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What should I plant?

I have a round brick patio about 10' diameter that is just off of my 2 level deck. I have landscaped with river rock and opened up the landscape material that sits under the rock to plant some perennials. The perennials do not seem to grow very well. I am thinking of taking them out and planting something else so that the area around the patio looks full and pretty with flowers, bushes and plants. Will I need to remove all of the rocks and landscaping materials to do this? What plants?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Rock mulch isn't ideal for plants because the rock intensifies the heat stress put on plants. If the patio is already hot and in full sun, the rock is compounding the problem and making for a very unfriendly environment for plants.

I'd recommend removing the river rock and mulching your new planting with an organic mulch like shredded cypress or cedar. For a list of plants that will thrive in full sun, work with the Plant Encyclopedia on our website. You can choose based on criteria such as size, color and bloom season. Then you can view plant profiles that include photos and descriptions.

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