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Each year the planting of annuals on the porch is an exciting activity that helps create a more pleasant atmosphere. Typically I choose fast growing annuals that quickly grow into a lush and vibrant balustrade garden. I tend to choose annuals for their foliar interest because the sun light doesn’t hit this spot until late afternoon and flower production would be minimal.

This year I wanted to change things up a bit. I am experimenting with lower growing annuals and various spillers for added texture. Also, I have under planted the boxes with impatients as the sun is too intense for them, but with a bit of cover they will be a bit happier spending the summer in this spot.

The chosen plants for the balustrade are heliotrope ‘fragrant delight,’ gomphrena ‘buddy purple,’ sweet potato vine ‘sweet caroline purple,’ lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea,’ bacopa, and impatients.


Heliotrope ‘Fragrant Delight’

Heliotrope is a highly fragrant annual that can grow up to thirty inches tall and heavily perfume its surroundings. For me the scent of this plant reminds me of lily of the valley and a gourmet pastry shop.


Gomphrena ‘Buddy Purple’

This particular annual is vibrant and a great filler.


Diamond Frost

One of the three trailers I have planted this year. This will grow all season long and provide a nice contract to the other larger leaved plants.


Sweet Potato Vine ‘Sweet Caroline Purple.’

As common as potato vines are, they are by far the best of the trailing plants. This variety of potato vine has a more interesting leaf shape and seems to get bushy and full, but not so big it takes over other plants.


Standard White Bacopa

I haven’t tried this annual, but I wanted a spilling flower show for some added interest. Petit petunias would have been a better choice, but they need all day sun to show their true potential.


Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’

One of my favorite perennial used here will create a dramatic effect and is most superb. This variety is the golden form of lysimachia and another way to add foliar interest. If you plan on planting lysimachia in planters and pots, you can dig them out and over winter them in the ground to reuse them the following season. As the root system grows mature, you will have a more vigorous plant that quickly fills out and it’s free.


Here are the newly planted flower boxes on the balustrade. The combination is still quiet and serene, but with a bit more personality than my typical plant choices.


Now that the plants are settled in for the summer, it’s a good idea to keep them watered and fed for the best show they can provide. Check out my potting plants glossary for instructions on filling and planting container gardens. I do want to add a bit more information on what I do to keep potted gardens growing well all season.

Choose larger starts for your pots as they will fill in sooner so they can be enjoyed earlier in our short growing season. Feed them initially with a good fertilizer that I have explained in the potting glossary and also a gentle liquid feed once a week. Only the potted plants get an additional feed because I try to fill pots with as many plants I can fit into them leaving very little room for the roots to expand. By feeding them with a good liquid feed such as fish emulsion or a mineral based one you are able to keep their growth constant.

Watering potted plants deeply will ensure good growth and overall happy plants. Just to say how much water my balustrade garden needs depends on the plants used. If I planted my typical coleus and potato vines the boxes would require nearly a gallon of water per box a day once the boxes explode with fullness. So remember to keep containers deeply watered especially in hot weather and enjoy the show.


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