The Q&A Archives: Flowers to place on front porch steps

Question: Can you suggest some flowers I can just buy and place on my front porch steps (porch gets a lot of sun) to place and not have to plant? Just no hassle (mums?) what material pot to they have to be in to just water and need no maintenance?

Answer: Chrysanthemums are a good choice. Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis sp.) grows to about 12-18? and has fern-like, airy foliage. Its yellow flowers are tiny, but since the plant produces so many its actually quite showy. Coreopsis is tolerant of poor soils (as long as they are well drained) and is very easy to grow.

Pink Friesland Meadow Sage (Salvia nemorosa ?pink friesland?) is a great repeat blooming perennial. It flowers in late spring and with deadheading will start to bloom all over again. It has dark red stems loaded with pink flowers that bloom from June to September. It has a plant height of 18? and a spread of 12-15? and stays in excellent compact form. Pink Friesland should be planted in full sun in a moist well-drained area. Pink Friesland is a magnet for butterflies, bees and hummingbirds and is deer-resistant. It is hardy for container gardening and provides excellent cut flowers.

The fragrant perennial Catmint (Nepata sp.) is one of the most maintenance free perennials available for the garden. I planted it for a customer one fall in an area with very sandy soil and full exposure to the ocean. The following summer with almost no water they flourished and almost doubled in size. Cutting back in the fall and dividing every few years is about all this plant needs. Its blue, fragrant flowers make it an ideal plant for the planting near a patio.

For fall color, as well as lush summer foliage, Sedum ?Autumn Joy? (Sedum 'Herbstfreude'), is probably one of the best. Also known as stonecrop, this plant is exceedingly easy to grow. Its flowers range from pink to red and actually resemble broccoli florets. Sedum ?autumn joy? grows in clumps which increase in size each season. Dividing this plant every few years will help control its size and increase your plant inventory.

Yarrow (yarrow sp.) is another tall perennial which blooms on long stalks which emerge from a mound of lush foliage. Yarrow is available in a wide variety of colors. Tolerant of dry gardens, yarrow is well suited to the full sun garden and is able to tolerate hot humid summers. Remove faded flowers to encourage more growth and divide every 3-4 years. For an attraction to butterflies, deer and rabbit resistant, one can?t go wrong with this plant.

Liatris (Liatris spicata), is a tall perennial with spike-shaped flowers which grow up from dark green foliage. The flowers open from the top down and bloom from June to September. Liatris should be planted in full sun in a well-drained area. Are wonderful perennials for the back of flower garden, liatris is a treasured cut flower. Liatris will also help attract butterflies to the garden.

You'll want to use containers with lots of drainage holes in the bottom and fill them with moistened potting soil. Leave 2-3" from the top of the pot for ease in watering. Enjoy your new plants.

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