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Tuesday, May 15, 2018 Container GardeningHouseplantsSummer

Add Big, Bold Houseplants--To Your Patio!

Are you looking for a way to give your patio or balcony a dramatic new look? Why not move your indoor plants outdoors and let them grow to new heights? Recently, I visited a good friend who did just that. First, she built some oversized containers and mounted them on casters to make them portable. Then, she filled each container with soil and tucked in her favorite indoor plants to create a temporary wall of foliage on her small, shaded patio.

Because she lives in a warm climate it didn’t take long for her plants to grow to huge proportions. In fact, they grew so large that they effectively screened the view from the neighbor’s house that hugged her lot line. Her collection includes fiddle leaf fig (aka, fiddle leaf ficus or Ficus lyrata, left) peace lily, philodendron, croton (above), lady palm, and sansevieria. These big impressive plants quickly created a lush and leafy Eden.

I asked her what her secrets to success were and she shared four of her tips for growing monster plants:

--Always buy the largest plants and varieties you can find and afford. Bigger, more mature specimens can take more abuse than young plants. She loves peace lily and plants the giant variety Sensation that can grow 6 feet tall.

--Water only when the soil feels dry to the touch and add a bit of liquid fertilizer every 10 days.

--When you bring your plant home from the garden center repot it in fresh soil. She feels they grow faster if they get a new start in a quality potting mix.

--As fall approaches, move your plants back inside for the night and back out again in the morning after the sun has warmed things up. This way, they slowly became reacquainted with indoor conditions and won’t go into a dramatic decline once they come inside for the winter. After temperatures drop below 50F your plants should be happily living indoors.

Written by:
Doug Jimerson

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