How to plant a cool pot

Freshen up your porch or patio with a mix of white-flowered plants and bluish foliage. Get the simple step-by-step
Julie Chai

Soaring summer temperatures can take a toll on many garden plants.

But you can freshen your landscape’s look practically instantly: Just combine crisp white blossoms with a shower of icy blue or silver foliage in a glazed aqua-colored container (pale blue or celadon green are other cooling shades).

Set the container in a high-visibility area, such as on a patio or beside an entry.

Then notice how the soothing palette mimics the sparkle and cool, watery blue of a swimming pool or water feature.

To create the planting pictured above, we first selected an aqua pot at the nursery.

Then we chose four plants that combined well: a tall blue oat grass as an accent in the center, lower growers ― mealycup sage ( Salvia farinacea) and angelonia―to surround it, and a spiller (Dichondra-argentea 'Silver Falls') to soften the pot’s edges.

How to plant this container garden

  • To duplicate our planting, you’ll need:
  • A container about 10 inches tall and wide
  • Wire screening to cover the pot’s drain hole
  • Potting soil (a 1-cu.-ft. bag is enough to fill one 10-inch container)
  • One 1-gallon blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens)
  • One 4-inch ‘Victoria White’ Salvia farinacea
  • Two 4-inch Angelonia angustifolia 'Angelmist White Cloud'
  • One 4-inch Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’

Step 1

  • Place a small piece of fine wire screening in the bottom of the pot to cover the drain hole and help keep soil from washing away.
  • (Cut rounds of screening, like the one shown here, are available at many nurseries and garden centers.)

Step 2

  • Partially fill the container with loose, well-draining potting soil so that the top of the 1-gallon plant sits below the rim of the pot.
  • Lightly firm the soil to minimize settling.

Step 3

  • Set the tallest plant, the blue oat grass, at the back of the container.

Step 4

  • Set the remaining plants into the container, adding soil beneath their rootballs as necessary to raise them to the same soil level as the larger 1-gallon plant.
  • Add the salvia toward the back of the container beside the grass, the mid-height angelonia in front, and the dichondra near the edge so it trails over the pot's lip.

More beautiful container designs

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