Written by David S.
Planters are one of the best ways to showcase flowers. Whether you have a single flower in a container or a mixture, how you place the plants is essential. Raised beds and in-ground gardens are also a place where plant size and placement are essential. Inside, we point out several plants that are perfect for the middle section of contains or beds. We also give you some details on caring for those plants, and we go over a few planting styles.
Planting Styles for Containers and Beds
Planting flowers in a mixed garden bed or container occurs in three primary ways. One of those is the haphazard approach which we won’t discuss here as that spoils the effect. Of the other two styles, there is the Bleacher style or the ring style. Here’s a closer look at those. Bleacher Style
We’ve all seen those gorgeous mixed plant containers that feature a handful of different plants. Usually, those include a tall plant in the center followed by a mixture of medium and small plants with a few hanging plants tossed in to create some drama. Because urns are usually roundish, the taller plants would go either in the back or center. Which options you choose comes down to where the urn is placed.
When placed against a fence or wall, we would put the plants in a bleacher-type style with the taller flowers going in the back. The medium-tall plants go on the side and middle and the smaller plants in the front. We do this because nobody would see the back of the urn so, the plant placement is tall in the back and short in front.
If the urn sat in a location where people can view it from all sides, then the plant placement would be in a ring formation with the tallest plants in the center, the medium plants around the taller ones, and the shortest plants near the edge with the hanging plants on the edge.
The two styles of plant placement take into account how people will view the plants. Keep reading as we walk you through middle plant placement and suggestions.
Tall Plants for Ring-style Planters
Delphiniums are tall and thin, and they make the perfect tall plant for the center of a bed or pot. The flower spikes reach six feet and can be as wide as 2.5 inches across. They come in a variety of pastel colors, including a lovely purple and a butter-cream yellow. Their soft, demure colors are only outshone by their height. They prefer colder climates but will do just fine in zone 9 with some afternoon shade.
On par with delphinium is the foxglove. These thrive to zone 10, and their flower spike reaches six feet in height. They prefer full sun with some afternoon shade in warmer areas. They love soil that is well-draining and full of organic material.
3. Canna Lily
These tropical bulbs grow to ten feet in height. If you want a winter-hardy for zones nine and ten, then Canna Lilies are a contender. One of the best features of canna lilies is that they come in almost every color. The beautiful peachy oranges and soft creamy whites and yellows are amazing. If you want more drama, the brilliant red is hard to beat.
Sunflowers, which do fine in zone nine and zone ten with some extra water, are excellent in spots where you want a tall and stunning flower. You can find smaller versions of sunflowers if you want to keep the container on the smaller size, or you can go big with the massive sunflowers that climb to eight feet in height.
The idea with the ring-style container garden is to keep the taller stuff in the middle. The list of tall plants is massive so let your imagination run wild as there are no hard and fast rules for creating natural art.
Bleacher Style Mixed Plant Beds
There are plenty available if you are looking for medium-sized plants for the center of a bleacher-style planter or garden bed. Any of the above-listed plants would be excellent for the back of the planter, and in the middle, you have the option of using flowering plants, grasses, smaller shrubs, and even taller ground covers. Here are five plants that grow well in the middle.
1. Dwarf Dahlias
Dahlias can grow to six feet tall, but if you stick with the smaller varieties, they range from two-three feet to just 12-inches in height. Dahlias are winter hardy in zones 8-11, and when cared for, they will bloom into the fall.
2. Mexican Feather Grass
Mexican Feather Grass can be invasive, so check locally for restriction to growing it. It reaches about three feet in height and adds a beautiful texture and neutral color to a flower bed. These are lovely when interspersed with other types of decorative grasses.
These plants can grow to four feet in height and upwards of three feet wide. They are ideal when planted in clumps where their beautiful blooms will showcase. These are perineal plants that can take two years to bloom if planted from seed. For that reason, we recommend the potted nursery plants over seeds. They come in various shades of beautiful purple and yellow.
4. Day Lilies
Day lilies can grow to three feet in height, but many stay in the two-three foot range. They come in an array of colors and produce beautiful blooms. They grow well in zones four-nine and zone ten with a bit of shade in the late afternoon.
As with the taller plants in the ring-style container, the list of perfect plants is long for the mid-section of a pot or bed. You can also use smaller plants that are propped up and then spill down.
If you are planting in the ground, use E.B. Stone Planting Mix for best results. When planting in raised beds or containers, use E. B. Stone Raised Bed and Potting Mix.
Many plants offer texture, color, and interestingly unique flowers too.
Be sure to stop by any of our locations and browse the extensive collection of plants for containers, pots, and beds.
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