (and what’s on sale).
I don’t have any design ideas about containers either, so I have a mishmash of pots of all sizes I’ve collected over the years. I’ve tried cute Pinterest-type ideas, such as sedum or pansies growing in an old toolbox, but they always look like something a second-grader made for Mother’s Day.
Last year, I bought too many little geraniums and I was running out of pot space. I had several terracotta pots of various sizes in my shed, so I filled them with potting mix and stuck a geranium in each pot. I placed the pots on each side of the door, and enjoyed them all summer. They actually looked like I had a plan in mind!
With warm weather again, a new season of container gardening is underway. I can safely plant my heat-loving annuals. Empty pots are sitting on my deck, and the little geraniums are under grow lights. Summer, here we come!