Growing up, I remember the “traditional combo planters” that were available at the Local Garden Center. I am sure that you have seen them. A bold, beautiful Geranium in the center of a pot with variegated Vinca major trailing over the edge of the pot. Larger pots would sport a Dracaena “Spike” in the center as the “thriller”, with the geraniums around it as the “filler” and the Vinca major as the “spiller”. Yes, I did say “thriller”, “filler” and “spiller”!
To this day, the Geranium combo pot brings back fond memories. I so enjoy how the bright flower colors, green leaves and variegated vine provide contrast in that potted combo.
Growing Geraniums in Texas is a little different than growing them in cooler climates. They are a typically available as a “transition” flower in the cooler months of the spring and fall in Central Texas. Grow them in morning sun when possible, as the afternoon sun can be brutal. Bring the plants through the hot summer in semi-shade to dappled shade, and they will continue blooming in all but the hottest of summers.
Take care to water the soil, not the leaves, as the leaves will get a fungus infection called botrytis with extra moisture. Put the plants under a roof cover if we have a rainy season to avoid wetting of the leaves. Clean the older yellowed leaves off regularly, as they are the most susceptible to botrytis. Do not let the pot sit in a saucer, always water well when you water, and try to allow the soil to approach dryness between waterings. A blooming plant fertilizer will keep the flowers coming in the spring and fall. (I avoid fertilization in the summer months to allow the plants to rest.) Trim the plants back in August then fertilize them in September for gorgeous fall blooms. If you protect your plants from freezing in the winter they will easily carry over until spring.
Ivy Geraniums are another variety well worth growing, basically under the same conditions as the Zonal Geraniums, but be careful not to over-water. We also have some hybrids available, which are a cross between the Zonal and the Ivy Geranium.
Do the deer eat them? I need to plant something colorful that they will leave alone
Yes, the deer will eat them. For cool season flowers we have snapdragons. In the spring we will have Zinnias and in late spring Periwinkle (Vinca). We also have a lot of deer resistant perennials, and you can search for that list here on our website.