FLORIDA — There are areas in most landscapes where it is not practical or possible to create a flowerbed. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have color in those areas. A little imagination, a decorative container and appropriate plants can turn a bare spot into a splash of color.
Consider using a container of annuals to add color to a backyard deck or a paved entranceway. Or what about that area under the tree where grass won’t grow and where it would be difficult to till without damaging the tree’s roots and the tiller?
How about the dry spot where there is no irrigation but where it would be more practical to occasionally hand-water a well-placed container of colorful caladiums?
A wide variety of flowering annuals work well in containers. But be sure to select plants based on the exposure. Some annuals will quickly bake in full sun and others will become leggy and bloom poorly in a shade.
Impatiens and begonias do well in shaded places and remain in flower almost continuously. Caladiums also do well in containers in shady areas. They don’t bloom but they have very colorful leaves.
It’s more difficult to grow container plants in full sun but there are some annuals to consider for sunny spots. Gaillardia, Rudbeckia and all types of portulaca are heat tolerant and do well in sun.
You might like to try salvia. In addition to annual salvia, there are numerous perennial types to try. And there are sun-tolerant begonia and sun coleus varieties for full sun.
Add a plant or two of hot peppers. They do well in containers and will provide color as the peppers turn from green to orange, red or even purple based on variety and how long you leave them unpicked.
Plant your annuals in a big enough container with adequate drainage. A three- to five-gallon container will allow the plants to grow. You’ll have disappointing results if the plant’s roots stay too wet.
Your potting media should drain well, also. A good quality commercial mix is excellent for growing annuals in containers.
Fertilize the plants during the growing season. Controlled release fertilizer is ideal and is labor-saving. Simply mix the recommended amount in the potting media before planting for season-long fertilization.
This UF/IFAS publication on Gardening with Annuals in Florida will provide additional ideas and information. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/MG319