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Gardening Tips for Renters

Want to bring more green to your house or apartment? Using a few easy, inexpensive techniques, <a href="http://www.thehorticult.com/">The Horticult</a> shows how you can garden like you own the place -- without risking your security deposit. You don't have to own your home to create a garden that reflects your personal style. Grow your favorite plants and create an inspired landscape -- or patio, interior, or balcony -- using these fun, low-commitment methods. (Although you might want to check with your landlord about the larger projects!) And if you move, you can take it all with you. These 10 tips for renters will give your garden a new lease on life.

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Summer Garden Maintenance Checklist

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Throw a Garden Party

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New Annual Flowers For 2014

You can't beat annual flowers for all-summer color in beds, borders, or containers. Here's a sampling of our favorite new annuals for 2014.

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    • The Best New Annuals for 2014

      Every year, new varieties of annuals hit the marketplace. We've scoured them all for the top varieties to bring beautiful blooms and lush foliage to your landscape.

    • Kong Junior Coleus

      An exciting new coleus, 'Kong Junior' is more compact than its parent 'Kong'. In our Test Garden it formed a tight mound of colorful foliage and grew about 24 inches tall. It looked terrific planted by itself in a large rustic pot. 'Kong Junior' prefers a shady spot but can tolerate light sun. It comes in four different color varieties: Lime Green, Green Halo, Scarlet, and Rose.

      Name: Coleus 'Kong Junior'

      Growing conditions: Sun, Partial shade

      Size: 18–24 inches tall, 20–35 inches wide

      Grow it with: Bacopa

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • Surdaisy Brachyscomb

      You'll swoon over the masses of happy pink flowers produced by 'Surdaisy' brachyscomb. These compact, mounding plants are ideal for baskets and urns and bloom in pink, yellow, and mauve. Each plant produces hundreds of self-cleaning flowers so the plants never look unkempt.

      Name: Brachyscomb 'Surdaisy'

      Growing conditions: Full sun

      Size: 4-8 inches tall, 6-12 inches wide

      Plant it with: Euphorbia

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • Cha-Ching Cherry Petunia

      The bright star pattern of 'Cha-Ching Cherry' petunia makes this stunning annual a standout for containers on porches, patios, and in garden beds. It's a mounding variety that forms a tight clump of flowers so it won't overtake any companions planted in the same pot. This sun-lover is heat-resistant and blooms from spring until frost.

      Name: Petunia 'Cha-Ching Cherry'

      Growing conditions: Full sun

      Size: 10-16 inches tall, 16-20 inches wide

      Plant it with: Verbena

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • Hibis-Q Hibiscus

      An exciting new family of tropical hibiscus called ‘Hibis-Q’ will brighten your sunny porch. Rounded, compact plants are smothered in almost constant bloom through the summer. Because they are so compact, ‘Hibis-Q’s make terrific container plants by themselves or mixed with annual flowers. Place in a sunny spot and watch the magic happen. ‘Hibis-Q’ is available in yellow, orange, white, pink, and bicolors.

      Name: Hibiscus ‘Hibis-Q’

      Growing conditions: Full sun

      Size: 24-48 inches tall, 24-48 inches wide

      Plant it with: Mandevilla

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • Zahara Sunburst Zinnia

      If you enjoy making fresh-cut bouquets from your garden, be sure to grow 'Zahara Sunburst' zinnia. This gorgeous new variety produces masses of cheerful yellow-and-orange blooms, each one slightly different from the next. The more you cut the flowers, the more they'll produce. And, this new zinnia is disease-resistant.

      Name: Zinnia 'Zahara Sunburst'

      Growing conditions: Full sun

      Size: 12-18 inches tall, 12-18 inches wide

      Plant it with: Other zinnias

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • Arrabona Red Celosia

      Add bold color to garden beds or containers with 'Arrabona Red' celosia. This new celosia is a huge improvement over classic varieties because it develops a continuous crop of feathery, red-orange flowers. The plants also have a tight, mounded form, so they won't flop over in late summer. 'Arrabona Red' celosia thrives in hot weather and tolerates dry conditions.

      Name: Celosia 'Arrabona Red'

      Growing conditions: Full sun

      Size: 10-14 inches tall, 10-15 inches wide

      Plant it with: Marigolds

      Source: Burpee

    • Catalina Grape-O-Licious Torenia

      Brighten shady spots in your landscape with ‘Grape-O-Licious’ torenia. This little charmer sports pretty white tubular flowers with dark purple throats. It’s deer- and drought-resistant and blooms nonstop right up until frost. ‘Grape-O-Licious’ torenia is also an excellent alternative for impatiens in regions where downy mildew is a problem.

      Name: Torenia Catalina ‘Grape-O-Licious’

      Growing conditions: Shade, Partial shade

      Size: 10-12 inches tall, 8-10 inches wide

      Plant it with: Begonias

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • Supertunia Flamingo Petunia

      The newest member of the Supertunia family, ‘Flamingo’ petunia is prized for its bright pink flowers finely etched with dark pink. Like other Supertunias, ‘Flamingo’ will quickly carpet your garden with color. Each plant grows only 8 inches tall but will spread up to 36 inches wide, making it an excellent choice for landscape beds or large pots and planters.

