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3 Ways to Save Water When Getting Ready For Spring

Geranium Wall Basket

By Pamela Crawford, author, Instant Container Gardens
Photographs by Pamela Crawford

Wall baskets are very useful containers. Place them on an empty wall next to your front door, a column, or a wall on your deck. This arrangement was one of three on my deck. The large flower of the geranium centerpiece contrasts well with the smaller-flowered begonia. Two colors of coleus complete the planting.

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The Plants

Geranium (Pelargonium): 2 plants from 4” pots.

‘Dark Star’ coleus: 4 plants from 4” pots.

Unnamed coleus: 4 plants from 4” pots.

Wax begonia: 4 plants from 4” pots.

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Planting Plan: The begonias and two different coleus were alternated both on the side layer as well as the edge layer. They surround the geranium centerpiece.

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Step 1: In the side layer, alternate the begonias with the two colors of coleus.

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Step 2: Plant a geranium in the center.

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Step 3: Repeat step 1 around the edge. Be sure to put different plants above each other.

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Cultural Information

Light: Full sun to light shade. Since wax begonias are sold for sun or shade, be sure to choose those that fit your light situation. Most take sun until the temperatures hit the low 90’s. The red-leafed varieties take sun in higher temperatures, along with some of the newer green-leafed types that should be labeled as sun begonias.

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Season: Spring through fall for most areas. Also thrives in winter in areas where the temperatures stay above 38 degrees. This plant mix takes temperatures from about 38 degrees to the low 90’s in full sun. In light shade, it withstands higher temperatures into the high 90’s. However, the geraniums will not perform optimally in that much heat.

Lifespan: Two to four months in this container. Plants in small wall baskets live shorter lives than those planted in larger containers.

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Care: Fertilize on planting day with a slow-release fertilizer. Repeat if the leaves start looking yellowish or washed-out. Pinch the coleus to keep it from getting taller than the geraniums, about every three weeks or so. Remove the dead flowers from the geranium if you feel energetic!

Water: Water when the plants show signs of wilt or the soil feels dry when you push your fingertip up to your second knuckle into the potting mix. I watered this one every day in midsummer and every other day in cooler weather.

Troubleshooting: None. This was a very easy arrangement to plant and grow.

This is an excerpt from Pamela Crawford’s book, Instant Container Gardens, available through Amazon and other online booksellers.

Pamela Crawford, author of 12 gardening books, is considered one of the most accomplished container gardening experts in the country. In addition to designing gardens for over 1500 residences, her work has been featured on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens publications as well as in Southern Living, HGTV Magazine, Fine Gardening, Country Gardens, and in over 300 newspapers. As an expert in her field, she has appeared on the Fine Living Network, GardenSMART, and numerous local tv shows.

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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