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Thursday, February 21, 2013


Flowers cascade down this beautiful crooked flower tower of annuals.

Searching for something to give the garden a bit of pizazz? Look no further than this crooked terra cotta flower tower. Annual flowers cascade over the sides of each pot like a flowing waterfall. It’s simple to make, gives a vertical burst of color, and can be used over and over again each year.
Supplies Needed
  • 5 standard terra cotta pots in the following sizes: 14”, 12”, 10”, 8”, and 6”
  • A 2-cubic-foot bag of potting soil
  • One 48” rebar rod or 48” metal electric tube
  • 15-20 annual plants
The semi-straight rod in the ground.
This tower is meant to be in the garden, flower towers can be made for patios or decks, but this tilted version cannot since this tower is stabilized by the metal rod in the ground. So, start off by hammering the rod at least 6 inches into the soil at the location you want to place your tower. Once it’s in deep enough, give it a little wiggle to make sure it seems sturdy. A little give is fine, but if the rod pops right out of the ground it needs to be placed deeper so that your tower won’t topple over at the slightest gust of wind.
Note that the rod is straight, but the pot is tilted.  That is because of the trench that was dug into the ground.
Note that the rod is straight, but the pot is tilted. That is because of the trench that was dug into the ground.
To give the tower a crooked look, a small trench needs to be dug into the ground so that the first pot will lean to one side. It only needs to be about 3 inches deep and 8 inches long. Once your trench is dug, you can thread the largest pot on the metal rod and position it to be crooked. This may take a bit of trial and error to get the right look. If the terra cotta pot doesn’t seem sturdy or isn’t leaning enough remove it from the rod and dig the trench a bit more. It should look like the pot is partially buried in the ground.
Voila!  A crooked flower tower!
Voila! A crooked flower tower!
Next fill the pot up with potting soil, and angle it in the pot toward the opposite side the first is on. This will let the next pot tilt. Then thread the second pot on the rod. This is actually much easier said than done, a metal rod is not pliable at all. So, to get the terra cotta pots to appear crooked they need to be angled just right. Honestly, it does take more trial and error.
Once the second pot is in position, repeat the process until all of the terra cotta pots are threaded onto the metal rod. Once all 5 terra cotta pots are on the rod and filled with soil, the tower is constructed. All that is left is to fill it with beautiful flowers. One of the advantages of tilting the pot at an angle is that each pot is pushed to one side of the pot below it. This gives more planting space, and opens up the varieties of flowers you can used as opposed to the traditional terra cotta flower tower.
This brightly colored accent annual gives an added punch of green to the pot.
The possibilities of annual flowers you use in the crooked tower are endless. However, you may want to keep these few simple rules in mind:
  • Flowing and cascading annuals work best. They will give the tower the look that the flowers are pouring out of your tilted pots.
  • If you need help selecting, look at my suggestions for annuals to use in “How To Make a Terra Cotta Flower Tower”. Also, a simple rule of thumb, if it’s in a hanging basket in the nursery or garden center, it is a good selection. Honestly, just look up, down, and all around your local garden center, they will have the best selections for your zone.
  • Consider adding “accent” annuals. These are annuals such as Sweet Potato vine or ivy. They don’t flower, but most cascade providing a dramatic affect when used in containers.
  • Tall upright flowers such as sunflowers won’t work.
  • Keep in mind the location of the tower when selecting the flowers. The basic rules of gardening still apply with this project. Sun plants need sun to grow well, and shade plants thrive in the shade.
  • The best flowers should have a bloom of one to two inches. Anything much bigger will not give that wow affect.
  • Flowers in containers need a lot of water. They dry out very quickly in the hot summer months. I recommend adding a product like Soil Moist to prolong times between watering.
Freshly planted calibrachoa.  They have the look of mini petunias, except they cascade in any container they are planted in.
Now that the tower is built and the flowers are purchased, the final step is to plant them. Starting with the lower pot, take each flower out of its container and tease the roots before digging a hole placing it in the pot. Don’t really worry about plant spacing. The plants can be jammed pretty tightly together. Alternate the colors or flowers along the way to achieve the desired that you want.
Once all of the flowers are planted, the tower needs a good dose of water. Water it all, including the pots. If you don’t water the pots too, the clay will absorb most of the water and leave very little water for the plants. A general rule of thumb when watering any container plant with good drainage is it to water it, step away from it for a few minutes. Then water it again. This lets the water soak in, and any run off occur before you really water it.
The vibrant colors of the calibrachoa used in this tower even attracts butterflies to your garden.
The vibrant colors of the calibrachoa used in this tower even attracts butterflies to your garden.
To keep your flower tower looking great all summer long, the crooked flower tower will need to be watered daily and fertilized bi-weekly with an all-purpose fertilizer
Each year the pots can be reused, but since annuals were used the flowers will need to be replanted. By selecting different flowers or colors each year you can drastically change the look of this unique container garden.

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