“Vacation-Proof” Container Plant Ideas

Summer means two things–beautiful gardens and relaxing vacations. Let’s have the best of both by planting containers with varieties that thrive on less water specifically, and less fuss generally.

We’ve chosen four combinations (of course you could keep it simple like this wonderful Arbequina Fruiting Olive tree flying solo in a large pot) that should be plenty happy in a large pot while you’re away with a bit of pre-vacation care (see below). Use our “recipes”, or mix and match these to get the look you love.

Three "Thrillers", One Pot

A quirky mix of textures and foliage with the added charm of fragrant lavender, this combo is ideal for situations where you need height. Tuck into a border, use at the edge of a patio, or center in a courtyard.

Phenomenal French Lavender
Zone: 5 – 8

Cold-hardy lavender does not die back in the winter like other varieties and is notable for its disease resistance and heat and humidity tolerance. Full sun.

Angelina Stonecrop
Zone: 3 – 11

Brilliant chartreuse-yellow, needle-like foliage adds cheery color to containers. Foliage turns orange in winter in colder climates. Partial to full sun.

Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass
Zone: 4 – 9

Blue-green foliage and conversation-starting, golden summer flowers on stiff, weather resistant stems. Long lasting seed heads hold into winter. Partial to full sun.

You're Away, Bees Stay

You’ve worked hard to create a little haven for pollinators. Make sure the welcome sign stays while you go away with tough plants that bees and butterflies adore. We love this mix in a vegetable garden or a modern landscape.

VIBE® Ignition Purple Salvia
Zone: 7 – 11

Petite sage explodes with dark purple buds that open to vibrant purple flowers throughout summer. One of the most humidity tolerant varieties. Full sun.

Azure Bush Germander
Zone: 7 – 9

Aromatic gray-green leaves with silvery white undersides that shimmer in the sunlight. Flowers are a darker blue than other varieties. Full sun.

Arp Rosemary
Zone: 6 – 10

More cold-hardy than most. Aromatic needle-like foliage that has a very good flavor for culinary use. Profuse clear-blue flowers lure bees like crazy. Full sun.

Orange You Excited?

We delight in a good color story and nothing grabs and holds attention like brilliant shades of golden orange. These warm, bolder colors work especially well against brick surfaces such as patio floors or front steps.

hyssop

Kudos Gold Dwarf Hummingbird Mint
Zone: 5 – 10

Shades of gold that adorn this prolific bloomer with loads of richly colored flowers on dense, upright flower spikes. Full sun.

Bush Tenacity Kangaroo Paw
Zone: 10 – 11

Compact gem with loads of velvety yellow blooms on upright, red-haired stems that rise above clumps of green sword-like foliage. Full sun.

Spreading Sunset® Lantana
Zone: 9 – 11

Nearly year-round masses of vivid orange-red flowers! Evergreen in warm, frost-free climates; treat as summer annual in northern regions. Full sun.

Here's a Tip!

Sharp, pointed, spiky! Want loads of eye-catching color but not loads of flowers? Look to sedums and succulents. Mexican sage is always a go. For places not easy to water– rooftop gardens or patios where drainage is an issue.

Krebs Desert Bloom Hens and Chicks
Zone: 4 – 9

Clumping rosettes that add exotic texture and color can fluctuate with green and deep purple-red tones seasonally. Full sun.

Serpents Blue Chalk Fingers
Zone: 10 – 11

Striking texture and color from the blue-green, narrow, succulent leaves that grow in a symmetrical fashion from sprawling fleshy stems. Partial to full sun.

Santa Barbara Mexican Bush Sage 400x400

Santa Barbara Mexican Bush Sage
Zone: 9 – 11

More compact selection of the ever popular Mexican bush sage with the same rich purple flowers and long-blooming nature. Blooms for months. Full sun.

A Few Tips For Keeping Containers Happy

–If possible, move pots to a shade location while you are away. This can help to minimize soil drying out too quickly.

–Water deeply for several days before leaving to ensure that soil is thoroughly moist and that there are no pockets of dry soil.

–Add a few extra inches of fresh mulch such as finely shredded bark to help keep soil moist.

–Experiment before leaving with old-school hacks such as homemade watering funnels constructed from empty liter soda bottles. They might look weird, but they can be helpful.

–While larger containers of these plants will likely weather your absence, smaller pots and hanging baskets typically do not hold enough soil to get and stay thoroughly moist. Here, consider investing in an inexpensive drip system on a timer.

–Finally, nothing is guaranteed. A blistering heat spell or bout of hot, dry wind can take out even those plants that are extra hardy. If you’re really concerned, there’s probably a neighbor kid you can train to water!

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