Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Plant Selection

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Plant Selection

Article excerpt

Following are our recommendations for a lot of color for your money. For approximate prices, see Figure 1.

* Summer: Sunny locations. The all-time favorite petunia comes virtually in every color and grows in most tough soil conditions. Some varieties are small and some form long trailing vines to be used in planters and baskets. Most commonly, petunias are used in mass bedding for spectacular visual effect. They can withstand some frost and so can be stretched through the fall to avoid the cost of an extra planting.

You can also utilize petunias for strong contrasting color combinations that are absolutely vibrant in their appeal. These flowers do need periodic maintenance including pinching off spent blooms and branches that are too long and sparse.

* Marigolds are excellent for drier areas such as curbs, beds, next to large concrete areas, and areas that seem to be always forgotten by the maintenance watering team. The downside is that they are limited in color selections to orange and yellow and can stop blooming if the dead flowers are not picked off.

Always one of the best bloomers, geraniums can take a lot of abuse, and they come in reds, pinks, and whites. These plants are excellent for planters and baskets either in their standard upright form, or as a variety that trails vine type branches.

Salvia are primarily used as the center or focal point of multi-flower variety beds. They come in deep, vibrant shades of reds, whites, and purples, but they will not withstand strong wind gusts.

Ageratum provide some of the best purples and blues. The plants do not grow very tall, and they can be used for edging and borders as a good color contrast.

Dusty miller creates a silvery white effect and comes in smaller compact plants. A classic bedding arrangement is red salvia surrounded by shorter dusty miller.

Alyssum is a good low lying plant that fills in nicely with whites and lavenders. It is used primarily with other plants as an edging.

If you decide to go with celosia, stick with the larger plumed varieties. These come in many colors, but the reds and apricot colors are striking. These are frequently used as a the focal point of a bed.

* Summer: Shady areas. The all-time leader for shady locations are impatiens. These flowers fill in nicely with a profusion of blooms, but must be watered and have good soil. Impatiens come in just about every color save yellows.

The hottest new introduction to the plant world are the Fiji impatiens, which have colorful foliage and bloom profusely. This variety must have at least partial sun to do well. The rule of thumb is that if impatiens do not do well because of too much shade then your only alternatives probably are hostas or ferns.

Begonias are used almost as extensively as impatiens, but lack the size or color variety. The plants are very compact making them effective for use in planned beds where crisp lines or forms are desired. Pay attention to proper spacing as they do not fill in well.

Recently a variety of "Non-stop" begonia was introduced. These are large plants (18-24 inches) with spectacular, vividly colored large blooms. This new variety makes an excellent display piece. Soil and water conditions must be met.

* Spring. These are flowers that can withstand freezing. They are the first blooms of the year, and when planted closely can be quite showy.

Spring bulbs may be planted in the fall for spring bloom. They do not tolerate poor drainage and will rot if that occurs. …

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