This is the time of year when people are planting up pots and other containers for their decks and patios. I love designing container garden for my porch and back deck and I want several things from such containers. These groupings soften the edges of the space, add colorful flowers and foliage all summer, and provide fragrance. Many plants also draw in hummingbirds and who doesn’t love sitting outside in the early evening watching these birds zip back and forth among the flowers?
When you plant up your pots and other containers for the summer, use a selection of plants with contrasting foliage and flowers. You want some dark foliage, some light or variegated, and some with plain green leaves. Choose two or three plants that have flowers that attract hummingbirds and you’ll add the element of motion to the area.
Tips for success:
Fill your entire container with potting mix/soil. Don’t put anything else in the bottom “for drainage.” (For more about the myth of putting rocks and shards in the bottom of pots, see my new book Coffee for Roses. Coffee for Roses: …and 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening)
Here are some annuals that I have found especially wonderful for containers that supply color and draw in the hummingbirds.
Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ – this is the favorite plant for hummers in my garden. Clip off the old flower stalks as they fade to stimulate production of new blooms all summer.
Agastache – Most plants in this genus attract hummingbirds and you can find an Agastache for every container or situation. Tutti Frutti, Grapefruit Nector, Acapulco Orange, Desert Sunrise, Firebird, and many other cultivars bloom their hearts out when deadheaded and are attractive sources of nectar for the hummingbirds.
Supertunia Royal Velvet – I also love this Proven Winners plant for the fragrance and long season of bloom, so the hummingbirds and I are in agreement.
Bat Face cuphea – aka Cuphea llavea – this low-growing, cascading Cuphea always draws these tiny birds in.
Don’t limit yourself to these plants, but add them into a mixed container with other annuals for a mix of flowers and foliage. I’ll be planting up several such containers over the next few weeks and will post some photos here and on my The Garden Lady Page on Facebook.