Magazine article Sunset

Worry-Free Summer Pots

Magazine article Sunset

Worry-Free Summer Pots

Article excerpt

Succulents and yuccas make ideal container plants

Have you ever gone out of town for a fun summer weekend and then worried that your container plants would fry in the meantime? To avoid that scenario, we devised plantings that need little irrigation or any other care. In fact, the plantings shown here have lived happily for a decade. They feature specimens from three unthirsty groups of plants-sedums, sempervivums, and yuccas-all of which display handsome foliage year-round, with a bonus of seasonal bloom.

The cast-concrete containers were filled with a mixture of 2 to 3 parts potting soil to 1 part turkey grit, a material for raising poultry (sold at feed stores; if unavailable, substitute finely crushed gravel). Located on a sunny walkway in a Pacific Northwest garden, the plants get by mainly on rainfall, but during summer hot spells, they appreciate a good drink weekly.

After blooms fade, cut back the stems that bore flowers. Then, to promote dense, robust growth, fertilize with a balanced liquid plant food. Feed a second and even a third time in mid- and late summer.

Sedums. West Coast native Sedum spathulifolium has spoon-shaped silvery gray to bluish green leaves blushed with deep rose, and it bears light yellow flowers in spring and summer. …

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