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A Monochromatic Color Scheme Creates Dynamic Containers

14 terrific container designs from our readers

Last spring, we challenged our readers to design a container that featured a single color. Whether you have a passion for purple, a yen for yellow, or an obsession for orange, we wanted to see how you celebrated your chosen color in a monochromatic container design. The results are in. Once again, we’re astounded by the talent and vision of our readers. Congratulations to our winner and finalists!

Winner: The softer side of orange

This is the third time Sheila has won our challenge, and there seems to be no end to her talent and imagination. While she chose orange as her color, she went for subtlety rather than flash, leaning toward peach tones. We love the peach tips of the aloe, how the hyssop and gomphrena echo the aloe’s tones, and how Sheila chose a container that makes the entire composition harmonious.

Designed by Sheila Schultz, Denver

  • Spineless Hedgehog™ aloe (Aloe × humilis ‘Andhogp’, USDA Hardiness Zones 9–11)
  • Retro Succulents® Carmine™ aloe (Aloe ‘Carmine’, Zones 9–11)
  • Tree aeonium (Aeonium cv., Zones 9–11)
  • Mistletoe cactus (Rhipsalis baccifera, Zones 10–11)
  • Cochineal nopal cactus (Opuntia cochenillifera, Zones 9–10)
  • QIS Orange gomphrena (Gomphrena haageana ‘Orange’, annual)
  • Feather grass (Nassella tenuissima, Zones 7–11)
  • Acapulco Orange hyssop (Agastache ‘Acapulco Orange’, Zones 6–10)

Congratulations, Sheila! You’ve won $250 worth of Sun Parasol plants, to be redeemed at your favorite garden center or direct from the company (Sun-Fire Nurseries,

And the Finalists!


container with dark foliage plants

Sheila Schultz, Denver

  • Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata, USDA Hardiness Zones 9–11)
  • ‘Zwartkop’ aeonium (Aeonium arboretum ‘Zwartkop’, Zones 9–11)
  • ‘Blue Glow’ agave (Agave ‘Blue Glow’, Zones 8–11)
  • Crested euphorbia (Euphorbia sp., Zone 11)
  • Jovibarba (Jovibarba heuffelii, Zones 6–8)
  • Mexican stonecrop (Sedum mexicanum, Zones 8–11)
  • Pork and beans (Sedum rubrotinctum, Zones 9–11)
  • ‘Blackie’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’, Zone 11)
  • Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides cv., Zone 11)


container with various yellow flowers

Lisha Utt, Ijamsville, Maryland

  • ‘Lucky White’ lantana (Lantana camara ‘Lucky White’, Zone 11)
  • ‘Primrose’ argyranthemum (Argyranthemum ‘Primrose’, Zones 10–11)
  • Solenia™ Light Yellow begonia (Begonia ‘Solenia Light Yellow’, annual)
  • ‘Suntastic Yellow’ fan flower (Scaevola ‘Suntastic Yellow’, annual)
  • Superbells® Lemon Slice calibrachoa (Calibrachoa ‘USCAL5302M’, annual)
  • Superbells® Yellow calibrachoa (Calibrachoa ‘USCAL53002’, annual)

Nearly black

container with dark foliage and red and white flowers

Brenda Addington, Suwanee, Georgia

  • ‘Australia’ canna (Canna ‘Australia’, Zones 8–11)
  • ‘Choca Mocha’ chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus ‘Choca Mocha’, annual)
  • ‘Obsidian’ heuchera (Heuchera ‘Obsidian’, Zones 3–8)
  • ‘Black Velvet’ petunia (Petunia ‘Black Velvet’, annual)
  • ‘Midnight Sun’ moneywort (Lysimachia ‘Midnight Sun’, Zones 4–10)
  • ‘Night Ruler’ bearded iris (Iris ‘Night Ruler’, Zones 3–9)
  • Romeo fan flower (Scaevola ‘Romeo’, annual)


