Los Angeles landscape designer Judy Kameon creates gardens with an artist’s eye for color, tone and texture. Known for designing the outdoor spaces of the Parker Palm Springs hotel and many high-profile LA clients, Judy shares her tips on container gardening…
Why use containers over planting in the ground?
• Containers are great to use when you don’t have dirt (like on a balcony or an interior)
• Containers are easy to change out for a new fresh look
• They add an important decorative element
• Containers can be used as a dramatic focal point in a garden
• They introduce another form and texture in a design
How would you use containers to divide a space?
To divide a space, you can cluster large, medium and small pots and layer up with various size plants for an informal look — or you can repeat the same size and shape container and plants in a row for a more formal look.
Are there any suggestions you have for grouping containers?
I love grouping containers in tones of the same colors — several different shades of aqua pots in all sizes or small clusters of cobalt planters.
How do you like to use containers indoors?
I like to use tall narrow pots with tall leafy plants indoors to bring a soft vertical accent to a corner, short bowls and small pots with low mounding plants for table arrangements and full sub-tropical plants near windows or sliding glass doors to blur the line between inside and outside.
What would you plant indoors? What is your favorite indoor plant?
My favorite indoor plant is False Aralia — Schefflera elegantissima. It has a dark and beautifully cut leaf and is elegant, just like its name.
What about outdoors? What is your favorite outdoor plant?
I have so many favorite outdoor plants that it’s hard to pick just one but I do love Elephant’s ear Kalanchoe — Kalanchoe beharensis. It has the most dramatic velvety silver and bronze foliage, a wonderful graphic form and the trunk has exquisite patterning.
What is the easiest plant to care for?
I really recommend going with plants that are tough and don’t need much maintenance. Epidendrums are wonderful — they come in loads of jewel tone colors and hummingbirds adore their bright flowers. If you’re looking for a good gift, I often give out cuttings of Metallica — Echeverria rudolphi. It’s a striking rosette shaped succulent that you can pop in a pot and it will grow, grow, grow!
What do you need to keep in mind when combining several plants within the same container?
When combining plants, make sure to pick species that have like needs — they should require the same amount of sun light, water and nutrients. Three groupings I like are:
• A cool palette of Agave desmettiana ‘Variegata’ with chartreuse Sedum ‘Angelina’ and blue Echeveria glauca.
• A hot mix of orange ‘Sticks on Fire’ — Euphorbia tirucalli with violet Echeveria ‘Afterflow’ with a hot pink centerpiece of Cordyline ‘Southern Splendor’.
• A metallic combination of ‘Platt’s Black’ — Phormium with silver Dudleya pulverulenta and fuzzy bronze Panda Plant — Kalanchoe tomentosa.
Judy encourages beginner garderners to have fun playing with different plant combinations and don’t be afraid to experiment. Here are her favorite tips for to make the most of your containter gardening:
• Pick plants that will thrive in containers, have low water needs and require little maintenance
• Add gravel and filter cloth on the bottom before putting in soil to improve drainage
• Add gravel or pebbles to top dress the container for an instantly polished look
• Fertilize flowering plants and edibles regularly