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New to most Western gardeners, the four plants pictured here bloom profusely in hanging pots, creating dramatic globes of color for close-in viewing on patios and in entranceways.

To look their best in containers, these perennials need consistent care. Good drainage and regular water and fertilizer are basic requirements. To conserve water, use drip irrigation. Keep the soil moist, not wet, and allow some water to flush through the drainage holes. Plants in partial shade, protected from wind, require less water than those in exposed locations. If plants are rootbound and dry out fast, repot into larger containers. You'll find 8-inch hanging pots like these in nurseries for $9 to $15; you may also find plants in 4-inch pots or 1-gallon containers (a 10-inch pot planted with two 4inch plants can fill out nicely in two months). If you can't find the plants, ask your nursery to order them. Plants for color globes Scaevola aemula Weidner's Blue Wonder' (see photograph at left). This Australian native was just introduced in the United States this year. Its fan-shaped purple flowers peak from May through September and bloom year-round on the coast. Each sturdy stem may grow to 1 1/2 feet long.

On the coast it thrives in full sun; in hotsummer areas, provide afternoon shade or all-day filtered shade. Feed it twice monthly with a low-phosphorus fertilizer. Weidner's Blue Wonder' requires little care other than occasional shaping during spring and summer.

Diascia Ruby Field' (see photograph, left). Of the plants pictured here, diascia may be most familiar; it is gaining popularity in perennial borders but has only recently been used in hanging baskets. The wispy stems, with flower clusters at their tips, create a dense but delicate looking color cascade.

Each 1/2-inch-deep pink flower has two prominent spurs on the back. Plants flower year-round, with the heaviest flushes from March through October. Immediately after each major bloom, cut flower spikes back to just below the lowest blossoms; they regenerate quickly.

This South African native performs best in cool-summer regions. Plant in sun or partial shade in mild climates, in partial shade in hot-summer areas. Feed twice monthly with a complete fertilizer. Brachycome melanocarpa (above). This Australian native produces masses of 1 1/2inch pink daisy-like flowers in the cool season, December to March, and some sporadic blooms at other times.

In mild climates, grow it in full sun; in hot-summer areas, protect from afternoon. sun. It's hardy to at least 20 deg. The plant is partially summer-deciduous and may show some dieback during the hottest months, but will revive with the onset of cool weather. Cut back dead growth in the fall.

During fall and winter, feed twice a month with a low-phosphorus fertilizer. If leaves become chlorotic, feed foliage with iron chelate.

Lysimachia, sold as L. procumbens (above). This vigorous plant produces clusters of 3/4-inch golden yellow flowers at branch tips from March to October. Attractive blue-green oblong leaves contrast with the showy flowers.

It requires good air circulation, full sun on the coast, and partial to full shade inland (it may be heat-tender inland). It's hardy to mid- to low 20s. Feed twice a month with a complete fertilizer.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Apr 1, 1991
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