"sort of" companion plants

Joe Shaw jshaw@opuntiads.com
Tue, 29 Aug 2006 20:11:29 PDT
Hi Gang

I grow a lot of plants in big containers including many Crinum.  Often 
plants will be in 10- or 15-gallon nursery containers.  One problem with 
containers is that the soil can become too warm.  I try to shade the soil 
and sides of the containers in various ways and one way is to use 
groundcover plants in the container.

I use various groundcovers but like those that don't have deep roots (not 
too competitive with the bulbs) and which can withstand heat and some 
drought; it is a bonus is they trail over the side of the container.

I've tried some sedges collected from local pastures and woodlands and one 
of my favorites is Carex flaccosperma (blue wood sedge).  I tried this plant 
as a groundcover in the garden but it is not very competitive with Johnson 
grass or other aggessive weeds, but it has done really well in large pots.

C. flaccosperma is not fast growing, and it is a slow spreader--but it will 
spread out in a clump over 2-3 years.  It takes full sun, or half-day sun, 
or bright shade.  In the best situations the leaves get long and flow over 
the side of a container, providing shade for the side as well.  In the 
hottest and sunniest situations C. flaccosperma is a shorter, more squat 
plant, but it does fine shading the soil from overhead sun.

Other plants that work well are zone 9-tolerant creeping sedums and some low 
growing kitchen herbs.

In some pots I've experimented with Dyckia species or hybrids (terrestrial 
brimeliads).  I think they are Dyckia; they are small leaved and green  (not 
the beautiful Dyckia types).  They seem to be working but it is too early to 
tell.  Their benefit is that they are carefree, impervious to heat and 
drought, and don't seem to compete with bulbs.  However, they need to be in 
pots with very good drainage and weeding around dyckias can be vexing.



LINK:  C. flaccosperma Information

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