Flowerbox plants - Knowledgebase Question

Chicago, Il
Question by vantimuro
February 16, 2011
My neighbor's patio is very messy. We have a shared wrought iron fence that separates our patios. I have two flower boxes hanging on this fence and would like to plant tall flowers to hide their mess. Any suggestions? It's a sunny location.


Answer from NGA
February 16, 2011


I'd start by planting ornamental grasses for height, then fill in around them with colorful annuals or perennials. Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) is one of the tallest of the ornamental grasses, reaching a height of 3 to 6 feet. It grows in a stiff, upright clump of and has blue green foliage. Blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) grows to a height of 1 to 1.5 feet. It does best in full sun. Blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) grows to a height of approximately 2.5 feet. The grass grows in full sun to light shade. It has pointed blue leaves that grow in tufted clumps. The seed heads appear in June. Starting out white, they eventually turn a golden color.

Astilbe hybrids (Astilbe x arendsi) grow to a height of 2 to 4 feet. Feathery spikes of pink, red, white or salmon flowers appear in midsummer. The rose-like leaves make the astilbe attractive at times the plant is not in bloom. Astilbes grow best in containers that receive partial shade, with the container having a diameter of at least 1 foot. Daylilies need a container at least 16 inches deep and with an 18 inch diameter. The sword shaped leaves of the daylily will be just over 2 feet, but the blooming stalks can reach 3.5 feet. Plant the daylilies in the full sun. Once planted, they need little attention.

Good luck with your flowerboxes!

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