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Top 10 Container Plants for Summer 2021

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By Cathi

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Hello there Haylofters! The summer is upon us and it is time to bring those creative container ideas to fruition in preparation for those cherished lazy, sunny ‘deckchair moments’ throughout the season. This ‘moment’ represents that extra special time when you get to sit back, relax and appreciate the rewards of all your planning and effort.

No doubt, your head is fizzing with ideas, and sometimes it is useful to have a visual nudge from elsewhere, so we thought you might appreciate a little assistance from us. We have collated our top 10 plants for containers this Summer:

 

1. Daydream Collection

 

Strictly speaking this is a collection of plants but it looks so striking together that we had to include it. Furthermore, the dreamy nature of it means it fits the ‘deckchair moment’ criteria perfectly. The deep purple of Gomphrena gives visual depth to the frothy whites and pale pinks of Angelonia and Scaevola. Calibrachoa Can Can Strawberry Punch enrich the purple further and synthesise with Calibrachoa Cabaret Sky Blue to match its form but shift the colour palette towards cooler, more relaxing colours. You can plant these half-hardy perennials in either a hanging basket or pot and they will keep going all summer long. Daydream Collection prefers full sun or light shade and a well-drained soil, also - remember to water regularly and feed when required.

 

2. Agapanthus Flower of Love

 

Although there are several Agapanthus to choose from, the blue of the Agapanthus Flower of Love is as vibrant and special as the bluebells we waved goodbye to at the end of Spring. Not only does it resonate within your soul, but its architectural structure and African exoticism makes it a very special container plant. You simply need to have a pot of these to help your imagination dive into those deep and dreamy azure blue oceans. These deciduous hardy perennials will flower much longer than other Agapanthus – giving 10 weeks or more of blooms and they will tolerate dry soil, preferring part sun and part shade to give you their best.

 

3. Tumbelina Simply Scent Sational

 

Continuing with the cooler palette and stimulating your eyes and sense of smell, let’s talk about Tumbelina Simply Scent Sational. Another perfectly matched collection here in purple, pink, lilac and white. Plant them as single colours or mix them up for a contrasting container. This collection is a long flowering ensemble which prefers full sun or part shade, and each plant will spread to around 30cm to fill even larger baskets and containers. The bees will love these so be sure to take a minute to listen to the gentle hum as they busy themselves whilst you relax and let the delicious scent waft over you.

 

4. Fuchsia Blacky

 

This proud and perky half-hardy fuchsia has been chosen for its rich pink sepals and dark alluring purple petals. To step away from the cool palette you could add a bit of warmth and spice to your containers by complimentary planting with hot pinks and rich foliage such as Coleus Main Street Abbey Road or Solenostemon Kong Lime Spirit. Grow these perennials in moist but well drained soil, sheltered from cold winds but where they can benefit from full sun or part shade. Give a visual clout to your containers this year and get a ‘wow’ from friends and neighbours to boot! Of course, for the less effervescent among us there are cooler and softer fuchsia varieties to choose from too.

 

5. Eucalyptus Gunnii France Bleu

 

Now for a hardy perennial container plant which will not only tolerate temperatures down to -10°c but will delight you year on year with its eye-catching blue-green foliage and delicate white pompom blooms which emerge as we move into Autumn. Smaller than its Eucalyptus cousins this new, miniature variety will supply scented foliage both for cutting and for the garden. This unusual variety of Eucalyptus will happily grow in a container given a combination of sunshine and shade. It will tolerate drought conditions and at a maximum height of 100cm can be moved around your garden to adjust focal points according to your seasonal needs.

 

6. Diascia Breezee Collection

 

We will turn up the heat now and create some visual sunshine for your containers with this Diascia Breezee Collection. These bright and bubbly plants are relatives of the foxglove and create a little pop of colour along their green stems all summer long. This hardy perennial collection contains Red, Orange and Apple Blossom varieties to add a tropical warmth to your containers. You choose if you want to mix them together or create accent containers with vibrant flashes of individual colour. Despite its delicate structure, Diascia are robust plants that grow to 20cm in height with a spread of 30cm. Furthermore, they will keep flowering into Autumn and, even when the new shoots are cut back by hard frosts, the crown will survive to return with the warmer weather next year.

 

7. Alstroemeria Inticancha Sunshine

 

Picked not only for its name but also for the glowing colour palette of the flowers. Alstroemeria Inticancha Sunshine will supply an abundance of blooms from June through to September. Excellent as a cut flower as well as for containers, the salmon-pink, golden yellow and warm red brown of the flowers positively spills over with summer warmth. Happy in full sun or part shade given well-drained soil and shelter from blustery winds, these Alstroemeria reach 60-80cm in height with a spread of 40cm. Remember to deadhead as the flowers fade by pulling the flower stem from the bottom of the plant - this will prompt the plant to continue delighting you week on week. As a hardy perennial it will return for a repeat performance of exotic blooms next year.

 

8. Pelargonium Caliope Dark Red

 

It somehow did not seem right not to add a pelargonium to this Top 10. One which delivers a vibrant red heat to the party seemed appropriate too. Pelargonium Caliope Dark Red certainly does that in spades (no pun intended). A great beginner level plant which, with winter protection, may well return next year to delight you again with its vibrancy from late May to September. Pelargoniums prefer well-drained soil and are happy in sun or partial shade. Once again deadhead to keep it looking its best and promote flowering.

 

9. Hydrangea Polestar

 

Now we will turn the visual heat back down a little. Hydrangea Polestar is another delicate, almost romantic looking bloom which, unusually, starts flowering in Spring. The lime-white flowers then change colour as the temperature rises and blooms mature to cream and then a blush-pink during summer. As we welcome Autumn these change again to deep-red - perhaps as a complimentary nod to the seasonally changing leaves? This compact variety will only mature to 50cm tall with an equal spread and likes a well-drained soil with a mixture of sun and shade.

 

10. Summer Daze Collection

 

Last, but not least, we have the Summer Daze Collection which echoes the romantic tone of its predecessor on the Top 10. These plants have been carefully selected for their contrasting flower forms – daisy-like Cosmos, spires of Antirrhinum and delicate umbels of Ammi majus accent each other in a tumble of white and green. This collection has a height and spread of 60-90cm and is a mix of half-hardy and hardy annuals so you can even collect the seed for next season. The purity of these blooms will last the summer long and provide excellent cut-flower material too.

 

As you already know, there are literally hundreds of plants to choose from for your containers, but hopefully, we have given you an overview and a ‘mood board’ selection to help you finalise your planning for Summer 2021. We are looking forward to hearing from you and seeing the photos of your stunning containers to share amongst the hayloft family.

Happy planting, and even happier ‘deckchair moments’ to us all!

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