containers with light and dark purple flowers

Jean Coon, Metamora, Michigan

  • Superbells® Grape Punch calibrachoa (CalibrachoaUSCAL84704′, annual)
  • Angelface® Blue angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia ‘Anbluim’, annual)
  • ‘Electric Lime’ coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Electric Lime’, Zone 11)
  • ‘Phloxy Lady Purple Sky’ phlox (Phlox maculata ‘Phloxy Lady Purple Sky’, Zones 5–8)
  • Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’, Zones 8–11)
  • ‘Goldilocks’ golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Goldilocks’, Zones 4–8)
  • Supertunia® Royal Velvet petunia (Petunia ‘Kakegawa S28’, annual)
  • Sweetunia® Grape Ice petunia (Petunia ‘Dueswegrice’, annual)

Dark purple

container with various dark purple foliage plants

Holly Buss, Westmount, Quebec

  • ‘Fireworks’ begonia (Begonia ‘Fireworks’, Zone 11)
  • ‘Black Velvet’ petunia (Petunia ‘Black Velvet’, annual)
  • ‘Black Magic’ elephant’s ear (Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’, Zones 8–11)
  • Purple velvet plant (Gynura aurantiaca, Zones 10–11)
  • Variegated potato vine (Solanum jasminoides ‘Variegata’, Zones 9–11)
  • Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus, Zones 9–11)
  • ‘Fishnet Stockings’ coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Fishnet Stockings’, Zone 11)

Dark purple 2

tall container with dark purple foliage

Nathan Brown, Reno, Nevada

  • ‘Pink Frost’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas ‘Pink Frost’, Zone 11)
  • ‘Margarita’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas ‘Margarita’, Zone 11)
  • Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus, Zone 11)
  • ‘Jemmy Deep Violet’ throatwort (Trachelium caeruleum ‘Jemmy Deep Violet’, annual)
  • ‘Jervis Bay After Dark’ willow myrtle (Agonis flexuosa ‘Jervis Bay After Dark’, Zone 10)
  • ‘Beni-Kaze’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Beni-Kaze’, Zones 5–9)
  • Common horsetail (Equisetum hyemale, Zones 3–11))
  • ‘Happy Line’ coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Happy Line’, Zone 11)
  • Red Abyssinian banana (Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’, Zones 9–11)
  • ‘Miracle’ heuchera (Heuchera ‘Miracle’, Zones 3–8)
  • ‘Evansii’ hebe (Hebe ‘Evansii’, Zones 8–11)
  • ‘Chocolate’ rose aeonium (Aeonium arboreum ‘Chocolate’, Zone 11)
  • Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’, Zones 8–11)
  • ‘Australia’ canna (Canna ‘Australia’, Zones 8–11)


container with orange flowers and foliage

Brenda Addington, Suwanee, Georgia

  • Australia’ canna (Canna ‘Australia’, Zones 8–11)
  • Tropicanna® Gold canna (Canna indica ‘Mactro’, Zones 8–11)
  • Infinity® Orange New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawker ‘Visinforimp’, annual)
  • Hot Shot Orange portulaca (Portulaca oleracea ‘Hot Shot Orange’, annual)
  • Santa Cruz® Sunset begonia (Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz Sunset’, annual)
  • ‘Orange Marmalade’ firecracker flower (Crossandra infundibuliformis ‘Orange Marmalade’, Zones 10–11)
  • ‘Sweet Caroline Bronze’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas ‘Sweet Caroline Bronze’, Zone 11)

