The Q&A Archives: Gardening on Patio

Question: I currently stay in an apartment complex. I would like to start growing plants, but I have no idea what to start with. I do have an enclosed patio, however, there is not that much sunlight getting to it. I would like to have plants on my patio, but don't know where to begin. I would also like a house plant or two,but again, I have no clue where to begin. This is all very new to me.

Answer: You can turn your patio into a beautiful oasis with some colorful shade loving plants in containers. Choose containers with drainage holes in the bottom and fill them with moistened potting soil then plant some of the following shade loving annuals: Begonias (Begonia semperflorens-cultorum) Begonias are a waxy looking plant with red, white, or pink foliage. Leaves may be green or bronze. Some begonias are also sun tolerant. Coleus (Coleus hybridus) Coleus, now in vogue again, is noted for its striking foliage. Colors include both warm and cool colors in many variegations. Height also varies considerably. Impatiens (Impatiens, sultana, busy Lizzie (Impatiens wallerana) Impatiens is a top-seller. With its wide variety of colors (white, pinks, purples, deep reds, and even oranges), it can work well into many color schemes. Browallia (Browallia speciosa) Browallia is a tender perennial grown as an annual with flowers in white, purple or deep blue. Lobelia (Lobelia erinus) Lobelia is a low-growing edging plant found in shades of blue, white, and purple. It has a small, delicate bloom. Torenia or wishbone flower (Torenia fournieri). Torenia is another tender perennial grown as an annual that does well in semi-shade and moist soil. It makes an excellent ground-cover plant. Flowers are white or blue. In addition to the above, many sun-lovers also do well in light shade. These include: alyssum, flowering tobacco, nasturtium, pansy, periwinkle, pinks, and salvia. As for a houseplant, I'd choose pothos. It is easy to grow in any light situation and won't keel over if you forget to water. Best wishes with your container garden!

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