Quick Color for the Patio, Entry
A lot of us were caught with our plants down when the cold blasts of December and early January rolled through. That means that a lot of us are now looking for some other source of cool-season color.
I stopped by a Calloways Nursery in the Metroplex a couple of days ago, and these two plants caught my attention. Neither is hardy to temperatures anywhere near where we went in recent weeks, but both will handle light frost and modest freezes (high 20s) quite well.
• Cyclamen are popular potted plants for Christmas and Valentine’s Day, but smaller selections work well in patio pots and wall planters outdoors. They continue blooming for many weeks in shades of red, pink, lavender and white. They combine well with other plants to make stunning dish gardens.
• Garden carnations, or double pinks (so-named because their petals look like they were trimmed with pinking shears) are delightful little winter/early spring annuals. They probably won’t make it through the heat of the summer (in spite of what the nursery tag may tell you), but they’ll certainly cheer up their surroundings well into the spring.
• Other possible additions: Larkspurs, stocks and snapdragons both would add height. Sweet alyssum would be a great trailing plant to use around the edges.
All of these plants will survive temperatures into the high-20s. Protect them if it gets colder, and don’t let snow or ice accumulate on top of them. Keep them uniformly moist at all times, and feed them with a high-nitrogen, water-soluble plant food weekly.