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Planting Tips: Summer Recipes

Planting Tips: Summer Recipes

Planting Tips: Summer Pot Recipes

Though it’s hard to imagine that plants could thrive and survive with our warmer temperatures here in Southern California, many drought- and heat-resistant types will do just fine. While you won’t find advice on planting roses and lilies in this article, you'll likely discover some handy tips on how to arrange and grow plants such as cactuses and succulents. Why spend greenhouse prices on something you can do yourself? Creating the perfect little summer pot for your backyard is easier than you think!

A summer pot arrangement can be ideal for arid regions like ours for a number of reasons. First, it looks especially nice - a great way to add color and texture to an otherwise drab location. And second, a potted grouping of plants is generally more functional. If for some reason your summer pot isn't thriving where you place it, it's easy enough to transport to a different spot in the yard where there may be more sunlight, less water, or something else that the plants need to stay happy.

Creativity Abounds!

Just think of all the creative possibilities of using potted plant arrangements to decorate your landscape. You can add as few or as many pots you'd like, placing them in various locations such as your patio, rock garden, along a path or walkway, or elsewhere. Pots come in varying shapes and sizes, and you can even choose an unexpected trinket to hold your plants. For example, a chiminea, antique sink, or treasure chest will easily convert to a whimsical home for your plants.

Create Your First Potted Plant Arrangement in Five Simple Steps:

  1. Select the pot that you wish to fill. This way, you'll know how many plants you need to buy without over-crowding. 
  2. Follow with plant selections of varying sizes, shapes and colors.
  3. Choose your focal points or accents, such as a more exotic plant or a little birdhouse.
  4. Look for smaller or taller plants that would compliment the main focus well.
  5. Finally, fill the pot with your preferred soil, and then add plants!

Tips for Arranging Your Plants in Pots:

Think back to all the bouquets you've ever received. Each flower was artfully placed so that it would shine and be noticed among the other plants. The idea is the same when designing a summer pot. Balance, symmetry, and focal points should all be taken into consideration. You wouldn’t want taller growing plants to block out the low growing succulents, nor would you want too much of one plant to overpower another, smaller plant.

Your summer pot should feature an even spread of different types of plants. Unless you are going for an asymmetrical arrangement, a good first step is to keep the plants symmetrical and on both sides of the pot. Consider placing taller plants in a sweeping arch or on both sides of the focal point. The featured plant should be the focal point of the whole piece, and the pot should never contain too many focal points or the entire arrangement will appear busy and overcrowded.

If this is your first summer pot arrangement, you might try for a staggered look. Set tallest plants in the back of the pot, followed closely by medium plants. Place the shortest plants up front. You may also opt to replace shorter plants with a trailing plant that will drape down the sides of the pot for a graceful, cascading effect.

Or, set a larger plant in the center of the pot and border it with either shorter plants, trailing plants, or perhaps a combination of the two. For even more creative accents, place whimsical objects among the plants, such as a bird perched on a stick. Or, maybe choose a more ornately decorated pot, with a simpler fauna arrangement to offset the design.

What plants would be best for a summer pot recipe?

While a summer pot recipe is generally designed with summer in mind, this doesn’t mean that it has to be dismantled for the other seasons. Remember though, that summer brings some of the hottest temperatures, particularly in the arid regions of Southern California where we are. More delicate plants might wilt or burn under the intense sun. For a summer pot it is best to choose plants from these families: agaves, aloes, cacti, euphorbias, or stonecrops. Each of these is a type of succulent, meaning that it will thrive under extreme heat and tolerant periods without water.

You've probably heard of agave, as it is highly popular at the moment. This is a very versatile plant that does just as well as a sugar substitute as it does in a lovely, decorative arrangement. The agave plant features prickly green diamond-shaped leaves. Many agave have sharpened points at the end of each leaf, and the leaves either fan out or spiral towards the middle of the plant. Depending on the species, color varies between emerald and mint green. Agave can grow large enough to require an entire pot by itself, or remain small enough to be placed alongside another of its kind.

Aloe plants are highly recommended in Southern California for being fireproof. Not just fire-resistant, these plants would prevent flames from spreading around your yard if such an incident were to occur. These succulents are less prickly than the agave but still feature spikes to prevent predators from easily tearing off leaves and damaging the plant. Many aloe plants fan out and cover a large amount of space. Other types, such as the elegans aloe or the brevifolia aloe, grow close together or towards the sky.

Depending on the type you buy, euphorbias can either grow to become tree-sized, or remain the size of a small cactus. There are many types, from trees to shrubs to trailing euphorbias. In selecting this plant for your summer pot, you have almost unlimited options. Antisyphilitica euphorbia is a light green, grass-like succulent that grows tall and could serve well as a backdrop for a focal point or a short plant.

Stonecrops describe another family of succulents that tend to be on the shorter side. Similar to the other succulents mentioned, plants in the stonecrop family have leaves that either fan out or grow closer together. With the exception of the stonecrop cactus, this plant is touch-friendly, unlike the aloe and agave plants. Plants within this family are often the most colorful, ranging from warm orange to yellow hues.

With the right summer pot and an idea of what plants to place where, you’re on your way to creating a more beautiful garden for the summer and all the seasons to come.

Helpful Websites:

Cacti.com: This site offers a wide array of succulents that are locally grown in Southern California.

More tips for your summer pot from ehow.com

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