I haven’t been very happy with what I’ve done in recent years for a couple of cement urns by the front door—too busy, too many colors.
This year, I decided to go with all foliage, no flowers. I knew I wanted some mix of pale green or gray and dark red, to play with the colors of the gray-green clapboard siding, bluestone chimney and walkway and the red front door.
I started with two licorice plants and two dichondra (Dichondra argentea ‘Silver Falls’),
and two red cordylines, one for each container. Dichondra is the one on the lower left. It’s a great cascading plant, perfect for hanging baskets, too.
Left to their own devices in the tropics, red cordylines will grow into full-fledged trees, topping out at 20 to 30 feet.
But for us in the Hudson Valley, cordylines are just fun annuals that dress up containers very nicely. Their spiky wine-red leaves add lots of drama and height to any garden pot. By the end of the summer, they will grow to about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.
Known botanically as Cordyline australis ‘Red Star,’ cordylines are also known as cabbage trees or cabbage palms. ‘Red Sensation’ is another good variety to try.
Here’s how one of the urns looked on May 23, the day I put the containers together. I was able to rip apart the dichondra with my hands and spread it around the edges.
They’ve been filling in nicely. Here’s one of the containers on the 4tth of July. Yes, that’s a pot of mint in front.
The licorice has really taken off. Clearly, it likes all this rain we’ve had.
And the cordyline seems unfazed by big rainstorms, even hail.
An update from last weekend.
I like how the licorice is weaving in and out of the blades of grass.
Cordylines prefer full sun and soil that’s not allowed to dry out (not a problem this summer). I’ll be sorry to see mine go when a hard frost takes them down in October.