The Summer Containers Are Planted

The front containers have just been sitting around for a month or so, containing nothing but ripening Tulip foliage and the Sweet Alyssum ‘Easter Bonnet Lemonade’ which I used to underplant the Tulips. I’ll let the Sweet Alyssum age in place while the new plants fill in.

Speaking of aging in place, it’s funny that the yellow Pansies I planted months ago have only now started to look good. I think April and May were just too cold and wet for them. I’ll let them stay as well, as long as they look good.

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Zinnias, Star Flowers (Pentas), and Yellow Pansies. 

This last weekend I finally had time to plant the front containers with summer annuals. This year I’m doing much simpler plantings, no more than two or three kinds of plants per container. Also, I have abandoned the idea of every container needing a “thriller, filler, and spiller”. Only a couple of containers will have tall plants, and some will have only low mounds.

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Salvia, Cuphea, Star Flower, and Zinnias.

Anyways, here are the plants I’m using in my summer containers for sun. The photographs aren’t too great, and of course the plants need to fill in, but this is how they look at the starting gate.


Salvia ‘Mystic Spires Blue’. This is an older hybrid Salvia that I prefer to Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’, which hasn’t performed that well for me.

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Petunias and Star Flower

Star Flower ‘Butterfly Red’ (Pentas lanceolata).

Star Flower

Cigar Plant ‘Vermillionaire’ (Cuphea hybrid). Both Cigar Plant and Star Flower are great for attracting hummingbirds.

Lantana and a little Nasturtium towards  the bottom.

Lantana ‘Luscious Marmalade’ and ‘Lemon Zest’ (Lantana camara).

Zinnias, lots of Zinnas (Zinnia elegans). I know some people think Zinnias are tiresome, but I don’t agree. I like the simple flowers and the fact that they don’t wilt if you forget to water them for a bit. I planted the varieties ‘Magellan Orange’, ‘Magellan Scarlet’, and ‘Profusion Fire’, which has smaller flowers and a more horizontal growing habit.

More Zinnias


Petunia hybrids ‘Honey’, Heavenly Blue’, and ‘Black Cherry’. As with Zinnias, many feel that Petunias are overplayed. I like these varieties, though, because the flowers are a bit smaller (and not floppy) and don’t require deadheading.

More Petunias

Nasturtium ‘Empress of India’ (Tropaeolum majust). Just a couple of Nasturtiums planted in pots that needed something trailing down the side.

Many recommend restraint in the use of orange in the garden, but I laugh at their timidity. My colors are mainly orange and red, with a bit of blue to cool things down.

I’ll keep you posted on how these containers progress. Have you planted many summer annuals in containers this year?


30 Comments on “The Summer Containers Are Planted

  1. Jason, I love how you plant your containers, I’ve never tried sweet alyssum in them but I like the look. A big yes to zinnias – I just planted Profusion Double Apricot in pots and in the ground. They work great in strawberry pots too. I’ve got lots of tall zinnias going into the beds – the taller and brighter, the more they attract butterflies. I’m 90% done planting my containers, always fun to do!

  2. I’ve had mine planted for a while. That being said, they haven’t grown an inch because it has been too cold and wet. I don’t have as much room as you have so I have more hanging baskets placed around. I have one that I do not like the looks of so I am going to redo that one. Otherwise, I’m ready for summer when it decides to stop and stay a while. 🙂

    • Around here it’s like someone threw a switch and suddenly it’s summer. Temps in the 90s. But the summer annuals are happy.

  3. This will be my first year with NO containers. I am just to busy to keep up with watering them. yours are very nice.

  4. You always find such a nice selection of plants for your summer pots, Jason! I have stuck mainly to Pelargoniums in a peachy shade, and white Petunias, Nemesia and white Lobelia. That’s what’s available and they should look good all summer.

    • Do you find that Nemesia keeps blooming through the summer? Someone told me it frizzles when the weather gets really hot.

      • It is a bit fussy. Mine usually keeps going as long as it isn’t in full sun. I have put it under cover from the rain too, as it also doesn’t seem to like getting too wet. Looks so pretty though I just couldn’t resisit it this year!

  5. A nice selection of plants. I look forward to seeing them as they mature later in the summer.

  6. A good way to infuse color and a few annuals into your garden. I do have some containers. I don’t have much success with annuals in containers but year after year a plant up a few.

  7. Pretty, pretty! I pretty much stick to one kind of plant per container. Don’t know why. I guess I’m not very good at mixing things up.

  8. Just lovely! I LOVE zinnias – there are so many varieties out there, I can’t imagine ever getting bored with them. I planted several varieties in one of the ornamental beds in the veg garden but, unfortunately, the resident baby bunny had a few for lunch. There are still some left and now that I have the fencing back up there will be no more bunny snacking.

  9. You’re ready for a celebration of color this summer! I love your plant choices. While some things are over planted, there is a reason – they’re beautiful, season-long performers.

  10. Very nice! Zinnias may be on my list for next year’s pots. I grow an heirloom variety of petunia from seed that I love. I don’t care if everyone else is tired of petunias because they perform for me. Your cupheas are lovely as are the yellow pansies.

  11. Looking good! I like Zinnias for so many reasons–the pollinators (especially the butterflies) love them, they’re dramatic and gorgeous, and they’re great cut flowers (to name a few). I usually grow the very large ones on tall stems, so they’re quite dramatic in the garden. I’ve never tried growing Cuphea–I’ve frequently seen it at garden shops, but passed it by. I like how you’ve combined it with Alyssum and other flowers.

  12. I always admire how many containers you nurture through the summer. I guess I know no restraint, because I have lots of orange in mine this summer–mostly lantana and nasturtiums. I also have some sweet smelling purple/white/blue with heliotrope, pansies and alyssum.

  13. They certainly are looking good, and they will bush out. I like the vivid reds and oranges, I also love the

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