|Begonia 'Bonfire' and Heliotrope|
We have a lot of potted plants - roughly 70, which includes about a dozen Japanese Maples and an even larger count of fuchsias on the deck. If it wasn't for Michael, who does an excellent job of caring for them, they would not look this good. The above photo shows a few of our pots on the table on the pergola.
The above photo show a view from the opposite side. You can barely see poor David who is lost in the madness. It is so hard to resist plants when you work in a nursery but I also find that it is an opportunity to learn about growing specific ones so that I can answer customer's questions. Case in point - the ever popular Bacopa, probably our best selling pot plant. It can't be beat as a "spiller" to cascade over the sides of pots. I had not grown it before, or at least I don't remember it, and wasn't exactly sure about what conditions it likes. The tag says "Sun/Part Shade" (so many do) which isn't exactly helpful. So, this year I decided to see for myself what it likes and convey this information to customers. In the above photo, it is blooming profusely in an area that gets dappled sun and a few hours of shade in the afternoon. The second pot of bacopa is on the deck and gets almost all day shade. It has virtually no blooms.
|Begonia 'Dragon Wing'|
A great plant for shade is the begonia. The 'Dragon Wing' variety has been a favorite of ours for years. It gets to be a big, robust plant with glossy green leaves and is covered with graceful blooms that hang in clusters. It blooms very well on our front porch on the north side of the house will only an hour of sun early in the morning. The one in the photo above is on the deck and this one gets a bit more sun. This plant has been overwintered in the garage for three years now.
Last year, a few hanging baskets came through the nursery that had a new begonia with bright chartreuse foliage. It is called 'Canary Wings' and unfortunately we could not find it in smaller pots. This year we did and I put one on my shelf as soon as it was unloaded from the truck. After planting, it did not impress me at first. It is not as robust as 'Dragon Wing' and did not grow much at all for two months. However, it has really come into its own and I love it now. It is quite happy with some sun. The pot in the photo below ('Dragon Wing' and 'Canary Wing' combined) gets dappled sun most of the day. We also have it in a container on the north-facing front porch (in full shade) and it only retains a hint of the bright color (you can see it in a photo near the bottom of the post).
|Begonias 'Canary Wings' and 'Dragon Wing'|
Our back deck is Fuchsia Central. I've posted about them before and will only include one here - the mystery fuchsia. Of all our fuchsias, this one has overwintered every year in the basement garage and looks better every year. We have no idea who it is.
|The mystery fuchsia ('Firecracker', one of Michael's favorites, is in the pot behind it.|Water consistently (usually daily with the exception of Japanese Maples, which do not like as much water). Deadhead spent blooms Fertilize with a liquid fertilizer every week to 10 days (we like Jack's Bloom Booster (aka 'Peters') Occasionally mist leaves with either liquid fertilizer or sea kelp. On really warm days (85 or above), mist fuchsia plants. They hate heat. Rotate plants if they begin to look sparse on one side Monitor plants closely and you will eventually learn what they like (light conditions, fertilizing, etc.)
Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy