Fresh Landscape Color with Foliage and Flowers

Summer homes with gardens call for plants and flowers of dazzling brilliance to reflect their vacation spirit and they want plants that do not need coddling so they will have as much free time as possible for boating, swimming and summer reading.
That is why they turn to the happy and fun foliage plants such as caladiums, coleus and alternantheras and choose the carefree flowers of tuberous begonias and cannas. A summer border that contains any of these plants will have the punch of a Mexican fiesta.

Bathers who pass the garden on their way to the beach will stop to admire its brilliance. A fiesta touch is also had by a blend of caladiums and tuberous begonias to sustain a vacation-time mood. A summer getaway with them has a carnival display.

red cannas blooming in the landscape

Whether you have a “garden away from home” in a summer playland or enjoy the same garden year-round, you can take your color cue from experienced people. Here is a brief guide to some plants with fiesta colors.

Alternantheras find a new vogue in Southern areas where they do not need winter coddling, but even in cold climates, where they must be carried over winter in a greenhouse or hotbed, they are frequently used for a bright garden display. These compact tropical plants with various colored and variegated leaves make bright carpets such as around an armillary sphere.

In the North plants are propagated by taking cuttings in August, holding them over in hotbeds or a greenhouse until March or April when they are potted and later planted outside as the weather warms.

They like a sunny location and a good garden soil. The plants are sheared occasionally to a height of 6 inches to keep them dense. Another method of propagating them is to save plants each fall, shear them back to 3 or 4 inches, pot them and bring them indoors until the following spring, when they are divided and set outside again.

If you don’t have facilities for carrying them over each winter, fresh plants can be purchased quite reasonably each season at the local nursery.

Coleus are well-known window plants and hardly need an introduction. You can grow all the plants you need for bright outdoor displays by taking cuttings, which root easily in sand, soil or water, from your window plants.

Cuttings of young plants should not be set outdoors until danger of frost is past. Garden centers and local nurseries offer a wide selection of coleus early each spring, and it is quite easy to grow them from seed.

Seed specialists are now offering selected strains which come 90 per cent true to type. This means that you know in advance when growing them from seed that you will get mostly bright reds or yellows or colorful mixtures, depending upon your choice. Coleus, though brightest in full sun, are festive in filtered shade.

Cannas are old-timers and anyone who has seen them planted in the sunny perimeter of a German beer garden loves their garish beauty. It is normal for them to grow from 4 to 5 feet tall in gardens, but you also have dwarf forms which do not go beyond 30 inches.

You don’t have to have red ones, as many colorful strains have been developed. The fleshy tuber-like roots are obtainable from specialists and should be planted out as soon as the soil warms.

Space them 18 inches apart and set them about 2 inches below the surface of the soil. Rich earth and plenty of moisture are needed for best results.

In addition to having a long season of bloom, the shiny green leaves of canna have a marvelous tropical appearance. They are killed by the first frost after which the roots are lifted and stored over winter.

Caladiums are heart-shaped and in combination’s of red, green and white wonderful eye-catchers. They need a well-drained peaty soil. If you can give them plenty of moisture, they will do very well in full sunlight, although they are more generally recommended for locations of filtered shade.

Tubers may be set directly in the garden when the soil warms, but to get them off to an early start Northern gardeners plant them indoors in shallow flats filled with a mixture of peatmoss and sand about eight weeks before the last anticipated frost.

assorted caladiums colors and sytles for the landscape or container

Press the tubers in the mixture about 2 inches apart and cover them with an inch of peatmoss. Keep them moist and give them some bottom heat. When growth is 2 inches high, transplant each tuber to a 5-inch pot in a mixture of good bagged potting soil.

When the weather warms remove the plants from their pots and set in the garden 12 to 18 inches apart. Tubers can be stored in fall after top growth has been killed by frost. 2

Tuberous begonias come in assorted colors and flower 2 form. Some look like camellias, others like carnations, roses and single dahlias. In a mixture of tubers you may get all of these wonderful forms.

You can plant the tubers directly in the garden but for a head start it is still not too late to start the tubers (concave side up) in a mixture of sand and peatmoss. Keep them moist, give them bottom heat and when leaves begin to form transplant them to the garden.

They like a rich peaty soil and must be grown in shade. Space them 10 to 15 inches apart. Keep them moist and during hot weather syringe the foliage several times a day.

If you don’t start them indoors, the tubers may be planted where they are to grow as soon as “the soil warms”, with the bud or sprout just exposed above the soil of the planting bed.

Work quantities of peatmoss and dehydrated manure into the planting bed and keep the bed moist at all times. In the fall the tubers are lifted from the garden and stored indoors over winter.

Tips To Improve Your Plant Care
Sign Up For My Free Daily Newsletter

We will never share your email address period.

{ 0 comments… add one now }