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Color That Likes It Hot

Color That Likes It Hot

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

Pink and grey combine to make an attractive but tough, heat-tolerant combination in this blue ribbon arrangement. It required nothing but water during its entire six month lifespan. This was our first experience with silver licorice plant and I was quite thrilled that it breezed through our hot summer.

This pot is lightweight fiberglass, so I was able to carry it around a nursery in search of plants that looked good with it. Fiberglass is an excellent container material. It is durable (think about it - boats are made of fiberglass!), easy to clean, and available in attractive finishes, like this grey one.

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The Plants

‘Florida Sweetheart’ Caladium: 4 plants from 4.5” pots.

Dipladenia: 1 plant from a three-gallon pot.

Silver Licorice Plant: 2 plants from one-gallon pots.

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Cultural Information

Light: Full sun to light shade.

Season: Spring and summer in areas where temperatures range from 65 to over 100 degrees.

Lifespan: This arrangement is happy in this size pot for about five to six months. Be sure that the caladiums are dwarfs, or they will quickly outgrow the dipladenia.

Although dipladenia is classed as a perennial, I have never had much luck with it living more than one season in the ground - even in zone 10 - where it is supposed to thrive. Use it as an annual.

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Care: Easy! No trimming necessary. Fertilize on planting day with a slow-release mix.

Water: Water thoroughly when the plants show signs of wilt, or the soil feels dry when you push your fingertip into the potting mix. I watered this twice a week in spring and every day in summer.

Troubleshooting: The paint chipped off the pot after three years. If this happens to you, take it to your local paint store so they can match up the color. Touch up the paint following the manufacturer’s instructions.

The dipladenia went out of bloom but only for a very short time.

Caladiums are poisonous.

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Planting Plan: Plant the dipladenia along the back edge, centered. Plant the caladium along the front edge, surrounded by the silver licorice plant. Be sure to plant in good-quality potting mix, not garden soil, top soil, or potting soil, which can kill the plants.

This is an excerpt from Pamela Crawford’s book, Easy 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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