Complementary Colour Companions
Easter is early this year, so make sure you’ve planned your public holidays, celebrations and feasting. Who doesn’t love a basket full of colourful Easter eggs?
This month, our complementary companions also make for a perfect basket full of colourful treats.
Verbenas and lobelias are both prolific bloomers, providing a wonderful array of colours in what could otherwise be a dull spot in your garden. Picture bursts of colour in amongst a rock garden or rows of blooms edging your pathways. The perfect camouflage to hide your Easter eggs! As companions, they work very well in pots or hanging baskets, especially the trailing varieties, particularly striking along patios or entrance-ways. As with any perfect companion in life, these plants complement each other, rather than one overshadowing the other. The verbenas bloom in vibrant shades of pink, purple, mauve or red; and some hybrids are even bi-coloured, tempered by the lovely lobelias’ more pastel hues of blues, pinks and lilacs.
Verbenas tick all gardeners’ boxes: they’re prolific bloomers, hardy, heat-tolerant and, the last tick box that we all want, they’re low maintenance.
Find a sunny spot in your garden with well-draining soil, ideally one that gets about eight hours of direct sunlight every day. This combination will prevent any disease possibilities associated with verbena, such as powdery mildew.
After the initial care and watering needed to establish your plants, only water them every so often – once the top centimetre of soil has dried out.
When starting out, plant seedlings in a well-composted bed and water regularly until they have established themselves. Once they’ve reached about 15 cm tall, fertilise them once more with a balanced, slow release fertiliser; then it’s time to take a step back and enjoy the perks of their low maintenance nature. It is recommended that you deadhead the spent blooms, this means to snip off any dead or faded blooms. This is a mutually beneficial act, as you are saving the plant the energy needed to feed these old or dead blooms, in turn it will reward you by replacing them with lovely fresh ones.
Like verbena, lobelia sometimes pretends to be a perennial but is actually an annual as it only flowers until the first frosts. They are herbaceous, maturing at about 15 – 20cm in height. It thrives in full morning sun, with some afternoon shade.
It is important to add compost to the soil before planting, as lobelia prefers soil rich in organic matter. Soil should be moist but not sodden.
Argyranthemum is our pot choice for March! It’s a small, compact shrub with very pretty daisy blooms in a whole range of colours to suit any garden pot! It grows
to approximately 30cm high and 40cm wide, so plan accordingly when choosing your container.