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Create Festive Mixed Planters

Create Festive Mixed Planters

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers

Mixing poinsettias with green foliage plants and other bloomers extends their appeal well beyond the holidays. Think of it as making a floral arrangement with living plants. In the trade, mixed planters incorporating green tropicals are called dish gardens.

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For a winter look, use ferns that look like conifers, such as frosty fern, Selaginella. Mini cypress trees make a nice, fluffy thriller in green and chartreuse. For a trailing component, ivy is a classic spiller. Foliage can add to the color scheme, too. For instance, polka dot plant (Hypoestes) adds a bright color that can coordinate with other plants or provide a contrast in white or pink.

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When it comes to choosing a poinsettia for mixed planters, a compact plant in the four-inch pot size is the most versatile. Princettia varieties from Suntory Flowers have a naturally compact and branching habit to mix gracefully with companion plants. And the bright colors really pop! Princettia Pure White is the whitest white on the market and all the Princettia pink varieties are very vibrant. Princettia Red is a nice cranberry red.

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A simple arrangement is to surround a Princettia plant with greenery in a bowl. For a rectangular or oblong planter, try a pair of Princettias and add a green foliage plant as a thriller in the middle.

Additional blooming plant choices to consider are Rieger begonias, kalanchoe, cyclamen, Christmas cactus, orchids, peace lily (Spathiphyllum), and anthurium. Add glamour with shiny ball ornaments, and you are set for Christmas and New Year’s!

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Expert Advice

Botanical artist Tu Bloom, who owns Chicago Bloom plant shop and designs planters and landscapes for commercial clients, says when choosing plants, make sure they have the same moisture and lighting requirements. Princettia plants prefer bright, indirect light, and plenty of moisture. But be careful not to overwater.

Tu says he will often leave plants in their plastic pots when he makes a large arrangement. This makes it easy to replace ones that aren’t lasting as long or water some more than others.

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“Sometimes I leave them in their liners and sync them in if they have different moisture requirements,” he says. “It simplifies care if they each require different levels of moisture – especially if there are different types of plants that don’t grow well in the same type of soil.”

What does he do to cover all the pots? First, he chooses full plants that are lush enough to cover the pots. Another option is to top dress the entire arrangement with floral moss to create a finished look.

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Mix It Up!

If you’ve been enjoying a collection of green houseplants or like to make bedding plant containers in the spring and summer, try your hand at floral dish gardens! In a few months, when your poinsettia is past its prime, you will still have a nice mixed planter to enjoy.


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