Simple Wall Basket

A recipe for creating a simple side planting wall basket.

Salvia, coleus, and begonias team up to create an easy arrangement – both to plant and to maintain. The salvia forms the centerpiece, and the other three plants are simply alternated around the edge and side. These tried-and-true plants have been high performers for generations.The color contrast of dark purple and lime green give this small arrangement its punch.

Side Planting Wall Planters Basics: Step 1

Step 1:
For the side layer, alternate
the begonias with the two colors of coleus.

Light: Full sun to light shade. Since wax begonias are sold for sun or shade, be sure to choose those that fit your light situation.

Most take sun until the temperatures hit the low 90’s. The redleafed varieties take sun in higher temperatures, along with some of the newer, green-leafed types that should be labeled as sun begonias.





Pamela Crawfords Side Planting Wall Planter Basics:  Step2

Step 2:
Plant the two salvias close
together in the center.

Season: Spring through fall for most areas. Also thrives in winter in areas where the temperatures stay above 38 degrees. This plant mix takes temperatures from about 38 degrees to the low 90’s in full sun. In light shade, it withstands higher temperatures into the high 90’s.

Lifespan: Two to four months in this container. Plants in small wall baskets live shorter lives than those planted in larger containers.



Wall Basket Planters Basics Step 3

Step 3:
Repeat Step 1 around the
edge. Be sure to put different
plants above each other.

Care: Fertilize on planting day, and repeat every three months with a slow-release mix. About every three weeks or so, pinch the coleus to keep it from getting taller than the salvia, . Remove the dead flowers from the salvia if you feel energetic!

Water: Water when the plants show signs of wilt or the soil feels dry when you push your fingertip up to your second knuckle into the potting mix. I watered this one every day in mid summer and every other day in cooler weather.

Troubleshooting: After six weeks, the purple salvia was covered up by the coleus. It also suffered from lack of light because I planted another wall basket too close above it. Luckily, the other plants were so pretty that the arrangement still looked great without the purple flowers! Red salvia is taller than the purple and a better choice when surrounded by coleus.

Quantity of Plants: Quantities for this pot size are given on the plant photos (previous page). See the ‘List of Products’ section in this Web site for quantities needed for other container sizes and shapes.

Arrangement: Alternate the begonias, ‘Gay’s Delight’ coleus, and ‘Dark Star’ coleus, around the side layer. Plant the salvias in the center. Alternate the begonias and coleus again around the top edge.

You can review the  Side Planting How To’s ‘Step by Step Instructions’ on our website.

Choosing the Right Plants for Side Planting Containers

When using a side planting containers it is important to select the right plants. Since these plants are literally planted sideways, some like it while others do not and may quickly die.

Here are the results for our trials of side plantings and a list of the plants that did well in our side planters:

  • Wax begonias – I tried many types and all thrived! They are a valuable plant for these containers because, most are grown from seed and are so inexpensive.
  • Coleus – Fabulous! Use the giant coleus both in the sides as well as for a centerpiece. It doesn’t grow as large in the sides. Be careful of the ‘Wizard’ mix because of problems encountered by many in the 2005 season.
  • Impatiens – Wonderful. All types thrived, including ‘Little Lizzie’, New Guineas, and doubles.
  • Trailing torenia – Wonderful. Lasted longer than the upright torenia.
  • Purple queen – The plant did well, but didn’t look great. It tends to stick out a bit awkwardly, as if it can’t make up its mind whether to trail or clump!
  • Dragon wing begonias – One of the best performers of our trials. They are slower to start than the wax begonias, but have a higher percentage ofcolor in the long run.
  • Pansies and violas – Great! I tried many different types, and they thrived.
  • Creeping Jenny – Gardeners love this one!
  • Lamium – I loved lamium with different shades of purple.
  • Melampodium – Did well in most instances. Tends to grow a bit larger than many of the others I used with it, like wax begonias and upright torenia.
  • Scaevola – Both the white and the blue did beautifully.