Plants for the Balcony and Window Box

 
Venidium fastuosum

Image by koizumi via Flickr

1 Dorotheanthus bellidiformis Livingstone Daisy

2 Portulaca x grandiflora: Sun Plant, Rose Moss

3 Venidium fastuosum Monarch of the Veldt, Namaqualand Daisy

4 Verbena X rigida

These plants, each from a different family, appear to have little in common. They also come from different continents: dorotheanthus and portulaca from South Africa, the other two from the temperate and tropical regions of America. The one thing that is the same for all, however, is their requirements in cultivation — heat, dry conditions and full sun — which makes them valuable companions for city dwellers. None will be damaged if you occasionally forget to water them; the first two may even rot if watered too frequently.

Dorotheanthus and portulaca are ideal for the window-box. Both are low herbaceous plants only about 10 cm (4 in) high with large, brightly coloured flowers nearly 5 cm (2 in) across. They will grow in practically any well-drained soil. As a rule they are not grown together with other annuals so that the beauty of their blooms can be fully appreciated.

The other two plants, venidium and verbena, are taller, reaching a height of about 30 cm (1 ft) and more suitable for planting in large earthenware urns. Like the first two they do not tolerate permanent damp and must be put in full sun; the soil, however, should be slightly richer. Verbena affords a wide selection of cultivars listed as Verbena hybrida ‘Grandiflora’ plus the name of the variety; ‘Mammoth’ Hybrids (up to 40 cm [16 in] high) or V. hybrida ‘Compacta Nana’ (forms only about 20 cm [8 in] high). These groups of hybrids are multiple crossings between approximately six or seven South American species.

All the species should be sown in boxes in March, the seedlings pricked out once, and then put in their permanent places in mid-May.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Plants for the Balcony and Window Box

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