As we get into spring season, we may be making up more combos “on the fly”. Especially when we’re trying to use up small amounts of this or that, the idea of mixing them in a container seems logical and economical. A few rules of thumb are wise to keep in mind, however.
Probably the most essential element to bear in mind is light requirements…sun vs. shade. There are plants that look truly fabulous together that will probably be miserable later. In this combo shown, torenia is usually a shade lover, while diascia and petunias would both require full sun. However, we selected a sun-loving torenia variety to overcome that difficulty.
Another key to happy plants is compatible water & fertilizer requirements. In this bright mixture, everything will enjoy a steady diet of light liquid feed with every watering. None of them would want soggy soil, but they are certainly not going to withstand drought conditions. Keep evenly moist and well fed.
Other elements to consider are height similarity and container design and color. In this pot, the Ornamental Corn is very large, but still has an appeal where the graceful leaves help fill the space from top to bottom. This is certainly a more off-beat choice, not mainstream. It’s a good idea to know your customer base before you try too many eccentric styles. The size of this container also helps balance the overall appearance. (On second thought, I really like this one…you can feel the wind blowing as you look at it. Right?)
Especially in fairy gardens, be sure to use plants that will stay small and have similar light requirements. It’s very important to have plants that can handle an extreme wet/dry cycle if you’re using a dish without drainage. I find that succulents are the best for that. If a customer is going to invest the extra cost for cute miniatures, they will be disappointed if the plants die or look terrible after only a short time.
One more thought…it’s not too hard. Don’t overthink it. Most likely the customers will love their purchase and enjoy the colors and textures for many weeks to come. These are just pointers to help you on your way. Happy Spring!