Trailing plants for high Container?

(Question)

So I have a container on the second floor and I was thinking it would look really cool if I had flowers hanging almost all the way down from it. If I put the 8 foot long type of sweet peas in, and they had nowhere to cling to, would they hang down or just Break?
Would I be torturing sweet peas and is it a crazy idea or would it work? What do you think? I have plans to put some Dichondra in it in the summer. Any other suggestions?

Also, I was going to try winter (and/or spring) sowing a few things–Larkspur, Salvia, pansies, snap dragons, sweet william. I see they use some pretty big containers for this but how far apart do they put the seeds and what do they do when it comes time to put them in the garden? Can the seedlings growing together be separated at that point or are they planted as a group?

 

(Answer)

I am going to assume that your second floor container is outdoors. Also, your flower choices seem to indicate a sunny location. If so, the soil choice is important. Hanging baskets, balcony boxes and containers should have soil designed for them. They are lighter in weight, and also absorb moisture better than garden soil. Often called container or hanging basket soil, bags are available at most nurseries.

You are correct, sweet peas are climbers and prefer to go up than down. Sweet peas also have nodes, which are narrowed areas along their stems. These would be the breakage location. So, torture might be too strong a word, but they would not be happy!

Your choice of dichondra is good, as they are heat and drought tolerant, so can tolerate a container in the sun. They are, grown for their foliage, and would be used as a ‘spiller’, that is, grow over the lip of your container, but not trail down very far. Other choices could include many plants that are available at nurseries in the spring especially chosen for their trailing habits. Some of these could include Bidens ferulifolia or beggarticks – has a yellow daisy shaped flower, Calibrachoa sp. or Million Bells, a self deadheading small petunia-shaped flower in many colours. There are also the silvery foliage plants such as Helichrysum petiolare or liquorice plant. The foliage can be oval or narrow and provide contrast with flowering plants. Search the local nurseries – they have many plants to choose from that would suit your needs.

Your choice of sowing seeds in winter is fine – follow the package guidelines as to when, how deep and how far apart seeds need to be sown.  A simple solution for sowing seeds in winter is use sterile potting soil in a clear, plastic crate that raspberries or blueberries come in. These already have drainage holes, and the lid provides extra heat for the seeds to germinate. Put them in a sunny window – and soon sprouts will happen. If you do it too soon, they will outgrow the crate, and need to be gently separated and transferred to a bigger container – say a yogurt cup with a hole poked in the bottom and more sterile soil. Most of these plants, with the exception of pansies, need warm soil in May in order to be transferred outside.

Alternatively, the seeds can be sown outside when the soil is warm – early May.  Just follow the directions on each packet.