      Name: Petunia Supertunia ‘Flamingo’

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 8-16 inches tall, 24-36 inches wide

      Plant it with: Ornamental sweet potato

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • 10 of 26

      Sparks Will Fly Begonia

      Sparks Will Fly begonia

      Visitors to our Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden fell in love with ‘Sparks Will Fly’ begonia. This gorgeous plant develops dark bronze foliage and masses of bright tangerine flowers. It’s virtually foolproof, too. ‘Sparks Will Fly’ has almost no insect or disease problems and blooms like crazy throughout the summer. It makes a terrific container or bedding plant in any shady spot.

      Name: Begonia ‘Sparks Will Fly’

      Growing conditions: Shade, Partial shade

      Size: 15-18 inches tall and wide

      Plant it with: Asparagus fern

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • 11 of 26

      Sunparasol Garden Crimson Mandevilla

      If you love mandevilla but don't have the space for a big, tropical vine, check out Sunparasol 'Garden Crimson'. It's one of the first mandevillas bred to be short and compact. The plants produce deep red flowers and grow only 12-18 inches tall with an upright habit that doesn't require staking. They are perfect in the border or planted underneath larger potted tropical plants, such as hibiscus or oleander.

      Name: Mandevilla Sunparasol 'Garden Crimson'  

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 12-18 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide

      Plant it with: Tropical hibiscus

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • 12 of 26

      Superbells Pomegranate Punch Calibrachoa

      It isn’t often that we come across a new plant that blows us away, but that’s exactly what ‘Pomegranate Punch’ calibrachoa did in our Test Garden last summer. This hardworking plant develops extra large, velvety red blooms with black throats throughout the season without taking a rest. It does best in containers where the slightly trailing stems can spill over the edge.

      Name: Calibrachoa Superbells ‘Pomegranate Punch’

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 6-10 inches wide, 12-24 inches wide

      Plant it with: Euphorbia

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • 13 of 26

      Blue a Fuse Petunia

      This summer, electrify your garden with ‘Blue A Fuse’ petunia. Each plant produces an eye-popping mixture of variegated violet, yellow, and white flowers. No two flowers are the same! It’s like getting an entire flower garden with one plant. ‘Blue A Fuse’ is a mounding form of petunia that works well in beds, borders, or in containers.

      Name: Petunia ‘Blue A Fuse’

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 6-8 inches tall, 8-12 inches wide

      Plant it with: Geranium

      Source: Burpee

    • 14 of 26

      Lanai Twister Pink Verbena

      If you’ve ever grown Lanai verbenas, you already know what great garden performers these plants are. This year, ‘Twister Pink’ a new member of the Lanai family, is being introduced. Each ball-shape flower has lipstick-pink petals in the center surrounded by pale pink and white petals on the outer rim. The effect is stunning. ‘Twister Pink’ looks terrific in hanging baskets, window boxes, and large containers.

      Name: Verbena Lanai ‘Twister Pink’

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 8-10 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide

      Plant it with: Calibrachoa

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • 15 of 26

      Pinball Gomphrena

      Cut-flower enthusiasts have always prized gomphrena, occasionally called globe amaranth, for their pure colors that don’t fade in dried arrangements. Trouble is, old- fashioned gomphrena varieties had a tendency to grow too tall and flop over in the garden. But the new ‘Pinball’ gomphrena stays compact and produces quantities of rich purple, white, or purple-and-white flowers. It makes an ideal partner in mixed containers and border plantings.

      Name: Gomphrena ‘Pinball’

      Growing conditions: Sun, Partial sun

      Size: 14-18 inches tall and wide

      Plant it with: Petunia

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • 16 of 26

      Pinto Premium White to Rose Geranium

      Winning high marks from trial gardens across the country, ‘Pinto Premium White to Rose’ geranium has received the coveted All-America Selections award. That means it will perform well in your garden, too. ‘Pinto Premium White to Rose’ geranium produces 5-inch wide flowers that start out white but deepen to rose-pink as they mature. It’s easy to grow from seed.

      Name: Geranium ‘Pinto Premium White to Rose’

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 10-24 inches tall, 12-18 inches wide

      Plant it with: Verbena

      Source: Park Seed

    • 17 of 26

      Candy Showers Snapdragon

      An exciting newcomer, ‘Candy Showers’ snapdragon is the first trailing snapdragon you can grow from seed.  Like other snapdragons, ‘Candy Showers’ loves cool weather, so you can extend your season by growing it in the early spring or fall. It’s a great choice for hanging baskets or window boxes and comes in purple, white, orange, rose, red, or yellow. ‘Candy Showers’ also will spread nicely in beds and borders.

