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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Growing Together: A twist of lime makes your summer garden pop
Yellow potato vine is one of the most popular cascading plants for containers, best used in larger containers. JOANNE YOUNG

It is that time of year when we start to move out onto our patios to enjoy the great outdoors.

Our minds turn to hosting barbeques with friends and family with great-tasting food.

Any favourite recipe, whether you have something on the grill, or your best salad or preferred drink is always enhanced with a twist of lime.

Using lime will add a brightness to a dish, bringing out colours and flavours.

So, what does this have to do with gardening?

I was reminded this week, as I was putting together several pots of annuals, that adding in plants with lime or chartreuse foliage will always enhance your container combinations.

In a shadier location lime-coloured plants will brighten and lighten a darker space.

Adding plants with chartreuse foliage will also helps to make all the other colours stand out stronger – the purple will be more purple, the reds more vibrant etc. 

Lemony lime colours will make the summer garden pop.

It is so refreshing to walk into a garden where there are lime coloured accents placed around the garden.

Here are some are some plants that will give your container plantings a boost with a twist of lime.

Part shade: three to five hours of sun


Coleus is one of the tried-and-tested annuals for a part shade location.

There have always been varieties with many colour combinations, but now there are even more choices then ever — from pure lime colour to every combination possible.  

Now, there are even dwarf varieties with very fine textured leaves.  

Coleus is the workhorse of containers for part shade.

Golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’)

Golden creeping Jenny is a great trailing plant for part shade to full sun. 

Like most plants with coloured foliage, it will lose some of its colour in a heavier shade.

Golden creeping Jenny is actually a perennial groundcover but works well in containers.

Its leaf has a finer texture that will contrast nicely with larger flowers or leaves.


There is no reason why you cannot include perennials into your container plantings.

Hostas are a great choice for a part shade to shade location.

The large leaves of the hosta make it a good focal point. 

They also can look impressive grown on its own as a solitary plant.

There are so many different varieties to choose from, but some that stand out for their lime colour are “August Moon,” “Sum & Substance,” “Fire Island,” and Shadowland’s “Coast To Coast.”

Lime coralbells (Heuchera)

Another perennial that does well in in a pot in a part shade location is lime coralbells.  

The large, rounded, ruffled leaves also add a textual element to your plant collection. 

When paired with a bright-coloured impatiens or begonias, you have an automatic winning combination.

Variegated English ivy (Hedera)

Variegated English ivy will grow successfully in shade to full sun.  

In a container, it will spill over the rim of the container. 

It can also be trained on a trellis, obelisk or other framework to make a topiary form.

Full sun: six plus hours of sun


Low-growing sedums are a great choice for pots in full sun as they will tolerate a hot and dry situation. 

Lime colour varieties such as Angelina and lemon ball sedum have very fine leaves and will trail over the edge of the container. 

Sedum works well in a succulent planter as well.

Limelight licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare ‘Limelight’)

Limelight licorice plant does best in full sun but will tolerate a light shade. 

This trailing annual can be used in containers, hanging baskets and window boxes. 

Its bright lemon-yellow foliage will brighten any arrangement.

Jewels-of-Opar (Talinum paniculatum)

Jewels-of-Opar is a little-known annual with bright chartreuse leaves. 

The leaves grow to be about fourteen inches tall with the flower stems extending to 20 inches tall. 

The plant in mainly grown for its foliage but does produce tall stalks of tiny pink flowers.

Lime potato vine (Ipomoea batatas)

Lime potato vine is one of the most popular cascading plants for containers. 

Its large, heart-shaped leaves fill in quickly. 

Best used in larger containers as it can be overwhelming in a small pot.

As you are planting up your containers, don’t forget that a twist of lime makes everything better.

Joanne Young is a Niagara-on-the-Lake garden expert and coach. See her website at joanneyoung.ca.

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