Author Topic: Flower pot question  (Read 2609 times)

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1662
Flower pot question
« on: April 25, 2017, 01:31:52 PM »
We have four rather large-ish flower pots -- two near our front doors and two near our garage.  Almost 5 years ago I realized, that it was not uncommon to be spending up to $50 per pot to fill the darn things with flowers each year.  Now I've become smarter.  The two on the east side are filled with beautiful Costco ferns.  The two on the front of the house (faces south) are another matter.  It's too hot and sunny for ferns.  I'm looking for an alternative, and would even consider a small flowering shrub, because even with underplanting or trailing plants it might still be cheaper than the usual.  It the shrubs had lovely foliage, all the better.

Suggestions?

PS:  Removing the pots isn't an option I'm willing to look at.  Our porch would just look sparse.

JStrider

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2017, 01:40:15 PM »
how big are the pots?

I have a potted kumquat tree, in a 14ish inch pot.  It does pretty good as long as I water it occasionally in the summer, drag it into the garage for any freezes and put a little fertilizer in the pot every couple years as well.

Best part is, I get little tasty tart/sweet fruits to snack on every fall.

MrsWolfeRN

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 877
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2017, 01:52:35 PM »
Chives would be the most mustachian choice. They have pretty purple flowers, come back every year, and you can eat them.

If your climate is a bit warmer you could do rosemary. It likes dry soil but it is not winter hardy.

Depending on the size of the pots and climate you could do tomatoes, peppers, basil, etc for annuals. Growing annual flowers from seed is also a cheap choice.

I have never grown shrubs in a pot; I think the roots would get colder in the winter than if they are underground. However, I have seen evergreen shrubs in pots in my area.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1662
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2017, 02:35:21 PM »
how big are the pots?

I have a potted kumquat tree, in a 14ish inch pot.  It does pretty good as long as I water it occasionally in the summer, drag it into the garage for any freezes and put a little fertilizer in the pot every couple years as well.

Best part is, I get little tasty tart/sweet fruits to snack on every fall.

The diameter is around 22 -24 inches.

I'm thinking of Meyer Lemon Trees now (yum) underplanted with nasturtiums.  The foliage is supposed to be attractive, you can't beat the smell, I love Meyer lemons, and maybe -- just maybe -- I can successfully over-winter them.

https://www.gurneys.com/product/dwarf_meyer_lemon


MrsWolfeRN

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 877
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2017, 02:39:08 PM »
Cool, they say zone 9-10. Do you know which zone you are in? I just got some trees from Gurney's and they arrived really fast. Too soon to know how well they will do though.

geekette

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1848
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2017, 03:18:01 PM »
If you can do lemons, that sounds fantastic.  Otherwise, I know rosemary is hardy to Zone 7 at least.  Our thyme and oregano overwinter as well, with no protection (but they're in the ground).

We have a Norfolk Island Pine that is on the front porch in the summer and overwinters in the garage.

freeat57

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 97
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2017, 07:41:48 AM »
Hey Trudie, you didn't say which zone, but the herbs suggested by MsWolfeRN  are a great idea! Just go out on the deck to harvest the key ingredients for a gourmet treat!  As an annual, I love Thai basil.  It is tasty, loves heat, and if you let it flower, grows attractive purple bracts on top.  If you have a grocery where you can buy fresh herbs, buy the fresh Thai basil cuttings.  When you get home, trim the stem ends to expose fresh tissue and put them in a glass of water on a bright, but not too sunny window sill.  They should root in a week to 10 days.  After 2 or 3 weeks, plant in soil and gradually acclimatize to sun.  You get bigger plants faster this way. 

Generally, for a large container you want a taller plant in the center surrounded by smaller plants and, perhaps, a trailing plant spilling over the edge.  If you don't mind a bit of work overwintering plants, consider banana plants.  (The "Musa Rojo" is very attractive).  There are a couple of options to overwinter. Transfer to a pot and put indoors near a window, or hibernate by digging up, wrap the root ball and place in a cool, but not freezing place such as an attached garage.  You can even "semi-hibernate" in a cool basement under a fluorescent light with minimal watering.  (The basement thing works for tropical hibiscus too.  They drop most of their leaves, but reawaken nicely in spring outdoors.)  I did this for many years while I lived in Indianapolis.

Frugal Lizard

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1785
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Southwest Ontario
  • One foot in front of the other....
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2017, 08:01:03 AM »
You can plant into a slightly smaller pot that fits inside the bigger pot.  In the fall you lift out the small liner pot and put it into the ground so that for the winter your shrub or tree has the thermal mass of the ground to moderate the temperature.  This works great for plants that need a winter.  For some plants, they only need a cooler period.  Rosemary comes in the house for the winter but stays in the cold bay window.  I also have a bay leaf tree that stays in the same pot and goes out for the summer and comes back in for the winter.  Fresh bay leaves are so much better than dried old ones that I would get at the store.

