Recommended Plants

Side Planting Basics

Choose the Right Plants for Side Planting Containers

Most good plants work in the top of an instant basket. Not so for the sides.

These plants are literally planted sideways, and some like it while others quickly die. Here are the results of our trials for side plantings.

Easiest Plants for Side Planting

All of the plants shown above did extremely well in the sides of the containers.

  • Wax begonias – I tried many types and all thrived! They are a valuable plant for these containers because, most are grown from seed and are so inexpensive.
  • Coleus – Fabulous! Use the giant coleus both in the sides as well as for a centerpiece. It doesn’t grow as large in the sides. Be careful of the ‘Wizard’mix because of problems encountered by many in the 2005 season.
  • Impatiens – Wonderful. All types thrived, including ‘Little Lizzie’, New Guineas, and doubles.
  • Trailing torenia – Wonderful. Lasted longer than the upright torenia.
  • Purple queen – The plant did well, but didn’t look great. It tends to stick out a bit awkwardly, as if it can’t make up its mind whether to trail or clump!
  • Dragon wing begonias – One of the best performers of our trials. They are slower to start than the wax begonias, but have a higher percentage of color in the long run
  • Pansies and violas – Great! I tried many different types, and they thrived.reeping Jenny – Gardeners love this one!
  • Lamium – I loved lamium with different shades of purple.
  • Melampodium – Did well in most instances. Tends to grow a bit larger than many of the others I used with it, like wax begonias and upright torenia.
  • Scaevola – Both the white and the blue did beautifully.

Mixed Performers for Side Planting

The plants shown above rate mixed reviews. The upright torenia, although I used it frequently and will continue to, didn’t live as long as the trailing type. It also drooped awkwardly after a while, requiring a cut-back that took a few weeks to recover from. Trailing verbena did very well sometimes but stopped blooming in others. All of the upright verbena quickly died. Petunias were the most confusing flower we tried – some of them thrived while others quickly died. We had the best luck with Wave.

  • Petunias. Proven Winners’ Supertunias, did very well, but a few of them died (after 18 inches of rain from a hurricane!) Sweet potato vines did too well, taking over many of my baskets. I still use them, though, but carefully!
  • Lobelia worked sometimes and died others. I love this plant, and will continue to try to succeed with it. Periwinkles lived in Georgia, but not in Florida – probably because the rainfall is double in Florida. But their form wasn’t ideal – they stuck out awkwardly

Plants that Died Quickly in the Side Planting Planters

The plants shown above died quickly in the sides of our baskets. However, most did quite well when planted in the top of the baskets. We don’t know why they died, and it is possible that other cultivars of these same flowers could do well. We will keep testing, and you do the same. If you would like to share any of your experiences