Decorating with pots full of sun loving annuals, perennials and herbs is a sure fire way to spruce up your sunny deck or patio. Potted plants bring the beauty of your back yard garden closer to your home. Plants and flowers that tolerate full sun exposure will thrive in dry, arid conditions and are usually very low maintenance, which makes them good choices for container gardening.
Shasta daisies bloom from early spring until the fall. The yellow center of the shasta daisy is surrounded by white petals, giving it the look of the typical meadow daisy, but shasta's are larger and have more blooms. They can grow up to 3 feet tall. These daisies are sun lovers, make excellent cut flowers, are a low maintenance plant and are known to attract butterflies. Coneflower is another sun-loving perennial that does well in pots. Coneflower bloom in mid-summer for two to three months and will grow up to 4 feet tall. The coneflower produces reddish-purple daisy like petals and has a central "cone" that can be black, brown, orange or rust in color. Coneflowers attract butterflies and were used for medicinal purposes by the Native American Prairie people.
Marigolds are hardy, easy-to-grow annuals that do well in pots. They love full sun and rich, well-drained soil that is moist but not wet. Marigolds come in a large array of bright colors from yellows to oranges and deep reds. Flowers appear in mid-summer, and plants will continue blooming until the first frost. Miniature marigolds are the best selection for pots. Petunias come a multitude of colors and are prolific bloomers. They produce large, attractive, horn-shaped flowers from early spring until the fall. The petunia can grow to 6 to 24 inches tall. Petunias are relatively pest-free but can be attacked by aphids which are easily removed with sprays of water. Remove faded and dead flowers to encourage more blooms.
Direct sunlight is ideal for growing container herb gardens. Plant herbs in ordinary garden soil and make sure that the pots have a proper amount of drainage holes in the bottom. Keep herbs in direct sunlight at least six hours a day and avoid over watering. Plant containers by groups, plant herbs that you'll use in Italian cuisine such as oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary and sage in one large pot or group small pots together for easy access. Keep scented herbs for potpourri like lavender and lemon verbena near one another, and group tea making herbs such as chamomile, mints, lemon balm and rose hips together for a more organized herb garden.
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