For the last in my series of posts on seed and plant orders, I’ll focus on plants bound for containers. We’ve got lots of containers – some in sun, some in shade.

Beacon Impatiens at the Gardens at Ball Horticultural

Impatiens Beacon Paradise Hybrid Mix (Impatiens walleriana). We used to grow lots of impatiens in the containers in our shady back garden. The impatiens blight put an end to that, however. Recently, though, Ball Seeds developed Beacon Impatiens, which is blight-resistant. This is the first year that Beacon Impatiens can be purchased in large quantities. They are available from Burpee as seeds or plants. Unfortunately, they are only available in mixed colors. I’m hopeful that next year I’ll be able to order in all white, as I prefer mostly white flowers in the shade.

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Black Swallowtail on Zahara Sunburst Zinnia

Zinnia ‘Forecast’ and Zahara Sunburst. I love Zinnias for containers in sun. Butterflies and Hummingbirds love them, too. Zinnias are good for containers also because they are so colorful and relatively drought tolerant. Sunburst is aptly named as its red streaks seem to explode on a yellow background. ‘Forecast’ is taller, about 36″, with single flowers in mixed colors.

Mignonette ‘Ameliorata’ (Reseda odorata). This one I’m trying for the first time. It seems similar to Sweet Alyssum, growing with tiny, fragrant white flowers about 6″ high. I want to see how it does as a filler for containers in sun.

Sweet Alyssum ‘Benthamii’, ‘Snow Crystals’ (Lobularia maritima). Sweet Alyssum are a long-time favorite of mine, though this year I’m trying a couple of varieties that are new to me. I just love the fragrance of the tiny white flower bouquets. Great for underplanting and edging. Last year I discovered that Sweet Alyssum will not bloom until early summer if direct sown. Started indoors, though, it can be planted out a couple weeks before the last frost date, which makes it a good underplanting for late spring bulbs.

‘Royal Ensign’ Dwarf Morning Glory. Photo from Select Seeds.

Dwarf Morning Glory ‘Royal Ensign’ (Convolvulus tricolor). Another plant I’m trying for the first time. I’m always looking for container plants that can fill the filler or spiller role. Actually, there is no reason why your filler can’t also be your spiller. Also, in my opinion not every container needs a thriller plant, either. But I digress. Anyway, I like blue flowers to go along with all the yellow, red, and orange that will dominate my containers in sun. I found ‘Royal Ensign’ at Select Seeds, which has a really tempting assortment of unusual plants.

Marigold ‘Frances’ Choice’ (Tagetes patula). This is a red/yellow single marigold. I intend to use it mostly to fill in around the determinate tomato plants I’ll be growing in containers on the roof.

‘Empress of India’ Nasturtium and Cigar Plant in a container.

Nasturtium ‘Empress of India’ (Tropaeolum majus). Now and then I try Nasturtiums in our containers for sun. I love the red-orange color of ‘Empress of India’, which has a nice, mounded habit.

Caladium ‘Candidum Sr’ and ‘Summer Breeze’. Caladiums are the thrillers of my containers in shade. I order them as bulbs from Brent and Becky’s and start them on a heat mat indoors. ‘Candidum Sr’ are mostly white with green ribs, while ‘Summer Breeze’ has red ribs and some pinkish color. I plant twice as many of the white/green Caladiums as I do of the ones with red in the mix.

Most of my seeds have already arrived, the plants and bulbs will come later. I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer to put in my orders, lately when I look at seed company websites I see a lot of “out of stock” notices. Have you ordered all your seeds and plants for spring, or are you still looking?

28 Comments on “Ordering Seeds Part 3 – Annuals For Containers”

  1. I got several of those this year too! I haven’t tried dwarf morning glories either, so we’ll both see if they really are “dwarf.” I have ALL the seeds I could ever need, and many with enough in quantity I shouldn’t need to order again next year. HA! I have quite a few out in milk jugs, wintersowning. Some are up, which is okay in 8B.

  2. I remember those white caladiums from last summer — they’re even more beautiful now in this dreary cold. But the most wonderful, of course, is that butterfly on the zinnia. What a gorgeous image that is. Now I must take a moment to recover from “Carry Me Back to Old New Guinea.”

  3. We order minimal seed and bulbs. None were ordered this year. I can barely accommodate what was obtained from the garden and landscapes last year. I really should try some other varieties. I will get some vegetable seed from the hardware store later, but they will be the simple and common varieties.

  4. You’ve reminded me that when I admired your Caladiums last year I thought, “Those might do in my shade.” I’d best get planning. The Beacon Impatiens would be worth trying, too. I usually don’t gravitate toward blue flower, but those dwarf morning glories are — well, glorious. It’s going to be fun seeing how this all develops over the months.

  5. I was startled by “the determinate tomato plants I’ll be growing in containers on the roof”. I mean, the seed, bulb and annual buying is exciting and all, but I want to know more about the roof planting.
    I have little (as in “no”) success planting in pots. I do direct seed sawing with peas and sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus), both are a sure thing for me. I adore your caladium planters, and also appreciate that you enjoy the scent of sweet alyssum; I do too.

  6. I love the caladium. Had white ones in containers last summer and they were magnificent.
    It’s been several years since I grew mignonette. It’s an old-fashioned favourite. And the swallowtail on the zinnia is a reminder of the monarch butterflies I had visit my zinnias a couple of years ago. Good luck with your seed choice!

  7. I always like your annual list. One year I sprinkled alyssum seeds into the cracks of the patio. I had quite the mosaic of concrete knit together by alyssum. Good luck with all your seeds. I love cLadiums too. I don’t seem to have much luck with them. I forget to keep them watered.

  8. Your pots with the Caladiums are glorious! I’ve never tried to grow them from bulbs, although I think I’ve tried to dig them up and overwinter them with no success. Several garden centers around here have large healthy ones for sale each spring at quite reasonable prices–thanks for the reminder, though, since I haven’t grown them in a couple of years. Looks like a great line-up. I’m getting a little anxious to plant, but I’m holding off just a bit…

  9. I love those dwarf zinnias, zahara sunburst is one of the favorites which I try to find each year. Of course I’m too disorganized to start them from seed but luckily I can usually find a few seedlings each spring. Your caladium pots are inspiring. Wow.

  10. I think you will be thrilled with the Reseda. We always grew it growing up, in Sweden. I have never seen it for sale here in the US, until you mentioned it just now. As I recall – it’s rather unassuming in appearance, but has a wonderful fragrance. I LOVE your big white Caladium container! Gorgeous…

  11. I ordered my seeds earlier than usual – at the end of December, I believe – and there were already a few varieties that I couldn’t get….ugh! I love that more people have caught the gardening bug but the seed situation is frustrating. I’m hoping that seed companies ramp up production in the coming years to meet the increased demand.

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