HGTV Has The Perfect Container Garden Combo For Extra Color This Spring

When you're gardening in containers and other small spaces, it can be hard to decide how best to use your limited space. Thanks to the fast-growing trend of edimental gardening that emphasizes choosing plants that are both edible and ornamental, you don't have to choose between growing practical and delicious food and beautiful decorative flowers. When talking to HGTV, landscape designer Kate David suggested the brilliant combination of snow peas, baby lettuce, and violas for creating a spring container garden that's as tasty as it is beautiful. "It's the perfect marriage of beauty and function," she said

The term edimental was coined and popularized by Stephen Barstow in his 2014 book "Around the World in 80 Plants." By combining plants that both taste good and look beautiful, gardeners can create elegant container arrangements full of homegrown produce. These combinations require using plants that don't just look good together but can also grow well in the same space. Kate David's recommendation of snow peas, baby lettuce, and violas is perfect for edimental containers in part because the three plants have similar needs.

How to grow snow peas, lettuce, and violas

Snow peas, lettuce, and violas are all cool season plants that can survive light frosts, which makes them perfect for spring containers. All three plants thrive in temperatures in the 60s Fahrenheit but quickly stop producing and often die once temperatures pass the mid-80s. In addition to their similar temperature needs, they also all grow well in well-draining soil with plenty of organic material and a neutral to slightly acidic pH. Be careful not to overfertilize your container as violas are vulnerable to injury from excess fertilizer.

When looking for the best spot for your container garden, pick a full-sun location, at least for the cooler parts of spring. While both violas and lettuce can handle part shade well, peas may not produce if they don't get enough light. Moving the container into a part shade area once temperatures rise into the 80s Fahrenheit may help you get a few more weeks out of your lettuce and violas.

Using snow peas, lettuce, and violas in a container and in the kitchen

While part of the reason that snow peas, lettuce, and violas work so well together in a container is because of their love of similar growing conditions, part of it is because of how beautiful they look together. The plants perfectly fill the roles of thriller, filler, and spiller that make up the classic container garden formula. The snow peas can climb a small trellis or other structure in the center of the container, creating the perfect tall thriller element, while the violas spill over the side of the container, and the lettuce fills in the middle space. Different snow pea cultivars can reach different heights, so pick one that will work well in your space.

Don't be afraid to harvest from your container as violas, peas, and lettuce are all cut and come again plants that will produce more in response to harvesting. With just the produce of those three plants, you can create fresh and elegant salads. Don't forget that the tendrils of pea plants are also edible and delicious. The fun doesn't have to stop with salads either, as viola flowers are also sophisticated additions to cocktails and other drinks.