Container Garden Idea

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I was walking around the Loop the other day when I spotted these containers planted in a sidewalk cafe. I like the way the colors of the foliage blend well with the colors of the restaurant and outdoor furniture. You can easily recreate this look on a small urban space like a balcony, patio, deck or a container garden. All you need is a container and four plants available at most garden centers and nurseries in Chicago

  1. Asparagus Fern (not really a fern)
  2. Cana Lily (not really a lily)
  3. Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine
  4. Geranium
Three of these four plants are treated as annuals here in Chicago and discarded in the fall. They aren’t expensive plants but after you’ve made the investment in purchasing them you could overwinter them indoors so you don’t buy them again next year. The asparagus fern could be grown as a houseplant. The cana lily rhizome will have to be lifted and stored in a cool dry place when the foliage dies down. The sweet potato vine tubers can be stored the same or you can take cuttings from the foliage and root them in a glass jar on your windowsill and plant them out in the spring and summer. The geranium can be pulled out and be grown in a cool bright window or you can take cuttings, similar to the sweet potato vine. 
The only thing I don’t like about this planting is that the container is too small for these plants and will require you to keep a close eye on watering. If you’ve grown canas or ornamental sweet potato vine before you know how big the rhizome and tubers get. Either of these two plants would have no problem filling that tiny pot with roots in just one season. 


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  • That looks like it could be a great windowbox for someone with a small window.

    Any idea whether those plants do better in sunny/shady areas?

  • In reply to dan360man:

    Hi Dan,

    It would definitely need to be in a sunny spot.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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