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Portland Nursery

Low Maintenance
Flower Power

Hanging baskets, window boxes and containers filled with colorful, seasonal blooms always makes an impact in the summer garden.

Some flowering annuals need regular fertilizer, dead heading to really look great all season, others putter out in the summer heat. Luckily there are several options for easy care and maximum show. With life so busy it is great to have a bright combination that doesn’t require weekly fertilizer. A few simple tricks at planting time and good watering will ensure color all season!

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Combination: Begonia ‘Bonfire’, Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’, Lobelia ‘Laguna Sky Blue’

Featured Plants

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Begonia ‘Bonfire’

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’

Lobelia ‘Laguna Sky Blue‘

This combination packs a punch by featuring complimentary colors. Not only is it easy to care for, but it will thrive in a variety of situations. For top flower production these plants need 2-8 hours of direct sun or all day filtered sun. It’s perfect for that spot that only gets a few hours of hot afternoon sun.

Plant spacing

A 12” hanging basket, pot or window box will hold 2 Begonia ‘Bonfire’ 1 Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’ and 2 Lobelia ‘Laguna ‘Sky Blue’. Place the Euphorbia in the middle of the planter and then the Begonias and Lobelia alternating around.

If you have a 14” basket add one more of the Begonia and Lobelia. For a larger planter you can simply add more of the same plants in a variety of creative ways.

An important trick is to mix a slow release (such as Osmocote) AND a starter fertilizer (such as EB Stone Sure Start) in the soil BEFORE planting your container. It will look fabulous until our first fall frost in late October early November (for the Portland area).

Substitutions

Sometimes you can’t find all the plants mentioned or you would like a slightly different look. Other easy care annuals that can tolerate a variety of sun conditions include: sun tolerant coleus such as ‘Kingswood Torch’ or ‘Henna’, Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister’, Bacopa and trailing Torenia. Ivy geraniums are also quite versatile and easy, but do require some dead heading (pinching off of spent blooms) to look their best.

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Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister’

Bacopa

Torenia

Special Considerations

It can be tricky to find flowers for a porch or balcony that only gets a few hours of hot sun. Most full sun annuals won’t get enough rays to bloom well, where as many part shade annual will burn. Containers in hot sun need daily watering in the summer which can leach out fertilizers quickly. So focusing on flowers that are not heavy feeders really helps keep care to a minimum.

Care & Maintenance

• The best time to plant this combination is the nights have warmed (around May / early June) and on through summer.

• The best time to plant this combination is the nights have warmed (around May / early June) and on through summer.

• Water when the top 1” of soil is dry. This will likely be daily in the heat of the summer.

• Fertilize once in late August/September with an all-purpose granular fertilizer. This is not necessary, but it will really improve the late season impact.

• The Begonia ‘Bonfire’ can overwinter from year to year if it is stored in a garage or basement for the winter! Simply allow it to turn yellow and die back naturally in late fall, store it in a dry protected area. It does not need water until it starts sprouting in the spring. At this point you can put it in a new container, or fertilize with an all-purpose fertilizer.