Orange 2

container with lots of orange flowers

Heather Geiser, Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Orange A-Peel® black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia alata ‘Orange Wonder’, annual)
  • ‘Hidalgo’ dahlia (Dahlia ‘Hidalgo’, Zones 9–11)
  • Nonstop™ Mocca Deep Orange begonia (Begonia ‘Nonstop Mocca Deep Orange’, annual)
  • Orange Symphony osteospermum (Osteospermum ‘Seikimora’, annual)
  • ‘Orange Marmalade’ firecracker flower (Crossandra infundibuliformis ‘Orange Marmalade’, Zones 10–11)
  • Luscious® Citrus Blend™ lantana (Lantana camara ‘2003301’, annual)


container with red flowers and foliage

Jane Horn, Prior Lake, Minnesota

  • ‘Prince’ purple fountain grass (Pennisetum purpureum ‘Prince’, Zones 8–11)
  • ‘Firecracker’ fuchsia (Fuchsia triphylla ‘Firecracker’, Zones 10–11)
  • ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ fuchsia (Fuchsia triphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’, Zones 10–11)
  • ‘Kingwood Torch’ coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Kingwood Torch’, Zone 11)
  • ‘Cardinal Red’ impatiens (Impatiens walleriana ‘Cardinal Red’, annual)
  • ‘Blackie’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’, Zone 11)
  • ‘Emerald Lace’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas ‘Emerald Lace’, Zone 11)

Red 2

tall container with red flowers and foliage

Moira McQuarrie, Hanson, Massachusetts

  • ‘Angel Wing Red’ begonia (Begonia ‘Angel Wing Red’, annual)
  • Tropicanna® canna (Canna indica ‘Phasion’, Zones 8–11)
  • ‘Fireworks’ fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Fireworks’, Zones 8–11)
  • ‘Alabama Sunset’ coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Alabama Sunset’, Zone 11)
  • ‘Velma Cox’ Geranium (Pelargonium ‘Velma Cox’, annual)
  • Club moss (Selaginella kraussiana, Zones 6–10)


container with pink foliage plants

HollyAnn Nicom, Somerdale, New Jersey

  • ‘Cooler Icy Pink’ vinca (Vinca ‘Cooler Icy Pink’, annual)
  • ‘Peach Blossom’ astilbe (Astilbe ‘Peach Blossom’, Zones 3–8)
  • ‘Red Head’ coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Red Head’, Zone 11)
  • ‘Pink Beauty’ caladium (Caladium bicolor ‘Pink Beauty’, Zones 10–11)
  • ‘Splash Select Pink’ polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya ‘Splash Pink Select’, annual)
  • ‘Bronze Leaf Pink’ begonia (Begonia ‘Bronze Leaf Pink’, annual)
  • ‘Castle Pink’ celosia (Celosia ‘Castle Pink’, annual)
  • Golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, Zones 4–8)
  • ‘Guacamole’ hosta (Hosta ‘Guacamole’, Zones 3–9)

Bright pink

container with bright pink flowers

Isabella Mihalik, Sagamore Hills, Ohio

  • Purple fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’, Zones 8–11)
  • Landmark™ Sunrise Rose lantana (Lantana camara ‘Sunrise Rose’, annual)
  • ‘Partytime’ alternanthera (Alternanthera ficoidea ‘Partytime’, annual)


container with various white flowers

Chris Lowey, Foxboro, Massachusetts

  • White mandevilla (Mandevilla cv., Zone 11)
  • Snowstorm® Giant Snowflake® bacopa (Sutera cordata ‘Danova906’, annual)
  • ‘Harmony White’ begonia (Begonia ‘Harmony White’, annual)
  • ‘Prelude White’ begonia (Begonia ‘Prelude White’, annual)
  • Nonstop™ Mocca White begonia (Begonia ‘Nonstop Mocca White’, annual)
  • Breathless™ White euphorbia (Euphorbia hypericifolia ‘Balbrewite’, annual))
  • Angelface® White angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia ‘Anwhitim’, annual)
  • ‘Geyser White’ gaura (Gaura lindheimeri ‘Geyser White’, Zones 5–9)
Previous: Michelle’s Containers in California Next: A Variety of Interesting Plants Give These Pots an Extra Punch
View Comments


  1. geron1mo 03/30/2014

    UGH. I don't see anything I like here. I don't like the idea of putting a bunch of plants into a container. Mostly, they look contrived, and hideous. Just because you can group plants into one container does not make a congruent picture.

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