Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

What are some good summer bedding plants for foliage?

Many gardeners use accent plants featuring colorful or contrasting foliage color to heighten flower colors and diversify the appearance of the bed or as companion plants in hanging baskets. A few good foliage bedding plants, seemingly under utilized in St. Louis gardens, are listed here. Additionally, included are some choice plants that work well for hanging baskets that you should find very durable in the midwest climate.

Stachys byzanthina is traditionally grown in the perennial border but makes an excellent edging for an annual bed. It may also be used in colorful combinations and imaginative designs where its soft woolly and silvery-grey leaves combine well with a wide range of colors.

Festuca ovina and dusty miller are dual purpose plants which may be used for summer bedding displays. They may also be utilized for their gray-silvery leaves in combination with pansies and calendulas (pot marigolds), for example.

Basil 'Spicy Globe' is one of the finest annuals to come onto the market in recent years with its neat and self-mounding habit which it retains throughout the summer season. It is an excellent choice for edging. This low maintenance plant with its compelling spicy fragrance is without doubt under utilized locally and is worthy of an "oscar award".

Copper-leaf acalypha will make a dramatic background or focal point in the garden bed. The eye-catching variegated leaves of Acalypha wilkesiana in tones of red, pink and brown would be hard to surpass. Its requirements are simple; full sun and an ample supply of water. Maintenance demands are minimal with only pinching out the terminal growth needed at intervals to form a well-rounded specimen.

Bassia scoparia f. trichophylla, commonly known as burning bush, produces dense, fine foliage. Its mature height is approximately 3 feet. This annual may be used collectively as a temporary hedge or to give an accent to a mixed bed of annuals. The light-green foliage colors up to a bright cherry-red in the fall. It benefits from shearing during the growing season. Burning bush demands full sun and will tolerate dry soil.

The following is a list of plants used at the garden in hanging baskets.

Parsley is an excellent and novel selection. It make a desirable basket plant when used in a cooler, shady place during the heat of summer. It can also be harvested for culinary uses.

Acalypha 'fire tail' is a smaller version of the well-known 'chenille' plant and should be grown in full sun. This is an eye- catching and unique plant with a promising future ahead of it.

Impatiens 'showstopper pink imp' consistently performs well in baskets and considered the best cultivar for this purpose. Plants at the garden will still be in flower at the end of the st. Louis hot weather.

Verbena peruviana is a warm, pink vigorous growing plant that would make a wonderful addition to anyone's basket collection. It has very finely divided foliage and requires full sun.