August 16, 2021

Pots Full of Form and Color

anchor pot swallowtail

For several days in a row, this Eastern tiger swallowtail spent hours nectaring on potted Impatiens (I. capensis) 'Accent Burgundy.' It was a beautiful sight to see, and the butterfly seemed very tame and contented.

When I gathered photos for my last post about "likes" and "dislikes," I went a little overboard. So, I separated out the photos of the potted plants. For the most part, I've been pleased with their performance and results. Of course, potted plants are watered regularly, so they benefited from extra care during the drought.

anchor pot in back

The potted Impatiens form a focal point in the back garden. They've really filled in nicely.

anchor pot plants 1

In the pot with them are Oxalis (O. vulcanicola) 'Zinfandel,' which are not hardy in my cold climate. So I might bring some inside, as I do with my Purple Shamrocks (O. trangularis).

anchor pot plants 2

And on the sides of the pot, Bush Violets (Browallia) 'Endless Flirtation.'

wild senna

Behind them, adjacent to the wire trellis and the Oak tree, is a patch of Wild Senna (S. hebecarpa) (not potted) that I planted just a couple of years ago. I think it likes this spot.

impatiens and sw potato vine

I included the 'Accent Burgundy' Impatiens in several other pots, too, including this one with Sweet Potato Vines (Ipomoea batatas) 'Sweet Caroline Bewitched After Midnight' and 'Sweet Caroline Light Green.'

impatiens and asparagus fern

Impatiens 'Accent Bright Eye' is also happy, with its companion, Asparagus Fern (A. densiflorus) 'Sprengeri.'

impatiens with friends

'Accent Bright Eye' also combines nicely with Lantana (L. camara) 'Bandana Rose' and some Marigolds (not blooming in this photo).

ng impatiens

New Guinea Impatiens (I. hawkeri) 'Magnum Bright Purple' also was a favorite spot for the swallowtail. I have three lush, full pots of this variety, and all three are now blooming more fully than the photos here. I love the foliage on this plant, too.

ng impatiens and coleus

More New Guinea Impatiens with various Coleus hybrids.
fun combo

And Coleus paired with the Oxalis.


I'm pleased with the progress of Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), potted here and along a trellis on the side of the house. All were planted from seed. I'll take this one into the cool sunroom for the winter and leave the others in the soil outdoors. It will be a fun experiment. Maybe we'll see flowers and fruit next summer.

potted fun

Two fun pots at the westside base of the sunroom: Fuchsia (F. triphylla) 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt' and a Caladium (C. bicolor).

hyacinth bean vine

I've grown Hyacinth Bean Vine (Lalab purpurea) from seed for many years, and it seems very happy in this pot with rabbit-proofing wire at the base.

hyacinth spider

The foliage is as pretty as the flowers, which are sparse in the shade.

hyacinth buds

I always get some flowers from Hyacinth Bean Vine, but they're developing later this year, probably because the trees leafed out very early in the spring.

fuchsia pots

My favorite Fuchsia hybrid is 'Marinka,' and I've overwintered these two pots in the sunroom for several years now. I clip them back when I bring them in, and they fill out nicely when they go back out in late spring.

fuchsia marinka

The hummingbirds like them, too. I'll have to try to get photos of the hummers nectaring here.

I've been happy with these and several other potted arrangements this growing season. They brighten my day when I walk out of the house. Maybe I'll add even more pots next year...


  1. All lovely, Beth! I keep meaning to plant a Lablab vine but I missed the window to sow the seeds again this year. We had such problems with downy mildew disease on impatiens years ago, I turned my back on them but your photos remind me how much I miss their cheery colors.

    1. Thanks, Kris. I had some problems with Impatiens for several years, too. The new hybrids seem to keep it at bay better? Also, we had such dry weather this summer that I think that helped, too. I would think you'd have better luck now (I know your climate and conditions are a lot drier than mine).

  2. I am falling for those purple shamrock. I will have to plant some next season.
    Everything is lovely. I added more pots this season too.

    1. I know! I love the Purple Shamrocks and these smaller Oxalis. So much character! Thanks. :)

  3. Beth, you have a wonderful collection of pots with lovely color combinations. I haven't planted impatiens nor coleus in a number of years but time to give them another try.

    1. Thanks, Susie. The Coleus and the Impatiens add so much color to a shady garden. My conditions change so much from year to year (dry-wet-dry...never know what to expect). But the potted Coleus and Impatiens always seem to fill in nicely.

  4. I enjoyed seeing your pots Beth. I grow a few impatiens in pots every year. I usually change up the colors. I don't get butterflies on them but the hummingbirds always nectar from them.
    I did a couple of caladiums this year too. One in a pot the other in the ground. This is the first time I have had any luck with them. I don't know if it is the variety I chose or if I just gave them the attention (water) they need to survive.
    I have a purple passion flower this year. Our local CISMA was selling plugs of them. It is growing like a...vine. :) I thought it was making buds on it. I don't know if they will actually open this year or not. We will see. I hope it survives the winter. Will also have to wait on that to see how it does.
    Your fuchsia looks good. I love those plants but normally don't have very good luck with them. I admire them from afar.
    I love senna. I have it in my garden but it is where I can't see it unless I walk out into the garden. One of these days I will remember to move some to where I can just look out from the patio doors to see it. Of course that is where I cram a lot of plants I want to be able to see from the house. ha....

    1. Thanks, Lisa. Sounds like we have similar tastes and experiments going in our gardens. :) The conditions (shade and warmth) seem very good for Fuchsias here. They perform better in dappled vs. full shade here.

  5. I’m impressed with display, as I only have a couple of things in pots. I always worry about forgetting to water them.

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I seem to have better luck getting color and blooms into the garden by using pots. Rabbits are my biggest challenge for anything planted in the ground. Also, we have a big patio in the back, where most of these pots are located.

  6. Like seeing a bit of your planting beauty . . .
    I fill some pots as well to mix in with our green and shade!

  7. So much gorgeous summer color, Beth! Your photo of the butterfly is lovAely; I see one every afternoon in my garden, but he never lands. Great post!

    1. Thank you, Tina. I've rarely had a swallowtail stick around so long. While they frequently visit the garden every year, usually they've come and gone within minutes. This one stuck around for days!

  8. Very nice! How much shade is the wild senna in? I had trouble this year transitioning from spring to summer pots in the sunny area out front. I left in the pansies too long and had trouble with a successor for my "filler" plants.

    1. Thanks, Jason. The Senna is in dappled shade most of the day, under Oak trees. It gets a blast of angled sun late in the day. It's not blooming as much as it would in full sun, but it blooms a little for the pollinators and adds a touch of color. I hope it will fill in even more in the years to come. :)

  9. Nice collection! Just found out that fuchsias are edible! I have little cherries on my hardy fuchsia and tried one. Actually very nice and sweet. Fuchsia jam?

  10. I'm super late in commenting, but I've enjoyed all this color multiple times in the meantime! Thanks for posting :)

  11. I enjoyed your inpatients. They look lovely. I never planted any this year. Normally in the spring, they are at the nurseries everywhere but this year I couldn't find any and forgot. I also haven't seen them in neighbor's yards like I normally do. I'm just wondering what happened.
    Oh, well. I got to enjoy yours.


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