Creative Containers by Candice Ferguson







It was easy to tell that Candice Ferguson loves to create containers in all the seasons!  Her specialty is perennials, but she is also quite familiar with using annuals for a “pop” of color or drama.

Candice reminded us to think of scale when choosing larger pots, and consider the color of the container too. Choosing different colors and shapes of foliage, as well as texture and size, is where you can exercise your creativity.  Our beloved begonias, fuchsias, and pelargoniums are definite eye-catchers in mixed containers! Candice mentioned Begonia Angelique, which is one of the rare begonias that is fragrant, and Begonia Splendide Ballerina, which has particularly large colourful blooms.

Some of her lovely spring combinations included:

  1. Maiden fern, 2. Begonia iconia ‘Lemon Berry’ (new!), White lobelia, 4. Golden creeping Jenny
    1. Maiden fern, Dark coleus, 3. Golden creeping Jenny, 4. Begonia ‘Rise up Aloha Gold’
    1. Hakonechloa Macra ‘Aureola’ (Japanese Forest grass), 2. Heuchera ‘Dolce cherry truffles’ or ‘Peach flambe’, 3. Burgundy verbena, 4. Begonia ‘Solenia apricot’

A fun idea for Easter was to add an Easter basket (full of Spring flowers and some coloured eggs) in the center of a larger container with forced hydrangeas.

Candice described her combinations for summer containers as having a “touch of tropical flair”.  Some impatiens have a nice leaf with a yellow center, and others can withstand more summer sun.  Flax grass is an alternative.

These combinations included:
1. Caladium, 2. True dwarf boxwood, 3. Wire vine ‘muehlenbeckua’, 4. Begonia ‘Rise up flamingo’s dream’
1. Vertigo grass (zone 8), 2. Impatient New Guinea ‘Roller coasters white lighting’, 3. Coleus, 4. Ivy, 5. Creeping Jenny, 6. White lobelia
1. ‘Shiraz’ Maple, 2. Astilbe, 3. Tiarell, 4. Spanish moss, 5. Rieger Begonia
1. Non stop Begonia, 2. Glacier ivy, 3. Sweet alyssum

Candice suggested dressing up your fall containers with fun gourds and pumpkins to celebrate the season!  Bronze Carex ‘toffee twist’ or ‘fire fox’ add a nice texture for fall arrangements.

A suggested combination was:
1. ‘Ruby glow’ Euphorbia, 2. ‘Rubenetta’ Skimmia, 3. ‘Annas Red’ Hellebore, 4. Variegated Pachysandra terminalis








Winter containers are enhanced by adding tall bare branches, draped evergreen branches, and large cones to your containers.  Candice notes that Styrofoam is helpful in keeping branches in place.

Evergreen magnolia is attractive.  Euonymus Paramo blanco is really nice for height and has white tips in the spring.  Other suggestions for height include: ‘aloma Blanca’ Euonymus, ‘Wilma gold’ Cupressus, Ilex stigiata ‘sky pencil’, taxus braccata ‘Fastigiata’

After the slide show, Candice demonstrated potting up a container with Escargot begonia, a Rieger begonia, and a goldfish plant (Columnia gloriosa).

Be sure that your container has at least one hole for drainage. The only time she puts something in the bottom other than soil is if it is a really deep pot. Container plants really need to stretch their roots into soil.

Premium potting mix has less peat moss and more perlite, so it is a lighter mix and suitable for containers. Be sure that your drainage hole is open by raising it a bit off the ground. This is especially important in winter because pooled water will freeze and crack the pot.

Fill your pot about 3/4 full before adding your plants. Loosen the roots slightly and press in. Add extra soil as needed and water lightly. Here is her gorgeous final product!

Candice also answered some questions.

  • Fertilizing: Orgunique Tropical fertilizer is a good choice, as it has kelp in it. Osmocote is a controlled-release fertilizer. 20/20/20 is an all-purpose fertilizer for sunnier weather, but don’t fertilize in cool winter months.
  • Mildew on begonias: many products for this have been taken off the market. Copper spray and sulphur may be used but NOT on African violets or streptocarpus!
  • Plastic liners for Coconut fibre baskets: These are not really necessary as the fibre does retain some moisture. An exception may be south facing areas.

Thank you SO much, Candice, for your delightful presentation!  Your exuberance was infectious and we definitely were inspired to get creative with our own containers!

Candice Ferguson Speaker Bio. (by Melanie G.)

Candice graduated from Kwantlen University with a diploma in Horticulture Systems and Design in 2017. She works at Amsterdam Garden Centre in the perennial department and nursery, and creates the majority of their lovely Fall, Winter and Spring planters, and other seasonal creations.

Related Links

Container Growing – THE GARDEN WEBSITE.COM

10 Container Garden Tips for Beginners (

Container Gardening Ideas and Tips (

8 Best Flowering Container Garden Plants for Sunny Areas (

100+ Plants for Containers – BCLiving

10 Best Plants for Container Gardening — The Family Handyman

21 Best Container Plants For Pots Outdoors – Get Busy Gardening


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