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For The Garden

Patio Trees For Containers

Author: Nancy Erdmann
Issue: March, 2012, Page 144
PONYTAIL PALM
(Beaucarnea recurvata)


Low-Desert Patio Trees for Containers

PONYTAIL PALM
(Beaucarnea recurvata)


Type: Perennial

Soil: Fast-draining mix formulated for containers; or 1-part potting soil to 1-part sand

Light: Full sun to light shade

Water needs: Water deeply; then let soil dry out. Avoid over-watering.

Maintenance: Apply slow-release palm fertilizer every three months.

Tips: Choose a shallow container twice the width of the root ball. If you want this slow-growing palm to get bigger, repot annually. Protect from high winds. When temperatures dip near freezing,
bring indoors and set in a sunny spot.

Why we like it: This easy-care accent plant provides tropical appeal with its grasslike foliage. Younger plants look like giant onions protruding from the dirt, providing visual interest. Ponytail palm also does well indoors.


CHASTE TREE
(Vitex agnus-castus)
CHASTE TREE
(Vitex agnus-castus)


Type: Perennial

Blooms: Late spring through fall; blue, lavender or white (flowers begin opening from the bottom of the stem and continue upward)

Soil: Well-draining mix for containers

Light: Full sun to light shade

Water needs: Water regularly. Do not over-water.

Maintenance: To encourage more blooms, remove flowers as soon as they fade. Prune as needed.

Tip: Do not grow near pools, as the tree drops tiny, hard seeds. Note: Plant loses its leaves in fall.

Why we like it: This fast-growing, heat-hardy ornamental tree can withstand a variety of growing conditions. It produces eye-catching fragrant flower spikes that attract birds, bees and butterflies.


TEXAS OLIVE
(Cordia boissieri)
TEXAS OLIVE
(Cordia boissieri)


Type: Perennial

Blooms: Mid-spring into fall; white with yellow throats

Soil: Well-draining soil for containers

Light: Full sun to light shade (needs at least 6 hours of sunlight daily)

Water needs: Water regularly until established; then once or twice a month. Avoid over-watering.

Maintenance: Apply a slow-release fertilizer monthly. Prune dead branches.

Tip: Texas olive may look spindly in its nursery container, but it will thrive once transplanted into a bigger pot. To develop a tree shape, trim off lower limbs.

Why we like it: Drought- and heat-tolerant, this long-blooming beauty is a bird magnet. Hardy to the mid-teens, it produces attractive flowers and foliage.


KUMQUAT
(Fortunella sp.)
KUMQUAT
(Fortunella sp.)


Type: Perennial

Blooms: Fragrant white flowers in late winter are followed by yellow-orange fruit in March and a smaller crop in autumn.

Harvest: When skin is a deep-orange color and the fruit is slightly soft

Soil: Mix formulated for containers

Light: Full to part sun, with afternoon shade in summer

Water needs: Keep well-watered; soil should be damp but not wet.

Maintenance: Apply slow-release fertilizer in January, May and August; more often if leaves are yellowing.

Tip: Avoid placing plant in windy areas.

Why we like it: Heat-loving, easy-to-grow kumquats are frost-tolerant to 15 degrees. Fruits can be picked off the tree and popped in your mouth—rind and all.
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