Color With Caladiums, Zinnias, and More…Trough Planting 2014

These three  horse troughs are lined up along the sidewalk...

These three horse troughs are lined up along the sidewalk…

The three horse troughs that are planted each year at Dyron’s restaurant next door finally got their summer makeover the other day.  Last year’s troughs  were planted with a variety of herbs and annuals, and you can see them if you click on the link above.

This year’s planting utilizes the  tropical shrub, thryallis. It’s bright yellow flowers provide continuous color through our summer heat and will show off well in this spot. These planters get very hot afternoon sun,  and I’ve found that brighter colors really work best here.

Thryallis, 'Red Flash' caladiums, Acalypha 'Tahitian Gold'While all caladiums appreciate heat and shade, there are some that can also handle sun, including ‘Red Flash’, the one shown here. These deep red leaves will mingle with the other foliage and flowers, including a copper plant, Acalypha ‘Tahitian Gold’. It was chosen for its yellow foliage to echo the yellow blooms of the thryallis.  The acalypha and a red fountain grass will grow up tall, providing a nice backdrop to this composition.

Little Leaf Coleus 'Ruby Red', Profusion Zinnias - Trough PlantersSince it is a restaurant, after all, and ornamental peppers were plentiful in the nursery, those were placed next, just in front of red Dragonwing begonias. Eventually the peppers might be enveloped by the other plants, but until then they’ll contribute their small white flowers and ornamental purple peppers  to the mix,

Next up, some zinnias – the Profusion series perform beautifully in our heat and humidity and add  white blooms with yellow centers all season. A tiny leaved coleus, Ruby Gold,  will fill in the center.  Finally, to trail, some potato vine, a chartreuse-leaved variety in the Sweet Georgia series. These are not quite as rambunctious as the old standby, ‘Margarite’.

Thryallis, Ornamental Peppers, Profusion Zinnias, 'Red Flash' caladium, Coleus Last, a silver trailing plant. Usually I use silver dichondra for this color because it holds up extremely well in our heat and humidity where so many other silver plants fail. This year, though, I’ve decided to try a new plant…a selection of one that I haven’t had good luck with, but this is supposed to be an improved variety, so we’ll see. It’s a licorice vine, Helichrysum ‘Silver Star’. We’ll keep an eye on this one and hope for the best. It scored high marks  in the University of Georgia Athens trial gardens, so I have high hopes!

Maintenance, as always, will involve consistent watering, as well as  grooming to remove any yellowing leaves and caladium seed pods. I’ll also be clipping back the ‘Dragonwing’ begonias to keep them in bounds,  deadheading and clipping the zinnias, and cutting back the acalypha if it grows out of proportion.  Correct maintenance is the most important aspect of keeping container gardens beautiful!