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Shade Color

Shade Color

By Pamela Crawford, author, Easy Container Gardens
Photographs courtesy of Pamela Crawford

A ‘Gemini’ anthurium forms the centerpiece of this easy, long-lasting shade arrangement. This combination rates a blue ribbon because it requires no care other than water after planting and lasts for five to six months.

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The pink color of the anthurium flower is repeated in the leaves of the red Ann fittonia, which I found in the houseplant section of a garden center. The bromeliads mark the center of the arrangement and blend well with the other plantings.

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The Plants:

Anthurium ‘Gemini’: 1 plant from a 6” pot.

Red Ann Fittonia: 2 plants from 5” pots.

Bromeliad: 1 plant from a 6” pot.

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Light: Medium shade. Anthuriums burn in any sun at all.

Season: Plant when the temperatures range from 50 to 95 degrees. I haven’t tried them in temperatures higher than that.

Lifespan: Five to six months in this container. Anthuriums and bromeliads last longer than most plants in containers this small.

Care: Fertilize on planting day with a slow-release mix. Repeat if the leaves look yellowish or washed-out. No trimming is necessary. Easy!

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 once a week in spring and twice a week in summer.

Troubleshooting: No problems. This was a wonderful, trouble-free arrangement.

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Planting Plan: Easy. Plant the anthurium in the middle and the bromeliads along the front edge. Surround them with the fittonia. Be sure to plant in good-quality potting mix, not garden soil, topsoil, or potting soil, which can kill the plants.

Container: Oval pottery container, 16”W x 11”D x 9”H.

Note: One of my readers’ most frequent questions is what to plant in deep shade. Anthuriums are one of the few plants that will bloom with that little light. And they are very easy to grow in most areas in the summer. I haven’t had much luck with them indoors, however.

I classed this arrangement as medium shade because the bromeliads will lose their pink leaf color in dense shade.

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, gardenloverstv.com and numerous local tv shows.


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

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