As our population grows older, heck who am I kidding, as I grow older, getting down on my knees to garden is a bit of a chore and getting back up is even more of a challenge. Thank goodness there is an easier way; we call them patio pots.

Patio pots come in many colors, textures, shapes and sizes, ovals, window boxes, umbrella half circles and even whimsical types. One of my garden center customers fills her colorful hand-painted Mexican turtle planter named Fernando each spring with ocean blue lobelia. It’s become a tradition, and it makes her smile.

Patio Pots — Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, Colorado

I plant roughly 15 pots of various shapes and sizes for my home, some tall and colorful, some old school and others more traditional. That’s just on the back deck. Each container has a different story, a hodgepodge mixture of different times and places. In the front of the house, a more uniform statement of five circular ceramic gray pots are planted in full sun with a theme. This year’s color combination is that of red “Calliope” geraniums with white “Angelonia” snapdragons and “Wave” petunias of red, white and blue. Instead of using a traditional spike for the center, a red banana and King Tut Cyperus make fine tall additions standing at attention. This is my patriotic theme with Old Glory waving over the floriferous display, all summer long.

OldGlory — Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, Colorado

Shady spots on the front porch get colorful fuchsia, orange tuberous begonias, pansies and coleus. They appreciate being out of the wind, kept moist and hidden from the afternoon “cooking sun.” A nearby blue strawberry pot is enjoying trailing lobelia in her pockets and a crown of double “Rockapulco” impatiens.

Shade Lovers — Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, Colorado

Traveling to the back deck gets more whimsical — a green pot here, a blue pot there and a pot of “Old Man Bones” sedum over behind the rocker. An agapanthus, “Lily of the Nile,” sporting a ring of golf balls as a necklace, hangs out on the back deck, too.

Lily of the Nile — Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, Colorado

Each pot has a personality of its own. Sure, some may share a common petunia or geranium, but different additional plants give it its own style, unique and different from its neighbor. All these flowerpots have a common denominator — an afternoon of unforgiving Colorado sun on a deck facing southwest, which is just about as hot as the surface of the sun. This calls for tough annuals — the sun-lovers, a diverse collection of marigolds, zinnias, portulaca, petunias, geraniums and calibrachoa, just to highlight a few. Full sun, you say? Well then, how about some fun grafted tomato plants and peppers in a window box planter surrounded by scarlet Mandeville vines.

Sun-Loving Annuals — Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop & Garden Center in Lafayette, Colorado

The key to all this is having fun, picking out your favorites and just having them work for you, planting something tall in the middle — a pillar, then something full in the middle, a filler and finishing with something trailing over the rim — a spiller, if you like.

Here are tips for success:

  • Ask your garden center what plants can handle your environment, your shades to suns.
  • Always use quality-potting mixes that help retain moisture in harsh dry conditions.
  • Feed your flowers and plants weekly for optimal performance, dead head and pinch blooms when needed, and most of all, enjoy your annual potted patio flowers. Next year, you can change it up again!

What’s your favorite patio flower?