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This Japanese maple has long-lobed, deeply divided leaves that are cherry red in the spring, a perfect contrast to the pea green bark. In summer the foliage changes slowly from red to green and back to red in fall. The habit is wide spreading with pendulous branches providing movement in the least of wind. Though slow to mature, it is an easy tree to grow and a striking beauty.
The foliage is bright strawberry red at first emergence, and slowly pink suffuses each leaf along the vein as the spring progresses. Graceful deeply divided leaves with serrated edges gently curve at the tips. In its mature form, this tree will most likely have wide spreading with cascading branches (Because this is a new cultivar and Japanese maples can be very slow growing, accurate information about this tree’s maturity can be difficult to come by) . This cultivar is a seedling from ‘Aka shigitatsu sawa’.
This round, mound-forming, deciduous Japanese maple has many qualities that make it an excellent garden plant, including a sculptural form, deeply cut foliage, arching shoots, and golden autumn color. The reddish purple flowers are tiny but attractive up close. They are followed by winged fruit. Threadleaf Japanese maple makes a beautiful specimen in small gardens and can be grown in large containers or used for bonsai.
This tall, upright perennial has single flowers of various colors that grow along a spike. It blooms in early summer and midsummer.
The dense, glossy foliage of this evergreen plant is splattered with yellow. Gold-dust plant can be planted near nearby tree roots, and it responds well to pruning. Combine it with yellow-blooming or variegated plants for appealing color harmonies. -Debra Lee Baldwin, Regional Picks: Southern California, Fine Gardening issue #127
Having the striking leaves of a Rex begonia and a vining growth habit, Cissus discolor is excellent in a container and can be trained onto a form. Its oval- to heart-shaped leaves are dark green with frosty silver patterns, while the undersides are red. The vine generally stays to 1 to 3 feet in containers. It may also be used on trellises or arbors.
'Princess Diana' is a steady bloomer from midsummer into early fall. Its compact habit makes it a good choice for large containers, but it will be just as happy in your perennial border.
Information provided by Brushwood Nursery
Downy clematis is a hardy, deciduous early bloomer that can flourish in Zone 4. The species will climb to 10 feet with a little support, and it has bell-shaped, purple-blue, almost columbine-like flowers about 1 to 2 inches, sometimes up to 4 inches in diameter, that mature to fluffy, pinkish seed heads. Blooms appear in spring and early summer, sometimes followed by a second flush in late summer to early autumn
This clumping, drought-tolerant grass is one of the best pampas grasses you could grow. It has the showy, late-summer plumes common to this group, but they grow straight up, not willy-nilly like many other varieties; they eventually stand 4 to 6 feet above the foliage. Even better news is that this cultivar does not set seed, so it is noninvasive. The foliage features distinct golden edges, which, for a grass, usually menas that it loves shade or moisture. But 'Gold Band' tolerates heat and drought, making it great for large containers, and it can handle coastal conditions, too.
Australian tree fern has dark green fronds that can reach 12 feet long. Its stem elongates into a trunk-like structure, giving the plant the appearance of a palm tree. Humidity is essential to growing this plant well. Use it as a specimen plant, in a container, or in a greenhouse.
Large, paddle-shaped leaves with prominent veins make this tree a standout in containers outdoors or as a houseplant. Native to topical regions of western and central Africa, fiddle-leaf fig has leathery, glossy, evergreen leaves and round fruit. In the wild, it can reach 100 feet tall and almost as wide, but its size is easily controlled in containers. It was a popular houseplant in the 1950s and 60s.
This cultivar has dark green leaves with a faint bronze sheen. Its narrow, dangling, red and purple flowers bloom throughout the season.
Anyone who has grown beautybush knows that it puts on a spectacular pink flower display in late spring and then it goes incognito the rest of the year. This new beautybush, however, commonly known as Dream Catcher™, dazzles the eye with unforgettable, golden yellow foliage that turns to a striking golden orange in fall.
This annual climber has winged stems and deliciously fragrant, ruffled blossoms. Many cultivars exist with varying bloom color (solid, mixed, or bicolor), size, and climbing habit.
Honey bush has attractive, 12- to 20-inch-long pinnate leaves with sharply toothed silver-green leaflets. It bears spike-like racemes of oddly scented brownish crimson to brick-red flowers from late spring to midsummer.
Tree tobacco bears fleshy, almost succulent, saucer-sized leaves colored a lovely silvery blue. This tender perennial can be easily grown from seed as an annual and, in a single season, makes the incredible leap from a dust mote of seed to a skyscraping specimen 10 or more feet tall. Plants are a little rangy, but plenty of pinching helps keep tree tobacco at a size suited to a more modest perennial border. The plant bears yellow flowers if given a long enough growing season.
'Carmencita' castor bean is a shrub, usually grown as an annual, that grows to 6 to 10 feet and is well branched, with dark bronze-red foliage and bright red female flowers. Grow in a cool greenhouse or use as a specimen foliage plant in the summer outdoors.
This short-lived, tender perennial shrub native to the Canary Islands off the African coast sends up 6-foot white-furred stems cloaked with long, felted, arrow-shaped leaves and topped, summer to frost, with plumes of purplish violet flowers clasped by red-tipped calyxes. It grows up to 4 feet wide.
This tender perennial climber is evergreen in Zones 10 and warmer. Cheerful, 1.5-inch flowers in shades of orange and yellow cover this fast-growing vine. The blossoms have a simple form: 5 petals surrounding a brownish purple center. Where grown as an annual, plants can reach 8 feet; when grown as a perennial, 20 feet.
One of the hardiest palms, Chinese windmill palm has single stems with large, 4-foot-wide fans of sword-like leaves. It produces large plumes of yellow flowers in early summer; the flowers of female plants transform into bluish-black fruits. Chinese windmill palms may be shoot-hardy to Zone 6 if protected with 10 inches of mulch. With their rich fans and handsome habits, they make attractive specimens for formal outdoor spaces. These evergreen palms are native to the mountains and temperate regions of subtropical Asia. Plants can grow to 20 feet tall and 8 feet wide.
Planting Spring Bulbs in Containers
by Richard Hartlage
VIDEO Forcing Bulbs
Trick your bulbs into blooming early
by Renee Beaulieu
Alliums All Season Long
Deer resistant and dynamic, these bulbs provide color from the first showers of spring to the last leaves of fall
by Stephanie Cohen
Potting Soil Recipes
Cook up your own container mix that is suited to your plants
by Daryl Beyers
Potting Soil Ingredients
Here's a breakdown on some common container soil ingredients
by Daryl Beyers
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