Succulents or Painted Rocks are the absolute easiest but after that comes the geranium.
Geraniums are your number one choice for sun. The Bounce impatiens #1 for shade.
Everyone knows the ivy geranium. The leaves look a little like an Ivy leaf and they are wonderfully easy. Your ivy geranium will bloom 12 months of the year, loves the sun, doesn’t mind the heat and is almost bug free. Clusters of flowers in pink, white, red, purple and stripes, every color except green or blue. This is the “do everything” geranium. Spectacular basket, big splashy pot. Cover a bank or even climb a little if you give it time.
Cut it back or thin it out in winter for lots of air circulation. In spring, feed it, water it and watch it bloom. FAQ. What are those little brown raised blisters on the back of my leaves? Don’t worry, they are just cells that fill up with water and like little zits they eventually pop and turn brown.
The upright zonal geranium is like the other one but bigger more upright with big leaves, strong stems and huge clusters of flowers. Amazing in a great big pot. Best bloom time is spring, into fall. Be sure to move to a warmer spot if you get the occasional freeze.
Is this the perfect plant? Well, almost. So here’s the ‘bad’. The geranium petunia budworm. A night flying moth lays her eggs on the little flower buds. The caterpillar hatches out, eats the juicy little flower bud then leaves a nice exit hole. The caterpillar will be the same color as whatever it is eating so it is hard to spot.
You can easily stop these sneaky pests with either a Spinosad spray like Captain Jack’s or any spray like Monterey that has the letters BT on the front. Safe, not poisonous and will only kill caterpillars.
Don’t use it on the butterfly weed that the monarch’s need if you want to watch the monarch life cycle. Hint, it takes a day or two so don’t expect them to curl up and drop off immediately. Spray once or twice a month in summer months.
As soon as the weather warms the New Guinea impatiens come along. Remember the old impatiens? They were the #1 easy plant for shade until a nasty virus came along. You can still grow the New Guinea impatiens. Can you guess where they are native to? They are not affected by that virus and one of the best is called Bounce. Known for its ability to bounce back from your occasional “Oops I forgot to water.” They are sturdy, take more sun than the old regular impatiens. All impatiens freezes easily. Sorry, nothing is perfect. Back this year are the delightful little double rose bud impatiens. The prettiest of all the impatiens. So, are there any perfect best plants? No, just like there aren’t any perfect best people.
If we all try to be the best we can be, the world will be a little bit better and probably the plants will all be happier too.