Front Entry Pots

Here an upright oakleaf evergreen holly shaped is used with colorful annuals and a lime potato vine are tucked into the bottom

Here an upright oakleaf evergreen holly shaped is used with colorful annuals and a lime potato vine tucked into the bottom.

Castiron plant is a good course texture to salute a front door in shade form the depth of the porch. Very low maintenance.

Cast iron plant is a good course texture to salute a front door in shade from the depth of the porch. Very low maintenance.

Here three planters are positioned on each side of an entry on wide steps

Here three planters are positioned on each side of an entry on wide steps.

The tall pot contains a course textured palm. The other two post are for color and depth. The orange impatiens are another accent and the blue salvia will add an addition spark later in the summer

The tall pot contains a course textured palm. The other two pots are for color and depth. The orange impatiens are another accent, and the blue salvia will add an additional spark later in the summer.

Here an elegant pot (there is one on each side of the entry) is filled with prostrate rosemary. Note the black tube running to the pot which is drip irrigation.

Here, an elegant pot (there is one on each side of the entry) is filled with prostrate rosemary. Note the black tube running to the pot which is drip irrigation.

I could show you hundreds of beautiful containers planted to accent doors. But there are just as many that look bad. Now there are some easy rules, and if you are not satisfied with yours, perhaps some of these tips might help.

1. Don’t take on more than you can handle throughout the summer heat. Densely planted pots in most cases need water every day.

2. If the pot is too small or your cluster of pots is not placed to encourage entry to the porch and/or door, then change the arrangement. Stand back and see if it invites you to come in. If all of your pots are the same size and height, you can always elevate them and cause motion to help guide your eye to the door. Also, you have a choice of using the same plant or changing the character of the plant’s color, height or texture. If all the pots are different, I would advise you use the same plant and vary the height of the containers.

3. Entry pots need to look good all the time. If yours starts flagging, have bloomed out, died, or just simply look bad, remove the pots or replant them with fresh material.

4. Pot to plant ratio is so important. If you have a shrub that grows year after year in a pot, chances of adding summer color and keeping them alive and growing can be hard. This is because the amount of soil and growing space is limited, and the watering requirements of the shrub may not be the same as the annual color. One trick is to leave the shrub in the container you purchased it in, place it in the pot where you cannot see it, and plant the annuals outside that container. Then you can manage the water requirement of the shrub or tree and the annuals.

5. Pots stuffed with plants that are bought from especially big box garden centers are designed to look good when they are sold, and not necessarily when they start growing. Mixed plantings are simply beautiful if they are artistically done and the water requirement of the plants match. If not, plan on cutting out things as they die because some plants will be over watered while others will thrive or visa vera, if the plants are combinations that do not grow well together in containers.

6. I could write many more tips, but nothing is more important to keeping your pots attractive than keeping them watered adequately, groomed, and liquid fertilized every several weeks.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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