I’m not cheap, I’m frugal. When it comes to my garden, that means I often repurpose plants from one planting or flower bed into another one. There’s nothing wrong with that, right?
In this case, I repurposed a croton from a container garden that had long outgrown its original pot and mixed it in with some heliconias that I purchased on sale with an existing fern and calla lily. The only new plant was the Ixora with the orange blooms.
I know that most of these plants won’t survive a freeze, but I live in Mississippi, so they should last me a while, especially if I drag them under the carport and close to the house in very cold nights.
Since this plant is only hardy in zones 10 and 11, I use it as an annual, generally in seasonal container gardens. It usually shows up in my local garden center in the fall, when there isn’t much else blooming. It’s a little challenging to keep it looking nice. You can’t plant it and forget it as it likes to get regular water but does not do well in wet soil. It requires 6 to 8 hours of sun to look its best.
This tropical plant likes a lot of water, so be sure it doesn’t get dry, but don’t keep the soil too wet or the roots of the plant will rot. It’s a bit of a balancing act in a planter that is mixed like this one is, but it’s worth it. Heliconias prefer full sun. I have been able to grow this plant as a perennial in my zone 7b, so when the flowers in the planter start to wane, I will plant it in the ground.
Although I’ve never seen a bloom on a croton, the leaves are what causes all the stir. So many colors on one plant, it adds a lot of interest and beauty to this container garden. This particular croton has been living with me for over two years now. I bring it indoors in the winter and take it bake out in late spring. It prefers full sun and even moisture, but not wet feet.