Container Gardening

Container gardening is an easy way to design a garden without putting plants in the ground.

First, use your imagination to see what your area could be. Then, get some pots and make the garden your own.

You can design spectacular ornamental planting arrangements for your patio or deck.

You can even plant a tree in a pot if you need moveable shade.

How about a tomato plant by your back door? Picking tomatoes for a snack is a summer treat.

Or a potted herb garden? You could have fresh herbs for your culinary explorations all year long.

A container garden might be the answer for you if you are restricted with space, sunlight or water. Here’s why:

  • Containers come in various sizes and materials. Consequently, there is at least one that will fit into your space.
  • Container gardens are portable; move them to be with the sun or shade as they progress.
  • You can take the water to the garden with a watering can or hose.

Container gardening is an easy way to grow plants. Let’s talk about some things you’ll need to know before you start designing your container gardens. Let’s explore container gardening together. We’ll talk about:

  • How to choose a container
  • Selecting plants
  • Planting container guidelines

. . .

Choosing a Container or Pot

When deciding on a container for your garden, there are many things for you to consider, including a budget, style, space, and intended use.

Containers are all different in their weight, appearance, and durability with weather changes and frost.

Readily available materials for containers include terracotta, lightweight resin, wood, concrete, metal, galvanized, plastic foam, and repurposed containers.

  • Terracotta pots are the ordinary pots you see everywhere. They are inexpensive and versatile to use. The only real downside is that they will not withstand freezing and will crack.
  • Wood planters include half wine barrels. Don’t use treated wood for food gardening. Choose sturdy lumber like cedar, which will last for years. You can choose to coat the wood with waterproofing paint.
  • Similarly, concrete planters will last for years and can withstand any kind of weather. Extremely heavy when filled, they will be challenging to move. Choose your spot carefully! Make sure you’ll love the container garden there for years to come.
  • Metal planters are durable and come in assorted colors (copper, silver, etc.). Galvanized metal tubs and buckets also make fun planters. Beware: metal gets warm! Consider lining the planter with landscape material to help keep the plants from getting too hot.
  • Plastic or polyurethane foam planters are inexpensive and made to look like the more spendy planters. They won’t last forever but can be used to display plants without breaking the bank.
  • Repurposed containers can be made into rustic planters. Recycle what you have lying around. Think birdbaths, buckets, baskets, bathtubs. I’ve even seen toilets being used as planters! Wow, talk about lack of privacy!

. . .

Plants to Pot Size Guidance

Don’t crowd your planters. If too many plants are in one pot, they could become stunted and not grow well.

Here’s some plants-to-pot-size guidance you might want to consider:

  • 10”-12” pot can accommodate 3-6 plants
  • 14”-16” container can house 4-8 plants
  • 16”-20” pot can hold 6-12 plants

. . .

Selecting Plants

Deciding on the plants for your container garden is the fun part of the project. Do you want to grow veggies, a tree, or perhaps add a bit of color to your patio? You get to choose! Your plant choices are entirely up to you.

Proven Winners has a fun rule of thumb to remember when selecting ornamental plants: have a “thriller, filler and spiller” for your containers.

  • “Thrillers” are plants with upright growing habits that will add height and drama to the planter. They are usually planted in the center of the container and will tower over everything else in the pot.
  • “Fillers” are plants that are round or mounded. Use them to make the planter look full. Plant them around the thriller, almost out to the edge of the pot.
  • “Spillers” are trailing plants that will hang over the edge of the planter. Plant them at the edge of the pot.

. . .

Planting your Containers

  • First of all, lining the bottom of the container with rocks will promote drainage. Then before adding the soil to the container. You can also recycle those Styrofoam packing peanuts for the bottom layer.
  • First things first: always use potting soil rather than garden soil. Potting soil is made for planters, while garden soil is too heavy and will become compact. Potting soil will drain well and help retain moisture in the pot.
  • Pots will dry out more quickly than in-ground gardens. Hence, they will need more water. Water your pots early in the morning or evening. Remember, it’s time to water when the soil is dry to about an inch down.

. . .

Your Container Garden is Complete!

Okay! You’ve chosen your containers and filled them with potting soil and plants. You followed the “thriller, filler, spiller” rule of thumb. You’ve put the container gardens where you will be able to enjoy them.

Want to plant vegetable container gardens too? Read this post!

Now, get outside and enjoy summer!


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