Creating Blooming Container Gardens for Spring and Summer

Container garden-guide is Easy!

You can design your color bowl or container garden to be as dramatic or understated as you like. By incorporating blooming annuals, ornamental grasses, specimen plants, perennials, herbs, or any of the myriad of interesting and beautiful plants available, you can achieve the effect of a vibrant garden on a smaller scale without the demands of a large garden.

Your Lighting Conditions
Decide where you want your container garden or color bowl to be located, and take note of how many hours of direct sunlight it gets, and at what time of day.  Use “Sun” plants if the area gets sun all afternoon or 6 or more hours of full sun during the day.  If your area has only morning sun or is deeply shaded, use “Shade” plants.

Your Container
What are the dimensions of your container? Does it have adequate drainage? Is it the right color to accent your home? Covington’s offers a huge selection of terra-cotta, glazed pottery and faux terra-cotta containers to choose from. Be creative with your choice of containers, but make sure that your container has adequate holes for proper drainage… this is a must for your plants to thrive!

Large containers are appropriate for mixed plantings of ornamental grasses, colorful annuals and trailing plants. Small containers are better suited for colorful annuals and trailing plants with smaller more compact habits.  Larger containers do not dry out as quickly as small containers.  Faux terra-cotta or plastic containers are a good choice because they are light weight and are easier to move if desired.  Some materials used for containers are more porous than others. Materials like terra-cotta and wood allow better air circulation and enable the root system to breathe. However, with a more porous material, the soil may dry out faster and need to be monitored for watering more often.

Watering and Maintenance
Your color bowls will require less water in early Spring, but more water when the weather heats up. During our hot Texas summers, it’s important to check containers daily.  Be careful when watering.  Don’t allow plants to dry out or become over soaked as both may cause damage.  A good rule of thumb is: “If your container is only dry on the surface, do not water, but if it is dry below your first knuckle, water deeply until water emerges from the container’s drainage holes.”

Adding Soil Moist and expanded shale to your containers at the time of planting will help your containers maintain the necessary moisture for your plants to thrive in the Summer.

Potting Recipe for Ornamental Container Plantings:

  • Covington’s Potting Soil
  • 1/4 to 1/3 Expanded Shale
  • Covington’s Flower & Garden Fertilizer when planting & re-apply as directed.  Also use
    ferti-lome water soluble plant food for blooming/foliage plants once every 2- 3 weeks.

Thrill, Fill and Spill
Remember this formula when planting your containers:

  • Thrill- The tall center or drama of your container
  • Fill- The filler layer of flowers or plants which are shorter than the “Thrill”, but taller than the “Spill”
  • Spill-The outer layer of plantings which will trail over your containers edge

A=Annual    EP=Evergreen Perennial    P=Perennial    TP=Tender Perennial    TT=Texas Tough
(Very Heat Tolerant)


Angelonia – TP,TT Bronzeleaf Sun Begonia – A Alyssum – A
Bandana Lantana – P,TT Dahlberg Daisy – A,TT Blue Daze – A,TT
Esperanza – A Dianthus – P Lobelia – A
Lavender – P Dusty Miller – P Moss Rose (Portulaca) – A,TT
Ornamental Peppers – A Euphorbia, Diamond Frost – P New Gold Trail Lantana-P,TT
Penta (tall) – A,TT Graffiti Penta (dwarf) – A,TT Phlox – A
PomPom Marigold (tall) – A Marigold (short variety) – A Purslane – A,TT
Purple Fountaingrass – A,TT Melampodium – A Rosemary (trailing) – P,TT
Red Flash Caladium – A Petunia/Supertunia – A Scaevola – A,TT
Rosemary (Hardy upright) – P,TT Profusion Zinnia – A,TT Sedum-Dragons Blood – P,TT
Small Grasses – P Snapdragon – A Strawberry – A
Stello D’oro Daylily – P Star Zinnia – A,TT Sweet Potato Vine – A,TT
Sun Coleus – A Sun Coleus – A Thyme-Silver Lemon – P,TT
Victoria Blue Salvia – P,TT Vinca (Periwinkle) – A,TT Verbena (Perennial) – P,TT



Caladiums – A Ajuga – P Algerian Ivy – EP
Coleus (largeleaf) – A Coleus – A Bacopa – A
Cordyline – TP Double Impatiens – A Creeping Fig – EP
Dracena – TP Greenleaf Shade Begonia – A Lamium – P
Fern – P Heuchera (Coral Bells) – P Needlepoint Ivy – EP
Gerber Daisy – P Impatiens – A Purple Jew (Hardy) – P
Hosta – P Mini Impatiens – A Swedish Ivy – TP
New Guinea Impatiens – A Splash (Polka dot plant) – A Trailing Geranium – A
Persian Shield – A Torenia – A Vinca Minor – EP
Yew – EP Tuberous Begonia – A

Revised 1/19/16