I love nasturiums - lovely tasting leaves and great flowers.   In my (Canadian zone 5) I grow basil, parsley, greens, tomatoes and scarlet runner beans in addition to nasturiums in the pots on the back deck.  Early spring I add pansies and cat grass to get things going.  For the winter I do red twigs, pine and dried hydrangea.

dcozad999

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 620
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2017, 08:23:15 AM »
how big are the pots?

I have a potted kumquat tree, in a 14ish inch pot.  It does pretty good as long as I water it occasionally in the summer, drag it into the garage for any freezes and put a little fertilizer in the pot every couple years as well.

Best part is, I get little tasty tart/sweet fruits to snack on every fall.

The diameter is around 22 -24 inches.

I'm thinking of Meyer Lemon Trees now (yum) underplanted with nasturtiums.  The foliage is supposed to be attractive, you can't beat the smell, I love Meyer lemons, and maybe -- just maybe -- I can successfully over-winter them.

https://www.gurneys.com/product/dwarf_meyer_lemon


I live in zone 6a. Am I right to assume that I can keep trees like a dwarf lemon inside for 3-4 months of the year as long as it gets adequate sunlight?

R62

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
  • Location: PNW
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2017, 08:46:41 AM »
We have a Bay Laurel which has been growing happily in a pot outdoors for years.   I believe these are also hardy in Zone 6.

Aside from providing some general greenery and shade for the cat, I use it for cooking now and again.

herbgeek

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2017, 08:53:23 AM »
Quote
and maybe -- just maybe -- I can successfully over-winter them.

I had Meyer lemons for years, and finally got tired of how high maintenance they are, and let them die outside.  They do smell so wonderfully while in bloom though, and it was fun to have lemons in the winter (given I live in New England).  Big problems were aphids and scale, I was scraping the scale off every day and there was stickiness all over my floors anyways.  I kept them in a cool south facing room during the winter and brought them into the house on those coldest days.

Noodle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1167
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2017, 11:25:26 AM »
Mint? As far as I know, you couldn't kill mint with a blowtorch. And there are some cool varieties out there these days.

dcozad999

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 620
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2017, 12:08:45 PM »
Mint? As far as I know, you couldn't kill mint with a blowtorch. And there are some cool varieties out there these days.


The first year I tried gardening, about 5 years ago, with no knowledge of anything, I planted one mint and one chives plant in one of those half whiskey barrels.  I haven't had to touch that whiskey barrel again, and every summer and fall for several months it is completely filled with mint.  Besides mojitos I don't have any clue what to do with it, but it sure smells good.

Never seen those chives again since that first summer either.

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8844
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2017, 12:19:41 PM »
Off the top of my head- Mint, certain varieties of lavender, and rosemary can all be pretty sun and drought hearty once established.

Doing some googling, it looks like bamboo, cannas, pentas, salvia, and verbena can all do well in hot direct sun in a container.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1662
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2017, 07:44:29 PM »
So I broke down and bought the Meyer Lemons and will underplant with something appropriate.  I live in Zone 4B, so will drag them inside in the winter.   I'm waiting and hoping that Costco will have ferns again this year for the other pots.  If not I will probably grow some herbs that can tolerate some shade.  Many things are out of question because of critters (mainly deer).

I've done lots of gardening, including 14 years at my current location, but just get in the mood to try new things.  Our deck faces north, but does get enough sunlight that I have good luck growing greens and some herbs in pots.  So -- at least for now -- I'm growing spinach in my window boxes and bought a decent resin planter at Costco today ($20) to grow greens.  I have nasturtium seeds, mesclun mix, spinach seeds, swiss chard seeds...

My dream when we relocate is to have almost zero grass, but raised beds for veggie and cut flower gardening.  I still love digging in dirt, but mowing... not so much.

aetheldrea

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2017, 10:05:31 PM »
I bet you are going to love the Meyer lemons. My brother had a lemon tree in a pot by his front door. Always smelled wonderful, then the Asian citrus psyllid got it. Best of luck with yours.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1662
Re: Flower pot question
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2017, 07:23:44 PM »
Score on Boston Ferns at Costco for the other pots.  They were only $16 each and they were HUGE this year.  I have them safely tucked away inside my garage for now.  It's supposed to be unseasonably cold tonight (below freezing) and they're predicting a small amount of snow this weekend.  Crazy!  But I shall fritter it away inside the house roasting veggies, cleaning out clothes closets, and reading books -- including gardening books.