Annual Flowers

Bright pops of color and dramatic flower pots at building entries are a sure sign that our growing season has arrived.  Old folk lore for Central Oregon is that you should wait until the snow has melted off of Black Butte.  We often use Memorial Day for scheduling “color spots”.

Selecting a Container

Terra Cotta is the classic material that lends itself nicely to most gardens.  Poured concrete and stone are other classic materials that age gracefully. Glazed terra cotta pots are a great way to emphasize a color scheme.  These are materials result in heavy containers and they are prone to cracking from freeze thaw cycles.  A best practice is to store them out of the elements for the winter. Depending on weight, this can be a significant challenge.

In today’s market there is a wide variety of plastic composite and fiberglass plant containers that come in many shapes and colors to look like concrete, terra cotta or ceramic.  These new materials offer desirable styles at a fraction of the cost and weight.

The porosity of the materials will also affect water usage.  And ALL containers need drainage.


This may seem glaringly obvious as some locations are typical: flanking the front door, corner of the deck/patio, hanging basket along the porch.  Perhaps one of the most crucial things to consider in location of flower pots is its proximity to water. In the high desert, irrigation is essential.  An automated drip zone tied into your existing irrigation system is ideal.  This allows you to get away for long weekends full of fun and adventure and return home to pretty flowers.

A chosen and planted container can also serve as a focal point in a visual corridor or feature in a planting bed.  The scale of the container is determining factor for this situation; bigger is better.

Triller, Filler & Spiller in a wooden half barrel container

Triller, Filler & Spiller in a wooden half barrel container


A soil mix formulated specifically for flower pots is best.  If you want the best, get one with mycorrhizae to help stimulate root growth.

If you have a couple of containers that getting drip irrigation to is next to impossible, we suggest mixing in water absorbent polymers.  These act like tiny sponges and will extend the duration between watering.

Ammend the soil

Ammend the soil


Thriller, Filler and Spiller is the most common recipe. A tall item in the center creates drama i.e. thriller.  Mounding forms of color generates the filler.  Trailing vegetation over the edges of the container provides the spiller.

Fragrance is worth considering as you are making your plant selections.  Certain plants can detour undesirable bugs and critters.  Mint, thyme, and marigold are a few examples.

Have fun at the nursery or garden center and play with different colors and leaf textures.  Group the plants together to create mock ups of the finished planting.


To keep annual plants looking their best, we recommend alternating between deadheading (removing spent flowers) and feeding with a general flower food every week.   These are good habits that provide the opportunity to keep any eye on which plants are flourishing and which may need some adjustments to their care.

Annual Color Mass Planting

Annual Color Mass Planting

We are wishing you a season of abundant flowers!