mix and match annuals

An explosion of color all growing out of the same pot.

After attending this year’s 2015 Spring Trials (where all the latest plant introductions are presented to growers so they can order what will be retailed in the coming seasons) I can confidently say that hanging flower baskets — especially mixed annual flower containers — are one of the hottest gardening items of the coming year. More than half the show was devoted to colorful flowers that happily burst out of containers. This is great news for people with limited space for gardening since gardening in pots can fit on even small balconies and patios. Even larger gardens can benefit with pots spilling color peppering walkways, decorating entertainment areas, creating focal points, brightening up awkward views form windows and decorating hard-to-grow areas.

Bright mixed container colors

Gleeful color in a single container garden

Pots can be filled with single types of flowers, mixtures or even house vegetables and herbs. Although they will work nicely with one-of-a-kind residents, the show highlighted the combos of different colors or growth habits. Hanging plants can fringe overhangs, stairway edges, railings or even be set on surfaces.

Hanging annual baskets

Colorful annual hanging baskets

Hot colors in flower decor

Cheer up a celebration with a pot of brilliant mixed annual flowers.

With the new mix-and-match introductions you can buy opulent flower containers ready to be hung. Or look for some gorgeous seed mixtures already artistically combined so you can grow your own. Another exciting introduction that will be released soon to the retail market (it was available only for growers for the past year or two) is pelleted seed. These seeds are little round balls that contain several seeds of a predetermined, homogeneous mix already chosen for artistic effect and coated with all the nutrients to help the young germinating plants to get a good start once planted. This will take the guessing out of which plants will look great together and require the same growing conditions. The pelleted seed is larger and easier to handle than many of the tiny uncoated seeds and will make the job of planting easier. If you want to grow your own hanging or potted containers with eye-catching plant combinations, this gives you an economical way to create some of these gorgeous groupings for your own garden, patio or balcony.

mixed seed pellets

Pelleted seeds combine seeds for different plants

Since container gardens — especially hanging ones — are becoming the hottest items in decorating the garden, you might want to use them in rows to create a living curtain or group them to make a bold statement. Using connected drip lines to feed them all together is a good solution to make sure pots don’t dry out. Adding a timer so they are automatically watered will make the job even easier.

mix foliage and flowers

Mixed growth habits make for a showy container garden.