Southeast: Whiskey Barrel Planting Tips

Lynn Coulter
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garden barrel flowers

For instant color in your Southeastern garden, plant a whiskey barrel with flowers, or fill it with herbs and veggies. It’s easy with advice from our Muddy Boots reporters, like Home Depot associate Lakisha in Georgia.

Lakisha recommends growing succulents in your garden barrel if you’re a gardener who doesn’t want a lot of upkeep. These tough little plants will do fine in a sunny location, and you won’t need to water them until the soil feels dry to the touch. 

Although Muddy Boots reporter Kelly is based in the Midwest, she’s got great tips for plants to use in your Southern garden barrel, too. If you’re a cook (or you like to eat, and that includes all of us), she recommends planting a barrel with a “food focus.”   

“Plant Purple Basil in a ring around a purple spray-painted tomato cage with either an eggplant (try ‘Ichiban’) or a purple tomato. ‘Cherokee Purple’ or ‘Purple Prince’ are great tomato heirloom options,” she says.

Another possibility: “Grow a barrel of mint! Choose from chocolate, orange, grapefruit, spearmint, peppermint, or sweet mint. Try mixing in some Gerbera daisies for a very child friendly mini-garden with lots of scents, tastes, colors and textures.”

She also likes planting dill or another tall herb, like cilantro or parsley, in the center of a barrel and adding a ring of strawberries around it. “Then plant trailing verbena for color.”

‘Wave’ petunias, which produce abundant blooms on long stems, are another great choice. “Plant them around a tomato in a matching color, and use a matching, brightly-colored tomato cage. (You can spray paint a cage, if you can’t find the color you want.) Tomato varieties to try include ‘Pink Brandywine’, ‘Lemon Boy’, ‘Cherokee Purple’, ‘Orange King’, ‘Mr. Stripey,’ or ‘Big Boy.’”

Kelly says you can spice up your garden barrel when you plant a salsa garden. “Center a cherry tomato with a bright trellis, and add 3 pepper plants around the outside. Try jalapenos, banana peppers, snacking bell peppers or habaneros, and mix in white onions for ‘salsa in a barrel.’ Replant more onions throughout the year as you eat them.”

 Image: Shutterstock/Jo Ann Snover

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