Get Set for Perfect Patio Pots

If you love flowers (and who doesn’t?), but don’t have much space to grow them, then it’s time to try container gardening. With a little TLC and the right choice of flowers, you’ll have durable—and beautiful—bloomers that can handle the grueling summer heat.

Three of my favorite summer standouts are:
Begonias—they have either green or bronze foliage with pink, rose, white, or bicolor flowers. Begonias need less water than other annuals, and are reliable bloomers when grown in full sun to partial shade.
Petunias—once established, these perky annuals can thrive in drought conditions. And you can get ‘em in a rainbow of hues that’ll perk up any pot with waves of color.
Zinnias—they actually prefer hot and dry weather. They’re a cinch to grow from seed, and are available in a wide range of colors and heights.

Once you’ve made your selections, follow these simple tips:

  • Mix any or all of these beauties with vinca, which is an extremely heat tolerant (and beautiful) trailing vine that’ll add a rich look to your containers.
  • Then before planting, make sure all of your containers have plenty of drainage holes in their bottoms. If they don’t, make a few more.
  • Fill each pot one-quarter to one-third deep with soil (professional planting mix is best), and add a pinch of Epsom salts to it.
  • Set your plants in at their proper depth (check the planting instructions for each), and add more soil until it’s 2 inches below the container’s rim. This extra space at the top provides space for mulch, if needed, and leaves plenty of room for watering.
  • Once your flowers are growing, keep ‘em well fed with my Container Garden Tonic. Mix 2 tbsp. of whiskey, 1 tbsp. of all-purpose plant food, 1/2 tsp. of unflavored gelatin, 1/2 tsp. of dishwashing liquid, and 1/4 tsp. of instant tea granules in a 1-gallon jug, filling the balance of the jug with water. Add 1/2 cup of this mix to a gallon of water, and use it every time you water your plants.

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