Plants in Bulk: Prettier By the Dozen

Plants in Bulk: Prettier By the Dozen

Buy annual flowering plants in bulk (12 or more) to make easy planters and beautiful gardens. Here are 12 ideas! By Karen Weir-Jimerson
By Karen Weir-Jimerson

Do you buy in bulk? Paper towels, cans of tomatoes, your favorite soda? These are all things you can use again and again, so it’s good to have a lot on hand. Buying plants in bulk is a good idea too. Can you ever have too much of a beautiful thing? We think not!

So here are 12 ideas for using a dozen of the same annual flowers in your garden, deck, and porch.

1. Line a Walkway.

A swath of colorful annuals provides a beautiful side dressing to a brick, stone, or concrete walkway. Like eyeliner, a row of three to four plants deep accentuates a walkway and calls attention to it—in a beautiful way. See how a border of orange lantana, at left, leads the way. 

2. Feed Pollinators!

Butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees love nectar-rich blooms of colorful annuals, such as pentas (in photo at left) and lantana. Planting a large area of these pollinator magnets will lure in these beautiful and beneficial insects. Kids love butterflies and bees, so enlist their help in planting a large block of colorful, pollinator-friendly annuals. 

3. Plant a "WOW" Window Box.

A single color in a window box makes a dramatic statement -- a statement that you can see from far away (think curb appeal). Consider planting a big bold window box packed with pink purslane (Portulaca) to accent a beige, taupe or white house. Or a window box of yellow lantana to draw the eye to a blue or red house. At right, a box of red pentas shouts “hello” from a front porch. 

4. Surround a Mail Box.

If you have a mail box on a post, you have the center focal point for a pretty front yard garden. Just stake out a circle around the base of the post, remove the turf, and plant a mass of colorful annuals, such as Mexican heather (Cuphea). It’s an easy-peasy garden plan. And your neighbors (and mail carrier) will admire it every day. 

5. Create Custom Containers.

Here’s an easy way to create color-coordinated containers. Buy three sets of 12 plants, and make a three-color mix in a series of different pots. You can use the same size of container or mix it up with large and small pots. In the end you'll have a color coordinated patio landscape made all with containers.  

6. Plant a Tabletop Planter.

Create an easy-care colorful centerpiece for summertime outdoor meals with a single long planter than spans the length of an outdoor table. Pack it full of a low-growing annual such as purslane (Portulaca). Choose a color for the summer (pink!), then match your plates and table linens to the color scheme. You’ll enjoy colorful meals al fresco all summer. 

7. Make a Circular Bed.

It’s an easy garden design: the simple and elegant circle. Carve out a round bed on the lawn and fill it with all of one colored plant. You’ll enjoy an island of brilliant color all summer. At left, a circular bed of yellow lantana looks smashing fronting a yellow house. 

8. Perk Up a Perennial Border.

Do you have a fledgling perennial garden that needs a color lift? Annuals will do the job beautifully. Since perennials have a specific bloom time, you may find that you need a little color fill-in with annuals such as annual vinca (Catharanthus) or Mexican heather. Plant them in groups of three in perennial-bed blank spots to make more of a colorful impression. 

9. Edge a Garden Bed.

Sometime garden beds can look a little unruly at the edges. But not if you plant an edging of all one color of a plant. Take Mexican heather for example. This heat-loving annual bears bright green leaves and is dotted with small vibrant purple flowers. And the look is tidy—all lined up at the edge of a garden bed. 

10. Soften a Driveway Edge.

A driveway is functional, but alas it isn’t pretty. Unless you edge it with red pentas or fuchsia purslane. A pretty skirting of an annual flower dresses up a driveway. And since annuals fade at the end of summer, you can try a different color the following year. 

11. Colorize a Sunny Side Yard.

Reclaim an underused area of your yard and splash it with color. Side yards can be beautiful spots to create intimate seating areas for morning coffee or afternoon cocktails. Create a colorful theme area with matching pillows on seating. String twinkle lights above and enjoy the area after the sun goes down. Pots of white pentas, at right, will serve as glowing beacons after dark. 

12. Create a Neighborhood Color Theme! 

Plant some synergy with your neighbors. Share your plants with your neighbors who may become as inspired as you are to create beautiful pots and beds of color for all of the neighborhood to enjoy.