      Name: Antirrhinum majus nanum pendula ‘Candy Showers’

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 6-8 inches tall, 16-18 inches wide

      Plant it with: Pansy

      Source: Harris Seeds

    • 18 of 26

      South Pacific Scarlet Canna

      Do you love red and yellow together? ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ canna delivers big, bold color, sporting bright red flowers delicately brushed with yellow highlights. ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ is an All-America Selections winner that grows easily from seed. These compact plants are ideal for container culture, rarely growing over 24 inches tall.

      Name: Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 24-30 inches tall, 18-24 inches wide

      Plant it with: Annual salvia

      Source: Park Seed

    • 19 of 26

      Superbells Spicy Calibrachoa

      Add some flair to your container garden this summer with ‘Spicy’ calibrachoa. These vigorous plants produce spectacular orange flowers with yellow throats right up until frost. Like other calibrachoa, ‘Spicy’ does best in containers because it likes well-drained soil and will sulk if planted in a wet garden bed. It has a trailing habit, so plant it where it can spill over the edge of a pot.

      Name: Calibrachoa Superbells ‘Spicy’

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 8-12 inches, 14-18 inches wide

      Plant it with: Lantana

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • 20 of 26

      Colocasia Noble Gigante

      If you like your annuals on the large size, you won't want to pass up 'Noble Gigante' colocasia. This behemoth can grow 6-8 feet tall and wide in a single season! Its dark purple leaves and stems make it a stunning back-of-the-border focal point. Because 'Noble Gigante' is a tropical plant, it will thrive anywhere with hot, humid summers.

      Name: Colocasia 'Noble Gigante'

      Growing conditions: Partial sun, Shade

      Size: 6-8 feet tall and wide

      Plant it with: Cannas

      Source: Available online from Plant Delights Nursery

    • 21 of 26

      Profusion Double Hot Cherry Zinnia

      Over the past few years, Profusion zinnias have made a name for themselves as some of the easiest, most disease-resistant zinnias on the market. Now, there’s a new double form available called ‘Double Hot Cherry’. In our Test Garden we found it to be a real flower factory, producing an endless supply of blooms right up until frost. It’s also an All-America Selections awards winner, so you know it will thrive anywhere in the country.

      Name: Zinnia Profusion ‘Double Hot Cherry’

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 12-24 inches tall, 10-15 inches wide

      Plant it with: Sanvitalia

      Source: Available online from Park Seed

    • 22 of 26

      Sparkle White Gaura

      A semihardy perennial that blooms the first year from seed, gaura is often considered an annual by northern gardeners. But it really doesn’t matter whether you treat ‘Sparkle White’ as an annual or a perennial because this plant is simply lovely. In midsummer, ‘Sparkle White’ shoots up graceful flower stalks crowded with pure white flowers that dance in the wind. ‘Sparkle White’ also works hard in the border or in containers. It is an All-America Selections winner.

      Name: Gaura lindheimeri ‘Sparkle White’

      Growing conditions: Full to partial sun

      Size: 10-24 inches tall, 14-20 inches wide

      Plant it with: Blue salvia

      Source: Harris Seeds

    • 23 of 26

      Profusion Double Deep Salmon Zinnia

      Here’s another amazing new member of the Profusion zinnia family: ‘Double Deep Salmon’. It offers refreshing, salmon color double flowers all summer long. Like its close cousin, ‘Double Hot Cherry’, ‘Double Deep Salmon’ is disease-resistant and in almost constant bloom. We grew both of these zinnias in our Test Garden last summer and were more than pleased with their performance. ‘Double Deep Salmon’ is also an All-America Selections award winner. 

      Name: Zinnia Profusion ‘Double Deep Salmon’

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 12-24 inches tall, 10-15 inches wide

      Plant it with: Marigold

      Source: Available online from Park Seed

    • 24 of 26

      African Sunset Petunia

      We’re really excited about ‘African Sunset’ petunia. That’s because this bright orange newcomer won an All-America Selections award by wowing judges from across the country with its color, performance, and form. ‘African Sunset’ forms a dense mound of color that doesn’t fade as the summer progresses. It’s a great choice for beds or containers.

      Name: Petunia ‘African Sunset’

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 10-24 inches tall, 12-20 inches wide

      Plant it with: Scaevola

      Source: Available at garden centers nationwide

    • 25 of 26

      White Lightning Osteospermum

      Get a jump on your spring garden with 'White Lightning' osteospermum. This white-flowering beauty is at its best in the spring when the weather is cool and moist, but unlike older varieties of osteospermum, 'White Lightning' is also heat-tolerant and will bloom well into the summer. Its cheerful, daisylike flowers make great cut flowers, too.

      Name: Osteospermum ecklonis 'White Lightning'

      Growing conditions: Sun

      Size: 12-18 inches tall, 14-20 inches wide

      Plant it with: Pansy

      Source: Harris Seeds

    • 26 of 26
      Next Slideshow Top Shade-Loving Annuals

      Top Shade-Loving Annuals

      Transform shady spots in your backyard into a spring-to-fall shade flower show. Start with one or more of these easy shade-loving annuals.
      Begin Slideshow »

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