Great Flowers for Planters?

Dear Lea,

I have two, fairly large rectangular planter boxes on my front porch that are in the shade for most of the day. I also live in Los Angeles, so it stays relatively dry and warm all year. Other than impatiens, do you have any recommendations for vibrantly colored perennials that would thrive under those conditions? I look forward to hearing from you!

Warm regards, Nathan


Dear Nathan,

Regarding your window boxes, you may want to rethink the idea of perennials for your window boxes, because most perennials do not bloom year round.  If you want strong color all year, there are many types of coleus that give lots of brilliant color and are easy to grow.  They range from chartreuse to the deepest black, with purple, red, burgundy and green varieties available also.  Coleus love the shade and grow like weeds – they can become very big and voluptuous.  And because you live in that warm California climate, just about any annual can last forever if it’s fertilized and thinned periodically.  For a dramatic combination, you might try Coleus ‘Blackberry waffles” and Coleus ‘Dexter” – a very hip black and green pairing.  There are also fuchsias, which like the shade and provide brilliant colors of hot pink and purple, pale pink and white.  And the humble sweet potato plant, whether you use the one with the bright green leaves, or those that are almost black, can be very beautiful spilling out of a window box.  Good luck!  Lea

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