Hmmm… We love sarracenias…such great garden entertainment and without going on-line!
Add summer color to your patio, pool or deck with perennial container gardens. There are many great summer blooming perennials that work well in containers and provide a pop of color even if you have limited garden space to plant. There are many types of containers that can be used and left outside year round. The containers shown here are a resin material that is weather resistant and come in an array of sizes and colors that can fit into any decor. These containers may need to have holes drilled into the bottom for drainage, and many have punch-out holes. They are light-weight and are easily moved even after planting. There are also ceramic and concrete planters that are frost proof and available in every conceivable shape, color and size.
Some colorful and long blooming summer perennials you may want to consider for your containers include colocasia, perennial hibiscus, cannas, verbena, flowering maple, dahlias, monarda (bee balm), and daylilies. Other evergreen and variegated perennials can be grown in containers as well, such as aspidistra (cast iron plants), agave, mangave, and cacti. Hostas also make great container plants for the shady spot on your patio.
It is important to consider plant hardiness when creating your planter. Remember that since the plants roots are above ground and not insulated, they will be subjected to colder air temperatures during the winter. Depending on the length and severity of the winter, some plants may be just fine through the winter, or your container garden may benefit by being brought into the garage, sun room or porch area during the winter, or situated in a micro-climate, like next to a south facing brick or stone foundation.
If you have a soggy area or damp soils, don’t drain it! We have marginal aquatic perennial plants for wet soil that are great for landscaping everything from rain gardens to bog gardens. These garden perennials love moist spots and will make you fall in love with perennials that dry soil gardeners only dream of growing. Damp soil plants range from carnivorous plants like sarracenia and bog plants like hymenocallis that need full sun.
In early summer of 2016, after my first couple of months working at Plant Delights Nursery, I bought my first pitcher plant, Sarracenia ‘Hurricane Creek White’. After reading the article Introduction to Sarracenia – The Carnivorous Pitcher Plant on PDN’s website, I followed the simple instructions on growing pitcher plants in containers.
I selected a decorative frost proof container that was equivalent to, or maybe a little larger than a 3gal container. I used sphagnum peat moss, as recommended, for the potting mix. The sphagnum peat moss is very dry and almost powdery when it comes out of the bag. Put the peat moss in a bucket and add water. Mix well, and allow the peat to soak up the water until it is no longer powdery and is more a spongy consistency.
Now you are ready to plant. I started off with one of our 3.5″ pitcher plants, which had one to two growing points and four to six pitchers, much like the plant pictured here.
Fill your decorative container about 2/3rd full with the moistened peat, gently break apart the root ball of the 3.5″ plant and spread the roots out on top of the peat and cover the roots with more moistened peat and firm up to stabilize the plant. I also incorporated a couple of small venus fly traps in the container. Place the container in a plastic tray that will hold water, so the peat can draw the water up from the base and not dry out.
The container stays on our outdoor patio where it gets light morning shade and afternoon sun. It continued to grow the rest of the summer and remained outdoors all winter long. I trimmed off the old pitchers this spring as it began to flush. The first picture in this post is what it looks like today, one year later, easily tripled in size.
This was an easy project and a great and rewarding experience for my introduction to growing pitcher plants, not to mention the attention it garnered from friends who came over. I have now started my second container for the patio utilizing ‘Carolina Yellow Jacket’.
Here are some recent images from the gardens here at Juniper Level of one of our favorite pitcher plants, Sarracenia leucophylla ‘Tarnok’. This amazing double-flowered pitcher plant was discovered in Alabama by plantsman Coleman Tarnok in the early 1970s.
Here is the clump growing in the garden. Pitcher plants are quite easy to grow, provided the soil stays moist about 3-8″ below the surface. They do not, however, like soil that remains waterlogged. In both the ground and in pots, we grow our pitcher plants in pure peat moss. Most pitcher plants are reliably winter hardy in Zone 5. We hope you’ll give these a try in your garden.
Here’s an image we just took in the gardens of Sarracenia leucophylla ‘Sumter’. In our opinion, it doesn’t get much better than this. All hardy pitcher plants have these amazing other worldly flowers, and most are winter hardy in Zones 5 and 6. All our sarracenias are planted in straight peat moss, about 8″ deep inside a pond liner that has holes cut along the edges so the water doesn’t stay too high. No fertilizer ever and you certainly don’t have to worry about insects.
Many of the changes you’ll see when you visit the garden next time are driven by Anita’s suggestions to open up many of the overgrown garden spaces around the sales area. This new section is where 150′ of Nellie Stevens hollies were removed last fall/winter. Despite only being in a short while, the plants are beginning to settle in. The wonderful rock work, was done by our Research and Grounds horticulturist, Jeremy Schmidt. Here’s a fun seep area in the same space that Jeremy dreamed up. We hope you’ll check out these and more new additions when you visit during our upcoming July open nursery and garden.