Growing plants in the right place

Gregg Eyestone

By A Contributor

The local Extension emphasis for gardening this year is using the right plants for the right place. This may require some researching to match up plant and place. An almost sure bet is container gardening. At least it is an easy way to move plants to find the right spot.

All types of plants can be grown in a container. That is the most common way we purchase them. Annually, I grow some vegetables, flowers and herbs in containers. Last year, I grew berries just to do it. Trees and shrubs can be grown if desired.

Amount of sunlight is a critical factor in growing plants. Plants grown for their foliage will do fine in shady spots. This would include lettuces, herbs, coleus, and many house type plants for example. Some can take more sunlight than others.

Torenia or wishbone flower is one of my favorite annuals. Catalina blue and Catalina pink are ‘Prairie Star’ selections to try. It will flower without needing full sun. I have tried them in on our screen porch with less success. The best place for it has been the front steps where it gets 2 hours of direct sunlight. Growing it in a container gives the flexibility to move it around to the best location.

A tomato and pepper are grown annually on the deck. This location gets a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight which is needed for a fruit producing crop. I grow a determinate cherry tomato Mountain Belle. The determinate types stay compact. A mild jalapeno pepper called Delicias is suggested by K-State in the “Recommended Vegetable Varieties” publication.

Roses are commonly grown in containers. Tender roses can be moved for winter protection. Sunlight required for blooming varies. Two of my favorite climbing roses, New Dawn and Z├ęphirine Drouhin bloom in quite a bit of shade. They are both planted on the north side of the old dairy barn at the KSU Gardens and flower fine. These along with most roses would do well with full sun.

Along with amount of light, water and fertilizing are important for growing in containers. Most plants like moist rooting environments. Limited nutrient capacities will require additional fertilizer during the growing season.

The growing season is here. It is hard to contain the excitement. Let the potting commence.

If you would like additional information on a horticulture topic, please contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension. Gregg may be contacted by calling 537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail: and at

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