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On Gardening: To avoid mixed-container stress, go mono-a-mono

Norman Winter, Tribune News Service on

Published in Gardening News

The Garden Guy sees a lot of needless garden stress when it comes to choosing plant partners for your containers. After watching the excitement that Andrea Owens Schnapp created with a shared photo on my Facebook page the answer to this stress may just be to go mono-a-mono.

Obviously, I am taking a gardener approach to mono-a-mono, but Andrea taught us all a couple of lessons. First off many of us had never heard of the plant she shared. I for one am supposed to know these things. She shared with me one of her favorite petunias, Supertunia Raspberry Rush. Wow, where did this come from?

This photo that has reached well over 50,000 likes on my Facebook page should be like a megaphone shout out to both greenhouse growers and retailers alike. This is one beautiful petunia that many of us have not had the opportunity to buy.

One is also a key word as this was the only plant in a dazzling turquoise glazed container. Supertunia Raspberry Rush has won Top Performer Awards all over the place, which makes it hard to understand why so many of us haven’t had the opportunity to buy it.

It reaches about 12 inches tall with a 24-inch spread. And one gets the feeling looking at Andrea’s photo from Florida, it has the potential of growing even more.

The comments from my Facebook followers showed a love for both the Supertunia and the colorful container. So, one way to look at this is that the container itself served as the colorful companion. The container was also large enough to allow the Supertunia to be all it could be.

As drop-dead gorgeous as this was, Andrea hit it out of the park with another glazed container of similar color but different textural pattern. In this container, monoculture again, was the new Supertunia Persimmon. There is just something about the orange and yellow blossoms up against turquoise.

Though Supertunia Persimmon is still considered very new, it has won a lot of Top Performer Awards and Perfect Score in University of Tennessee trials. Both pictures make you wonder how another plant would have even contributed to the containers. Monoculture can really be a good option when it comes to containers.


Mono-a-mono does have an application when it comes to containers. Andrea, who is a trained horticulturist and now serves as a Master Gardener, chose to group several containers together on her patio. Though each container has only one plant, the cluster looks like a garden when placed together.

The Garden Guy has a lot of containers to maintain and to reach the look that Andrea has, especially in Florida, takes frequent watering and feeding. In Georgia where I garden, I use the best potting soil I can get my hands on, water daily and feed with a water-soluble mix every 2 to 3 weeks. It becomes like a liquid blue jug brigade.

I’ve got quite a few of last year’s Supertunias, Superbells and Superbenas about ready to bloom. This year’s plant orders will arrive sometime in April. But these early Supers in bloom will be happening because I cut back last August and trimmed a little coming out of this winter.

I want to give a shout out to Andrea Owens Schnapp in Florida for reminding us not only of the varieties out there, but that monoculture can be a beautiful style.


(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Norman Winter receives complimentary plants to review from the companies he covers.)

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