What Makes a Pretty Planter?


You see them all over the place; and if you’re anything like me you drool every time you do.  Pretty planters… all of the hotels have them, model homes, historic bungalows, even little restaurants too.


I’m no expert, as evidenced by the starting point this spring of my front porch planters (below), but I’ve noticed what many picture perfect planters have in common.

The planters I’m drawn to all seem to have an element of height, something tall that draws your eye upward.  Another thing I like to see in a planter is a drama plant, something different that just says WOW – look at me!  Planters really need to have a draping feature too that gives the composition softness and a sense of movement.  Don’t forget filler plants, that feeling of lush fullness.  Something else to consider when assembling a planter is color:  do you want it to be monochromatic, reflect the colors of the season, or even coordinate with the surroundings?  Finally, but no less important, when you are putting together a planter you must consider your light and heat source, as well as how often you are going to be able to water it.  If you’re going to have full afternoon, hot south, sun you should not plant impatiens in your planter.  Planters generally dry out quickly, so think about that too when you are choosing your plants.

For my planters this year I had a vision, and like all good visions it went completely out the window when I went to 5 nurseries looking for the plants I had in mind the nursery.  So, instead I came up with a different ‘vision’.   I ended up going kinda’ patriotic this year: red, white, and blue.  Some of the plants I used were English Ivy, White Ivy geraniums, White Euphorbia, Red Verbena, Blue “Tiny Tunias” – they have another name I just can’t remember what it is, White Dusty Miller, and Red Something Grass.  Not exactly what I initially had in mind, but I figured I’d give it a go.




The plants definitely still need to grow in a bit, but it’s quite an improvement from where they started.  (Don’t look too closely though or you’ll see how badly I need to replace the coco liners.)  Please forgive the horrible, glaring, burn your eyeballs, bright sun in the picture.  Photography skills improvement is still on my list of ‘things to do’.  I should probably move it up on the list, dontcha think…

I have five baskets that go across my front porch (3 to the left of the door and 2 to the right), and since I have a thing for symmetry… on the right side of my door I put the plants going in one direction then in the baskets on the other side of the door I put the plants in the baskets in the opposite direction.  The baskets on either side of the door are mirror images of each other.  I know, I know, control issues.  I’m working on it trying to everyone around me to do things like I do them.

Have you ever had a gardening ‘vision’ that had to be entirely revamped when you couldn’t find what you were looking for?  I’d love to look at pictures of or hear about your personal planter triumphs, or even some pretties you’ve seen around town.