Planter Box…What To Fill It With?

As part of the patio “make over” we had a planter box built on top of a cement retaining wall.  The goal is to grow some type of hanging, trailing, meandering vine that will hide the wall over time.

We initially tried sweet potato vines at the base of the wall, but due to the wall’s orientation we could not make those darn things grow.  The soil in front of the wall is fairly shallow combined with limited natural light, the sweet potato vines were sorta doomed from the start  I think.

So now we have ripped them out and are back at square one.  After doing some research, I think we have settled on a few different options:

Parrot's Beak//Lotus berthelotii

Spanish Shawl//Heterocentronelegans

Silver Falls//Dichondra

Photo Credit: Davesgarden.com

Aptenia Cordifolia

Each of the plants according to the nursery as well as the online gardening blogs do well in part sun/part shade, need only about 8-12 inches of soil to fully blossom and are drought tolerant once established.

While I love the orange flowers and unique leaves of the Parrot’s Beak, I am concerned that it may not be as hardy as they nursery makes it out to be.  In addition, the Spanish Shawl has a drop of about 2-3 feet which would leave about 3 feet of exposed wall and covering the concrete is a major reason we installed the planter box.

So that brings me to the Aptenia Cordifolia and the Silver Falls.  To be upfront, I already own both of these plants and love each for different reasons.  The Silver Falls is currently in the pots at the front of the house and provides a beautiful silvery green cascade of foliage down one of the pots.  However, the vines are a tad too delicate for my liking.  On several occasions I have snagged my bag on them and broken off segments.  Considering that the planter box is next to a high traffic area, I am concerned that the vines won’t stand up to be being constantly brushed against.

That leaves us with the Aptenia Cordifolia which is actually a ground cover but can be used in hanging pots and planters.  In the same family as succulents, the vines are a bright green with pink flowers during the summer months.  It trails up to 4 feet and the vines are thick and sturdy.  An added bonus is that it propagates through cuttings.  Therefore, if a section dies, I can simply cut a piece off and replant it…. so it’s the plant that keeps giving!

And oh being the cheap wad I can be at times, Home Depot sells flats of the Aptenia for $13 while all the other plants are sold for about $4-$5 a pot.  If my calculations are correct, I would only need 2 flats to fill the planter while I would need about 8-12 pots for the others.

With all this being said, it seems like I have a front-runner with the Aptenia Cordifolia.  What do you all think?  Any suggestions for trailing vines? Any of you have these plants in your own yard?  Leave a comment and tell me your experiences or thoughts!

3 thoughts on “Planter Box…What To Fill It With?

  1. Why don’t you try the aptenia, but just do about half the space. You can then start a year long search for the perfect thing. I have some English ivy that grows down and covers a stone wall. It is next to impossible to kill and makes it through extremes of weather. Since you live in a drought type area, why don’t you look into xero-? scaping? You might find something like an air plant that lives on very little water. For many, many years I had a hops vine that was indestructible. The leaves were a nice medium size with some texture. It seems to have disappeared when they replaced the fence. I am going to try to plant that again. We had years of drought and several years of tons of snow, didn’t hurt it. I would also try your local State Extension office. They would know what vines would grow the best in your area and where to get them. Ann

  2. Pingback: Planter Box Update | Courtney Out Loud

  3. Pingback: Tinospora cordifolia | Find Me A Cure

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