Beginner Gardening: Best Flowering Plant _ Low Maint for a Planter , 3 by cathy166
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In reply to: Best Flowering Plant _ Low Maint for a Planter
Forum: Beginner Gardening
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You've got lots of choices for color. Think foliage! And don't think you are confined to one plant type or variety. You'd do very well with caladiums. They are a tuber with lots of color. They would probably winter for you inground in zone 10 as they are tropical. After their beautiful growth with flashy foliage, they go dormant for about 2 months and start up again. Lots of beautiful colors and designs. Do a search for caladiums. Most of them come from Lake Placid in Florida. When you do the search, the threads will come up. Read them all.
You'd also do well with coleus. Lots of color, blooms are insignificant, and you just pinch them off to keep the plant looking nice. Also beautiful choices of colors and designs, and you can pinch them and they will bush up very well. They do well at 50 degrees and above, and you can easily root cuttings to start new plants. Check out the coleus forum. You can put them in containers and move them around. Like caladiums, some are better in shade, some take full sun.
These photos are from mid-June, so they have filled in quite a bit since then. I put everything in containers as it give me lots of flexibility. Just looking at the thumbnails, the first is a Big Red Judy coleus with trailing sweet potato vines (impomoea batatas) of varying shapes. Those large leaves you see in the second are caladium Fannie Munson on the left and Carolyn Whorton on the right with a container of coleus "Dipt in Wine and more sweet potato vines.
The third photo has Brandywine caladiums with large red leaves and White Queen caladiums (as well as my yellow lilies and callas). The more sun, the pinker these White Queens become. The fourth is mostly caladium Miss Muffet and Brandywine. Unless I mixed them up, the last is a container with Dipt in Wine and Peter's Wonder coleus plants with sweet potato vines next to coleus Inky ink and Sorcerer, also with sweet potato vines.
Flowering plants, especially en mass, require a lot of maintenance. They usually bloom for short periods and tend to make a bit of a mess.
You might also want to look into Heuchera. Here in Connecticut they winter outdoors in our cold temperatures. If they grow in your zone, they are also an attractive variety of plants, some of which do well in sun, others in shade. They send up a spike of delicate blooms, hence the nickname "Coral Bells." The blooms vary in color from white to deep pink, and they tolerate a lot of abuse.
You might also check the forum for your area.