just may be the perfect thriller plant for the
warm season mixed container, with their tall
stature and lush foliage.
it comes to selecting a thriller plant for your mixed
container, I would like to put forth the idea of using a
banana. They have the ability to instantly capture the
imagination of all who gaze upon them and there is an
immediate sense of tropical islands and gentle ocean
breezes. It really makes no difference if you are using
an ornamental banana or one that just might set fruit,
it will be the large, coarse or bold textured leaves
that transport you mentally to an idyllic Caribbean
the years I have written about the attributes of the
Chinese Yellow Wax bananas, (Musella lasciocarpa), the
Red Abyssinian banana (Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurellii’)
and Siam Ruby, all unique bananas that are stunning in
mixed containers. They are still among my favorite
choices as is the most-cold hardy, Japanese Fiber banana
(Musa basjoo). This year, however, I am trying a short
cycle fruiting banana called Dwarf Orinoco. It already
has me humming Jimmy Buffet’s "One Particular
Harbor" and firing up the grill for jerked chicken.
While I might get lucky and get a few bananas I am
already sold because of their picturesque appearance
compliments of the luxurious foliage. This again, is
just what you will have, too, regardless of banana
species or varietal selections.
choose a container large enough to get the job done. My
containers did not have drainage holes which are
paramount for the health of your plants. So I quickly
brought out the drill and put five quarter-sized holes
in each container. Next in importance is the selection
of your potting mix. Heavy weighted, budget potting soil
sold by the pound is no bargain. You will be surprised
by how much better your plants grow when planted in the
more expensive but lightweight, named brand.
are heavy feeders, since you are growing these in
containers, you will be watering every day and the extra
water will leach out the nutrients. Keep them well fed
by applying the needed nourishment regularly. This year
I have been using a controlled released granular
fertilizer and I am very pleased. I like the water
soluble, 20-20-20 applied with hose on sprayers and may
supplement later on in the summer.
year, however, I have given much more importance to
selection of companion plants to help me create that
Carnival like atmosphere within sight of a cool, clear
pool mimicking that spectacular Caribbean blue. I chose
larger containers than in past years giving the bananas
ample room to grow while allowing me room for plenty of
fillers and spillers. This year I wanted my containers
to be riotous with color.
container features two spiller plants, lime green sweet
potatoes and Blue Wave petunias. These are my favorite
garden colors playing off each other in a dazzling
complementary fashion. Filler plants selected were
Bandana Cherry Sunrise lantanas, Serena angelonias and
Bronze-leafed Cocktail Vodka begonias. They have all
quickly grown, meeting my demand for sensational color
while bringing in butterflies and hummingbirds.
summer is long and poses a wonderful opportunity for
designing mixed containers. Why not make this the year
you go tropical with a banana as your thriller plant.
You will feel like you are on holiday in Martinique or
Jamaica until cool weather returns in the fall.