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Gardeners guide for growing spring flowers in containers

By Diane Turner
I come from a long line of flower garden lovers with green thumbs, so naturally I love planting flowers. As a child, I remember the yellow roses and peonies that were scattered around my granny’s front yard. Mammaw loved growing Bleeding Hearts and would collect seeds from her neighbors to grow different flowers, like Four O’Clocks. The most impressive is my aunt and uncle’s garden that has a variety of flowers, vegetables and a Koi pond.
Unlike my family, I tend to grow my gardens in containers. We have many stores in and around Hopkinsville that offer an array of plants and container choices.
If you choose to start your garden from seed indoors, now is the time to begin making your purchases and begin growing. Southern States, Tractor Supply, Lowes, Wal-Mart, Kmart and the Dollar Store are just a few chain stores that offer seed packets locally. There are many seed companies that sell online and in catalog, such as Gurney’s.
Once plants are well established, they can be moved outside. I find it best to wait until after Mother’s Day to do this. It seems that the fear of frost has passed if you wait until May.
Paul Sova, owner of Superlawn and Garden, had a few words of wisdom to offer gardeners. If you are looking for plants that will perform well in containers, he suggests early spring varieties like pansies, violas or primrose. As warmer weather stays consistent, options like Geraniums, Begonias or Coleus.
Sova said a well-balanced liquid fertilizer is best, such as an all-purpose 20-20-20 or Miracle-Gro options. He advises that if you do use something like Miracle-Gro, do not follow the directions on the package, but rather dilute the product.
“If it says use one tablespoon per gallon, instead use one tablespoon per five gallons and use the diluted product every day for watering instead of once every two weeks,” he said. “Every time that you water, the fertilizer washes away on a potted plant, unlike those that are planted in the ground.”
He also suggests that if you keep your potted plants indoors to use a fertilizer stick that slowly releases into the soil. Do not water plants too often and group flowers by their watering needs. For example, do not plant a flower that constantly needs water with a flower that prefers dry conditions.
The Christian County Extension Service is a great resource if you have any questions about gardening. The Internet, the public library and books are other great sources for information.
A few books to consider are “Walt’s Wisdom: A Kentucky Cornucopia of Gardening Miscellany” by Walt Reichert, who is the gardening columnist for Kentucky Monthly, and “The New Southern Living Garden Book” by the editors of Southern Living Magazine, which has recently been revised and includes 8,000 plants and beautiful photography.
Tropical box:

  • Maui gold elephant’s ear
  • Orange sunpatiens
  • Citronella plant
  • Purple Persian shield
  • Angel vine

Plant the elephant’s ear and the Persian shield toward the back of the planter. Plant the citronella plants on either side of the planter. Fill the center with sunpatiens, and plant the angel in the front so that it will trail over the planter.

Flowers and foliage box

  • Ornamental grass plant
  • Green and purple sweet potato vine
  • Lobelia
  • Lamb’s ear
  • Shasta daisy

Plant the grass in the center of a large planter. Plant the Shasta daisies around the grass, and alternate the other plants around the perimeter of the planter.
— Suggestions provided by the Hopkinsville Art Guild

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