Caladium, purple heart and golden Swedish Ivy in a container
Photo: Mark Lohman
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On Containers

Q: What plants work in pots?

A: Everything. People tell me they wish they could grow things like bananas or palms or lily of the Nile. I say, "Sure you can." Anything you ever wanted to try, just grow it in a pot. Put the pots outside in the summer and, if the plants aren't hardy enough for your climate, bring them inside for the winter. You don't need a greenhouse—I don't have one—because the plants don't have to look good all winter. They are basically in a period of stasis—just on hold. My solution is to put them in front of every window in the house. I also have a little back porch and a big, glassed-in front porch. I move potted plants that go dormant, such as cannas and dahlias and pineapple lilies, to a dark room in the basement. Around March, I start paying attention to my container plants. I tidy them up, water, and fertilize. Then when the weather warms, I put them outside. By summer, they are in their glory again.

Shown: Caladium, with its curious, elephant's-ear leaves, tops off a container composition of foliage plants that includes lower-growing purple heart and golden Swedish ivy.
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