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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Southwest: Whiskey Barrel Planting Tips

Lynn Coulter
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 flowers in garden barrel

For instant color in your Southwest garden, plant a whiskey barrel with flowers, or fill it with fresh, nutritious herbs, fruits and veggies. It’s easy with advice from our Muddy Boots reporters, like Home Depot store associate Gail, in California.  

Gail likes to incorporate a butterfly or hummingbird plant in her flower plantings, since a lot of wildlife visits her yard. “I also usually plant ladybug-friendly plants in with my vegetables,” she says. The harmless ladybugs eat destructive pests, so she can avoid using pesticides in her garden and containers, or at least use fewer pesticide products. Want to attract your own ladybugs? Gail recommends herbs like chamomile and dill.

When you’re ready to plant, check to see whether your barrel will get sun or shade, and choose plants that have similar light and watering requirements. Gail cautions “Don’t use steer manure or ordinary planting soil in your garden barrel. Use potting soil instead.” Your plants will grow much better if you use bags of prepared potting mix, like the 32-quart bags of Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix.

Gail’s picks for planting a garden barrel in a sunny spot:

  • Salvia
    “This is a perennial that hummingbirds visit. It bears lot of blooms, even in the heat of the summer.”
  • Marigolds
  • Sweet alyssum
    This pretty plant is a “spiller,” which means that its long stems will spill beautifully over the sides of your barrel.
  • Ivy geraniums
  • Martha Washington geraniums
  • Vinca

For a garden barrel located in the shade: 

  • Ferns
  • Hostas
  • Impatiens
  • Coleus
  • Begonias
  • Bacopa

 If you prefer, use your barrel as a mini-vegetable patch. Gail recommends planting a tomato, pepper, artichoke, or eggplant in the center. “Plant oregano, basil, thyme, carrots, onions, and chamomile around the sides of barrel,” she suggests. Use your imagination, and you’ll find many other tasty and/or beautiful combinations to enjoy throughout the summer.   

Image: Whytock/Shutterstock





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