For eye-catching floral displays this summer, try growing some annual flowers that drape. Many annual flowers that drape can be used to fill in and cascade over a retaining wall, or they make lovely waterfall effects from hanging baskets. Cascading annuals enhance single specimen plants as well as containers filled with a mini-garden of flowering plants. Flowers that drape add an element of softness, giving your garden an air of elegance.
Black-eyed Susan Vine
Black-eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata) is native to Africa. Thunbergia is a long trailing vine that is sometimes used to cover fences, but it can be pruned back. Pruned vines will branch, and the flexible branches can easily be trained to drape as filler flowers for containers or from hanging baskets. The flowers are about one inch in diameter, and colors range from golden yellow to lemon yellow and white. The six-petal flowers have a black “eye." Start seed indoors in April with warm soil (75 to 80 degrees) and grow the plants in cool temperatures, about 50 degrees. Transplants will bloom beginning in June.
Wave petunias were introduced in 1985 in one color, rose. Since that time, five more color choices have been added, including pinks, deep purple, and lavender. Wave petunias are also known as ground-cover petunias, due to their spreading habit. In beds, one Wave plant can cover up to four sq. ft. with gorgeous, non-stop flowers. Used along a wall or in a container, a Wave petunia drapes with a lovely effect, since each branch is covered with blossoms. The flowers never need to be pinched back or deadheaded.
Lobelia is available in many colors, including red, white, pink, lavender, and true blue. Trailing varieties of lobelia are rather small, about six to eight inches high, but they spread and drape over the edges of hanging baskets, containers, walls, borders and window boxes. The seed is extremely tiny, almost dust-like. Do not cover the seed, but gently press it onto the surface of sterile starting mix; it germinates in 5 to 10 days. Keep the soil pH neutral. Lobelia does not like acid soil, so do not add peat. Grow lobelia in cool temperatures, about 45 to 50 degrees. Transplant the seedlings in clumps of four or five plants when they are about one or two inches tall. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Lobelia needs about twelve weeks from seed to flower, and it does best when it is started indoors early and transplanted. Once it has been transplanted, it will be covered with flowers until fall.
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