Welcome visitors with mailbox garden

Published 1:09 pm Monday, August 7, 2023

By Eddie Smith
MSU Extension Service

I think a mailbox garden is a great way to welcome visitors to your home. Since it stands out at the road, it is a nice way to add beauty even before you get to the house.

My friend Tim has a mailbox garden that he started in 2011. Over the years, he has transformed it into a beautiful garden with multiple layers of interest.

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The first plant you might notice are the black-eyed Susans, with their bright yellow flowers and black centers. These plants really show out in the heat of summer. They bloom all the way up to first frost. Keep them blooming strong by making sure they are well-watered during periods of drought. Remove dead flowerheads – a process called deadheading – to encourage more blooms.

Bravado purple coneflowers have become a mainstay in Tim’s mailbox garden. These plants have 2- to 4-inch blooms of bright purple petals with dark center cones and orange highlights. Bravado is one of the hardiest selections of coneflowers and can stand our hot summers.
Being a perennial, once it is established, it will come back every year in the spring.

This year, Tim added red and orange coneflowers along with white pentas that stand out against the dark green foliage. The pentas’ white flower clusters provide a nice color break between the yellow, orange and red flowers in the mailbox garden.

Pentas are also a good choice for a mailbox garden because these annual plants produce flowers that are a rich source of nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds.

Another addition to the garden this year was a rudbeckia variety with 4-inch-wide flowers in warm, festive shades of gold, orange and mahogany. Once established, this plant will produce beautiful flowers for many years to come.

In this mailbox garden, I love the low-growing plants that sprawl all around the landscape bed. Purple heart has been a solid performer over the years. It has dark purple foliage and pink flowers.

Ornamental peppers add color and interest to the garden and look great tucked behind the purple hearts.

At the front of the garden is purslane, a tough summer plant that thrives in our Mississippi heat and reseeds itself every year. Purslane forms a dense mat and is covered with flowers.

Around the mailbox post are some Stokes’ asters with their unique, purple flowers. A clump of banana plants anchors the end of the bed, and the dark red flowers of a hardy hibiscus certainly add interest to the mailbox planting. Tim filled in any remaining spaces with celosia, liatris and other plants to add even more visual interest.

All the plants in Tim’s mailbox garden are on my favorites list, but at the top of the list is the Black and Bloom salvia. I love its deep purplish-blue flowers on dark black stems.

If you’re looking for a new project or have an uninspiring mailbox, try using some of these plants to create a beautiful mailbox planting of your own.