Mix colors, shapes, sizes for combination containers
One of my favorite ways to enjoy the garden and landscape is to buy various plants and make combination planting containers.
This is one of the easiest ways to have garden fun even in the hottest Mississippi summer. And this type of gardening works even if you don’t have any gardening space. All you need is a porch, patio or back deck.
Growing plants in containers also makes it easy to move the plants around to get more or less sun to meet their needs. Or you can simply move them to change the way your garden looks.
Putting together a combination container is really easy. I like to use the thriller, filler and spiller technique. Think of this as adding layers to the combination planting. The idea is to use plants with different shapes and sizes to complement each other.
Thriller plants are tall, and they add excitement to the container. Plants like cordyline, fountain grass and dwarf bananas are great choices for thrillers. Even adding a piece of tall garden art would be fantastic.
Filler plants are used for the middle layer. They can be flowering or foliage. I like to use Sunpatiens or angelonias for their flowers. For foliage, I use smaller coleuses, caladiums or one of the colorful Acalypha selections, a new fave of mine.
Spiller plants take up the bottom layer and really should hang and sprawl out and over the container edge. I think of these plants as mirroring the height of the thriller plants.
There are lots of superb choices for spillers. Sweet potato vine or lysimmachia come to mind, but there’s a new-to-me plant that’s becoming more available. It’s a variety of trailing succulent called String of Dolphins, and the foliage looks just like a pod of leaping dolphins.
You can design your combination containers in different ways, and most revolve around the use of color.
A combination container that uses a single color is said to be monochromatic. I particularly like all blue or all pink shades together. Combinations of warm colors -- red, orange, yellow and terra cotta -- seem to stand out in the garden. Cool colors like blue, purple, fuchsia and pink are softer and tend to visually recede.
Another idea for a combination container could be the colors of your favorite sports team: Mississippi State University, maroon and white; University of Southern Mississippi, gold and black; and for the 2022 baseball national champions, the University of Mississippi, red and navy blue.
If you’re having problems making up your mind for color and plant combinations, you can head over to social media. I found no less than 670 container combinations for 2022 displayed on one social media platform.