When it comes to patios we usually dress it with outdoor furniture and BBQ’s which themselves can make a fantastic statement, such as can be read here: The Ultimate Accessories for your Alfresco.
But for true visual impact under your patio nothing compares to potted plants.
They can truly add another dimension with layers upon layers to either create an oasis or to create a frame that draws the eyes of all.
For example if you are an avid watcher of The Block on channel 9 then you may have seen the terraces that were completed this week.
The visual impact of the potted plants used to finish the spaces of these outdoor rooms was nothing short of stunning.
The use of pots of various shapes and heights to the plants themselves to fill the space, were all used in a way to draw your eyes to that space.
So what are the best plants to keep under your patio?
To help answer this question Great Aussie Patios spoke to Vanessa in the gardening section at Bunnings warehouse, Maddington.
Vanessa was more than happy to walk us through the some of the plants we should be looking at to make that visual impact for our patios.
Golden Cane Palm
This palm loves to be in a big pot and looks lush and green all year round when under cover.
If you want a bit more of a visual impact try different size pots and group them together or pair them up in the same design pot and place either side of the patio to create a type of frame.
Dwarf Date Palm
This palm when fully grown provides a beautiful base with lush green foliage. The base has a wonderful pattern which leads up to the base of the branches.
However Vanessa did provide a word of warning:
This Dwarf Date Palm does have spikes on the branches which can be quite nasty if you get pricked while trimming away dead foliage.
I have one of these Dwarf Date Palms and I can vouch for the spikes, not the best feeling when you cop one in the finger.
However those aside it is a beautiful looking palm and certainly provides a tropical feel under my patio.
This palm gets its name from the masses of foliage that comes from the base of the bulb that looks similar to that of a ponytail.
This is best suited to a large pot and as it gets larger so does the bulb at the base of the palm. This will eventually spawn smaller ponytails from the base which if left can add depth to the pot. These look great when placed in a corner in a large round pot as the foliage spreads out. You can then add smaller pots under and around to enhance the height.
Vanessa also mentioned that “these are great water saving plants, as the bulb at the base holds a lot of water to ensure it never gets to dry.”
Getting away from the palms another plant that is well suited to life under a patio are the Ficus. They are available in a variety of names that all produce stunning leaf colouring that are also green all year round.
These are also well suited to pots and are easy to maintain to whatever height you want them to grow at. You can add different varieties of Ficus to give you a real depth of colour and again with ability to create height with various pot sizes.
Ferns are a great filler to an empty space, or if grouped together can make a large visual impact on their own such as what was used by Chris and Kim on The Block.
Given the large selection of ferns available they can be used to fill large pots that look bare especially like those of say a palm.
They make a great hanging basket as they can be made to look plump and full of green foliage.
Placed above, around or in other potted plants the varieties of Ferns add a real depth of greenery and depth thanks to their ever green foliage.
These plants provide you with a bit of the exotic a stunningly visual plant that has an even better flower. They are great in shallow pots which are great if you are trying to group different pots together.
These particular plants produce smaller growths known as pups. These pups can be removed and cared for ready to be planted into their own pot.
Vanessa gave us this advice on the Bromelaids:
“These will often begin to die off after a couple of years, however if you have taken the pups and placed them in pots these can take the place of the original Bromelaid from which they came.”
One last word
Vanessa also gave us this great advice:
“All these plants are great for those of us that are kept to busy or pushed for time, they tend to look after themselves quite well with little to no attention. All of these plants provide lush green foliage all year round and all will happily live under your patio and don’t forget to use different pots to provide that visual impact in or around your patio.”
Great Aussie Patios would like to Thank Vanessa and Bunnings warehouse in Maddington for their help and advice on these plants.
My Plant of Choice
I thought I would add one more to the list of plants that will live happily under your patio and one that you may have never thought of.
A pineapple is a great plant for your patio as they will grow just about anywhere even indoors, which means pots.
They are ridiculously easy to grow and don’t take much care. They have a long thin leaf and will grow in very shallow pots also.
This is because the fruit (the Pineapple) grows above the plant itself.
I have anywhere to 5 or 6 pineapples growing at the moment and if I can find space I’ll keep growing more.
When they are ready to fruit the flower is spectacular and then you will begin to see that beautiful fruit take shape right before your eyes.
They only fruit once in their life time then begin to die, however before they do the produce baby plants from the crown which then have the ability to spawn their own fruit.
If you buy a pineapple from the local shops with the crown still on it, just simply cut this off with a bit of the pineapple and plant it in the ground or the pot and that's it.
To see how easy it is to grow a pineapple head to this link.