Potted Perfection

May 2024

article by anna rogers | photos by renata haidle

Do you have dinner recipes that you keep returning to repeatedly, yet you still savor and enjoy every morsel each time you make them? Despite the eat-and-repeat, the meal is simple, easy to replicate, and always delicious.  

Let’s explore some landscaping “recipes” that are just like that dinner recipe – simple, easy to replicate, and gorgeous every time. These tried-and-true combinations are brought to you by Amber at the Roots Garden Center. Amber has nearly a lifetime of experience working in greenhouses, and her insights will bring potted perfection to your patio, front walk, and outdoor landscaping this season. 

The Beauty of Pots & Planters 

Potted plants with beautiful flowers and foliage are the perfect way to add a pop of color to your landscape throughout Montana’s warmer months. Using annuals to build bright and interesting containers can perfectly complement your perennial landscaping and, if done well, will give you bright colors and blooms throughout the summer.

Utilizing pots, planters, and hanging baskets creates ease in planting, enables flexibility in moving things around or doing a quick refresh, and provides a structure for creating height and dimension in the yard. Outdoor pots filled with annuals are also great companions for patios, apartment balconies, or other small spaces. They are an easy way to bring life and beauty into a space – be it sunny or shady. 

Select Your “Ingredients” 

Before selecting your “ingredients” for building your outdoor containers, decide if the space you’ll place the pot or hanging basket will be in sun or shade. This is very important to ensure you get the maximum beauty from your plants. 

You’ll want to combine a mix of growth habits and textures when building the perfect outdoor pot. Include the following: 

  1. A “spike” (something tall and showy) 
  2. A compact, upright filler 
  3. A trailing plant 

Diagrams by Anna Rogers

For hanging baskets, you’ll want to select plants with a full, spilling growth habit. The most important thing to remember is that hanging baskets are very drought-sensitive. Create a watering plan to ensure your gorgeous blooms won’t dry out.  

For Sunny Spots 

Pot these plants together, set them in the sun, and watch them shine! 

  • Upright geranium 
  • Gerbera daisy 
  • Petunia 
  • Lantana 
  • Verbena 
  • Calibrachoa 
  • Sweet potato vine 
  • Vining geranium 

For Shady Spots 

You’ll have it made in the shade with these combos! 

  • Upright begonia 
  • Coleus (for its foliage) 
  • Boston fern 
  • Impatiens 
  • Creeping Jenny 
  • Vining begonia 
  • Fuchsia 

Hanging Baskets 

Try these flower combinations for blooms all season long! 

  • Trailing petunia 
  • Calibrachoa 
  • Lobelia 
  • Ivy geranium 
  • Sweet Alyssum 
  • Fuchsia 
  • Vining begonia 
  • Ferns 

Keep the Bugs at Bay 

These plants will do well in outdoor pots and repel unwanted bugs. Try this close to areas where you like to relax or gather. 

  • Rosemary 
  • Citronella geranium (does not blossom) 
  • Mint, citronella, lemon balm herbs 
  • Lemon thyme 

Create a Lovely Layout 

Take color into consideration when selecting your plants. Many of the plant options above offer blooms in a rainbow of colors. Amber says that orange + blue/purple with white really pops. Other popular color themes are yellow, orange, and white (with the option to add red) and pinks and purples. Bubblegum pink, particularly for petunias, has been popular recently. Red, white, and blue combinations are also a favorite for celebrating Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. 

With your “ingredients” gathered, it’s time to get them potted. Your plants will grow and expand throughout the season, but you don’t want to leave too much space at the beginning. It’s better to allow them to overlap and grow densely than to expose too much soil and make the container appear too empty. 

Originally printed in the May 2024 issue of Simply Local Magazine

Never miss an issue, check out SLM's digital editions here!  

related articles: 

Get local updates, events and special offers!

Local Events