Spring is here, and while I'm very busy with the Passover cleaning, with just a week to go before the holiday ( and SO MUCH to do, sigh) I wanted to share with you the first blooms that we're enjoying in our container garden! And what are they? Two perennials that I'd highly recommend for those who live in areas that only get light snow, at the most. Others of course can grow them as annuals, which many folk do. I did take both of these inside when we had our huge snowstorm, but other years they were left outside to fend for themselves and came back even if they seemed long gone!
The photo above is of dianthus, often referred to as mini-chyrsanthemum. I've had this same pot filled with this same plant for years now! Last year I added a few small seedlings to fill the pot, and the look is truly lovely, and quite low maintenance. Dianthus is a bit forgiving if you forget to water it, and has been blooming in my entry coartyard where it has bright daylight, but only an hour or so of sun a day.
The other quality that appreciate in dianthus, is that it stays quite compact and great looking as a container garden plant. Meaning, it may have a few trailing branches, but basically doesn't get too tall or messy looking as long as you give it the proper care, namely water. I have never fertilized mine, which may also be the reason that it stays nice and quite small, so do keep that in mind!
This beauty is the African Daisy, a flower well known to many, and used as a bedding plant on a sunny hill in many a garden, as it is somewhat drought resistant. It blooms non-stop though not in severe heat, and while it does have a tendancy to become very leggy, propogation from cuttings can't get much simpler. Place a cutting of any size in water, and it will root within a week or so, which means that you can fill in empty holes and have tons of African Diasies to bring joy to your garden or container garden.
I did read that growing African Daisies from seeds from your plants isn't so successful as the plant has been highly hybridized, but if you want to grow it as an annual, take cuttings before the first snow, overwinter them and replant outdoors in the spring. Enjoy!