The Five W’s and One H of Side Planters

Side Planting Basket Column

Basket column for side planting.

As any first year journalism major can attest, The 5 W’s establish a formula for getting the complete story on any subject. According to the principle of the Five W’s (and one H), a story can only be considered complete if it answers these questions starting with one of these interrogative words. The key to a successful story is answering the reader’s questions of who, what, where, when, why, and how.

Take side planting, for example. Can this unique and satisfying gardening method be revealed completely using the five W’s and one H? Let’s find out:

What is side planting?

Side Planting is a method of establishing plants so that they grow out of the side of the garden containers they are planted in. Side planted containers allow planting in the side as well as the top of the container. Containers are fast and easy to plant and result in instant flower balls that form spectacular accents.

Because the plants are literally planted sideways, not all plants flourish in side planting. The best tried and tested plants for side planting are:

  • Wax begonias
  • Coleus
  • Impatiens
  • Trailing torenia.
  • Dragon wing begonias
  • Pansies and violas
  • Lamium
  • Scaevola
Where are the plants placed?

There are four container types for side planting. All feature sturdy steel frames, holding replaceable coco-fiber liners with pre-cut holes in their sides for easy side planting. Containers include:

  1.  Hanging planter – Basic Basket Planters in various sizes are constructed from heavy gauge steel wire coated in black plastic and are supplied with removable clip-on chains.
  2.  Wall planter – Wall Planters with attached liners for use on Walls, Fences, Porch and Deck Railings. Constructed from heavy gauge steel wire coated in black plastic, our side planted wall planters can transform any empty wall.
  3. Border column – Border columns allow hanging baskets to be displayed in gardens or on patios without hanging them from a preexisting structure. These include 18″ ground spike, 9″ diameter steel disk and choice of 30″, 36″, 42″ or 48″ height column.
  4. Window box – Beautify windows, walls and railings using Window Box Planters. Choose from four sizes to best fit your space requirements.
When can side planting be done?

Since the plants that seem to respond best to side planting like warm weather, do not expose side plants to cold weather. Refer to the care instructions of the plants that you are using in your display when deciding when it is safe to move plants outdoors.

As soon as the last frosts have occurred in your area, it’s time to select flowers and foliage for side planting from your local garden center. For some tips about side planting, many tried and tested planting ‘recipes’ by Pamela Crawford are available so you’ll know the best varieties to choose.

Who invented side planting?

Pamela Crawford is a garden designer and author who invented the containers and specially designed coco-liners in 2006—after years of trials and testing to find out which varieties best adapt to side planting conditions. Anyone can enjoy side planting! It’s fun and easy. You can see some beautiful examples of side planting from amateur home gardeners here. You’ll also be able to read comments from gardeners all over the country

Why side plant?

Side planting lets you create instant container gardens, turning your outside living areas into a colorful oasis of flowers and foliage—even if you don’t have much space. Porches, patios, pool sides and decks can all be enhanced by side planting. Side planting is not the mainstream of gardening, rather, is another way to add beautiful flowers to your home, particularly if you don’t have the gardening space. Whether secured to wall, displayed on a post or column, attached to a window, or flowing from a hanging basket,

For more information, check out the side planting products available from Kinsman Company.

How is side planting done?

Let Pamela Crawford show you how! You will find 6 different how-to videos that will show you how easy it is to start side planting. Pamela Crawford’s exclusive side planting containers feature side planting holes, so you can create beautiful flower baskets instantly. Display them on Kinsman’s Border Columns or Basket Columns. You can get started side planting today!



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.