An ongoing series of container recipes
Story and Photo by Barbara Wise
Warning: Only plant this recipe if you want to bring attention to wherever this planter is located! The nonstop blooming Caliente Fire geranium and lantana, along with the exuberant display of the cordyline, will bring delight all summer long.
This recipe works well with a tall, narrow planter, which makes the plants look as if they are exploding out of the planter.
Begin by planting the cordyline, then the lantana, and finally adding the geraniums according to the planting diagram. Geraniums do not like to be planted too deeply, so make sure that soil is not mounding around the main stem of the plant. This variety of lantana is more mounding than trailing, and this geranium is a hybrid between a mounding zonal geranium and a trailing ivy geranium. The result is that even in a medium-sized planter there is this extremely full effect that surrounds the more erect cordyline.
Pinch off the faded flowers of the geranium for a neater look, but know that this variety will keep blooming prolifically whether you pinch back or not. All three plants in this recipe can take all day sun and don’t mind being a little on the dry side. If, however, you want to use this recipe in a part-sun location, you may find that the lantana will go to seed more quickly. You will recognize this by the round, green seed balls that develop after the flower petals have fallen off. Simply keep these pinched off so that the plant spends its energy producing flowers and not seeds. Faithfully fertilizing this heavy blooming plant will keep it going strong throughout the summer.
The biggest danger to this recipe’s success is overwatering after it is established. Some of the signs to look for that this planting is being overwatered is that, again, the lantana will tend to go to seed and the leaves of the cordyline will start to rot at the base making them very easy to pull out. When you do water, soak the soil to encourage the roots to grow deeply into the pot, and then allow the soil to dry until the top of the soil is dry to the touch.
A. 1 1-gallon dracaena palm (Cordyline australis ‘Torbay Dazzler’)
B. 4 Caliente Fire geranium (Pelargonium ‘Cante Fir09’)
C. 4 Luscious Citrus Blend lantana (Lantana camara ‘2003.301’)