Container Garden Obscurity

In addition to getting the veggie garden planted, I've also filled my patio containers with a mixture of herbs, tropicals, succulents and annuals.

by Jessica Walliser

Jessica Walliser is growing a Mojito elephant ear, mint and a red banana tree among other plants in her patio container garden. Photo by Jessica Walliser (
Photo by Jessica Walliser
My container-garden plants range in obscurity from the more normal mint and sweet alyssum to the kind-of-weird red banana tree and voodoo lily.

I’ve managed to get most of the vegetable garden planted this past week. The cucumbers are sown; the tomatoes, basil and peppers are all settled in; the potatoes are snug underground; and the second sowing of beets are at home in nice little rows. It feels good to get the garden planted, knowing that in a few short months, we’ll be up to our elbows in garden goodness. I can’t wait!

In addition to getting the veggies planted, I’ve also filled my patio containers with a mixture of herbs, tropicals, succulents and annuals. I found some great buys at my local nurseries and it seems that all the plants I overwintered in the garage made it out alive. My favorite new find is an elephant ear named Mojito. I already have two large green elephant ear plants that I overwinter each year, but Mojito is different. Its large leaves are medium green and covered in random, wine-red splotches. It’s an exciting plant and looks striking in my cobalt-blue ceramic planter. Because I occasionally enjoy the adult beverage with the same name, I also planted some mint in one of my containers. I don’t dare grow it in the garden, as I know it will take over. Instead I keep it contained to a terra-cotta pot on the concrete patio where it won’t run rampant.

Another terrific find was a Tandarra Red banana tree with deep-red leaves. It’s already 3 feet tall and situated in a large, sage-green square planter. I look forward to seeing how tall it grows by the end of the season. I placed the red banana tree next to my potted fig and a pot of variegated agave. What a trio they are! I love the different foliage textures and colors together. Who needs flowers when you have such interesting foliage?

And yes, just incase you are wondering, I do have some “normal” plants in my containers, too: sweet alyssum, climbing nasturtums (to tumble over the edges), hosta, begonias, verbena and a few other regulars round out the mix. Then there’s the list of “sort of normals:” Indian summer black-eyed Susans, Echiverias, hens and chicks, baby’s tears. And then there’s the least “normal” of them all: the voodoo lily someone gave me a few years back—it’s truly a plant that leaves “normal” in the dust!

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