Container gardens are great for small spaces, especially patios, decks, balconies or doorsteps. This style of garden is suitable for the outdoors or indoors as long as you place your containers in groups in sunny locations. Container gardens can also provide access to plants for disabled and limited mobility gardeners. Set the containers on tables for easy access. It is quick to rearrange these gardens to create new designs with the existing plants. The expense of setting up a container garden is less than a traditional one and maintaining this type of garden takes less time as well.
Caladiums (Caladium x hortulanum) have extremely showy leaves. They produce 12 to 24-inch long stems holding heart-shaped leaves. These leaves are patterned with combinations of green, white, pink and red. Pick off the small hooded flowers that appear during the summer to promote foliage growth. Caladiums thrive in shade, hot temperatures and high humidity.
Coleuses (Coleus x hybridus) are colorful foliage plants growing 6 to 24 inches high. This plant has a square stem holding patterned leaves with ruffled edges. The variegated leaves are colored with red, pink, orange, yellow and cream shades. Pinching off the pale blue flower spikes will encourage more leaf growth. More than one type of coleus in a container looks too busy, so grow each type alone.
Hostas (hosta hybrids) are great foliage plants that tolerate shade. Depending on the cultivar, hostas grow between 6 to 36 inches. They have thick puckered leaves in various shades of green including variegated. Hostas produce flowers in the summer or fall with spikes of lavender, purple and white blooms. Protect hostas from full sun during hot afternoons. The best leaf color develops when they are placed in filtered sunlight. Wrap wire around the hosta containers or grow them inside to protect them from attracting deer.
White gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) is a shrub-like perennial with small, hairy leaves. This flower produces white blossoms tinted with pink all summer long. The flower spikes grow 3 to 4 feet tall in full sunlight. These blooms have four triangular petals with long curled stamens. White gaura tolerates extreme heat and will survive for years in good-draining soil.