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Container Combos: Cute or Kooky?

I received a free box of annuals from Ball Hort a few weeks ago. (Every year, Ball and other growers send samples of their newest varieties to garden writers and editors for feedback and possible publicity.)


I decided to mix them up in containers for our front walkway/doorsteps.

I can't complain about free plants, but if I could, I would complain that the colors aren't really what I would pick out if I were shopping for mixed container plantings . . . to go with each other and especially to go with our purple door. I found it challenging to combine the plants keeping in mind both their looks and their light/water requirements.

At first I was excited because shopping the toddler-girl departments at Kohl's and Target has given me the idea (er, delusion) that no colors truly clash. Orange and pink? Pink and red? It's all good!

Post-planting, I'm not so sure burgundy/pink/yellow/coral/lime/purple "works" as well on plants as it does on a 19-month-old.

I also had a limited number of pots in the shed, mostly in smallish sizes, and being cheap and pressed for time, I opted to just squeeze everybody on board. (I did buy one great large terra-cotta planter deep discounted at TJMaxx but haven't planted it up yet.) In a few weeks I think we'll see a real "muffin-top" effect—which is also cute on a tot but less-than-comfortable/healthy for most plants.

Standing back and looking at everything, I can see what I might have done differently, but I can't spend time redoing it. Over the summer I'll let you know how these plants fare. Would love to hear any thoughts on how it all looks, good or bad. And what are your favorite color combos for containers in your garden? Anything you've regretted pairing?

Below, on the steps, from top: Wasabi coleus and Patchwork Lavender impatiens; Wasabi coleus and Pink Lemonade Suncatcher petunia.


Below, lower step, from top: Rose Star Can-Can calibrachoa and Pink Lemonade Suncatcher petunia; 3D Purple osteospermum and Burgundy Aztec verbena. (This is my most "eek" pot and the osteospermum is only barely blooming yet.) I just now thought of trying to paint these plastic pots with leftover paint from the door. I don't think it would look great with the calibrachoa or verbena this year, but maybe for next year. It would help pull the whole doorstep area together.