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Container Gardening

The Benefits of Container Gardening - Ease, Space, Design

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Container gardening is an excellent way to grow flowers and vegetables, especially for people who love to garden but don’t have the room. Any patio, deck, or balcony can be brightened with flowers in containers and they extend a warm welcome to all that come to visit.

Colorful pots can also be placed among groundcovers under trees, for color in a situation where trying to grow flowers in the ground would be impossible. Hanging baskets of flowers can be casually strewn in trees, suspended by nylon rope or chain, or hung from the roof of your porch or balcony. By growing plants in containers, you can bring color into the areas where you spend the most time outside – instead of “way out there” in the garden! 

Signature Container Gardens

Let us do the dirty work! We can create beautiful, lush container gardens that compliment any outdoor living space. Click here to learn more about our container gardening design services.

Container Gardening Basics

Add Thrillers

AngeloniaSerenaPurpleBegin with the tallest plant in the container. This is going to be your "statement" plant - the one that is your center of interest. This is typically something big and bold: plants 18" and up. Typically, you would want to plant this in the center of your container so you can build other plants around it.  However, if you have a container that is up against a wall, you could place your thriller towards the back of the container.

Our suggestions include Cana, Angelonia, Grasses and Dracaena.

Add Fillers

Fill around the thriller–adding foliage or flowering plants that will complement, but not compete with the thriller. Use a mid-size plant 6" – 12." pink-petunias-mary-hurstMake sure you choose fillers that have the ability to spread but don't get too tall.  Also be sure to leave some room between your fillers to allow them to spread.

Our suggestions includes Petunias, Gerber Daisies, Lantana and Nemesia.

Add Spillers

Finally, place trailing plants around the outer edges of the container. This creates a spilling over the edge appearance. Million Bells pinkThe spillers are meant to be more of an accent plant rather than something that completely engolfs the side of the container.  Add a few spillers sparing inbetween your fillers.

Our suggestions include Bacopa, Million Bells, Potato Vine and Verbena.

What Makes Container Gardening Fun

Container is Easy

Cute-Miniature-Cactus-Dish-Garden-In-PotteryThink you're a plant killer, or haven’t ever tried to garden? Container gardening is a great place to start. Even a complete novice can create a spectacular container garden in very little time. All you really need to get started is a container, some potting soil and either seeds or plants.

Garden in Any Space

Even the smallest space can be enhanced by a container garden. We have seen beautiful flowers and vegetable gardens grown on fire escapes and stoops. Whatever space limitations you have, you can design a container garden that will thrive. No sun? A terra cotta pot filled with different colored coleus can make you want to sing. Too much sun? Fill a basket with succulents to make a beautiful garden that will largely take care of itself.

Kids Love Container Gardening

Container Garden TomatoesMost kids don't like their vegetables. If you have them pick fresh veggies in a container garden, could eat them right off the vine. Carrots take on new meaning when the kids see them growing on the deck and can eat them when they were tiny and sweet. Kids love the success that container gardens give them, and they take pride, at a very young age, in growing something their family can eat.

Grow Almost Anything

You'd be surprised what you can grow in containers. In fact, many well-known seed manufactures will tell you what you can grow in a container. As far as flowers go, you can grow almost any annual, perennial, or bulbous plant in a container. For vegetables and fruit, as long as you have the right size container, you can grow almost anything - even corn! This makes it possible for you to grow an entirely lineup of flowers, fruits and veggies - even if you have a very limited space.

10 Tips for Sucessful Container Gardening

1. Place before you fill

Ever tried to lift a large container garden filled with dirt and plants? When using a large or bulky container, make sure to place the pot where it will live and then fill it – you’ll save your back! For exceptionally large pots, we suggest filling the pot halfway up with a bark or coarse-ground mulch before adding your soil. Not only will this lighten the pot but it will provide adequate drainage for your plants.

2. Overwatering

Containers WateringTo avoid over-watering your container gardens, use containers that have drainage holes – lots of them. Also, make sure to read the moisture requirements for your plants and then follow them. Before you water, check if your soil is moist. To do this put your finger into the soil up to your second knuckle. If the soil at your fingertip feels dry, water your plant.

3. Underwatering

Most container gardens need watering at least once a day in the heat of the summer. Many, especially hanging planters or small containers, need watering even more often because there is less soil to hold moisture. When you water, make sure to really soak your plants – if you just give them a sip, the water will only wet the top layer of soil. Water until you see it coming out of the bottom of your pot. You could even implement an irrigation system for your containers to provide them with adequate water.

4. Plant-to-pot ratio

Make sure to consider the proportions of your plants to your container. A large container stuffed with short plants can look stunted. If you need a rule of thumb try to have at least one plant that is as tall as the container and have plants that will spill over the sides. 

5. Buy healthy-looking plants

Buying plants at a reputable local nursery is a good place to start in your quest for healthy plants. You have a greater chance of getting plants that are disease and pest free and well cared for than at a big box store. At a nursery, you can often get a wealth of information and advice from knowledgeable staff. Don't be afraid to ask someone to help you pick out a good plant.

6. Prune when necessary

When your container gardens start looking leggy or ragged, don’t be afraid to cut them back.

7. Coordinate your plants

Make sure that all the plants in your container garden share the same sun, soil and water requirements. You can find out this information from your seed packets or plant labels.

8. Feed your plants:

Very few potting soils have the nutrients that plants require to grow and be healthy. Make sure you add those nutrients to the soil. There are many fertilizers to choose from and flowering plants have different needs than vegetables and herbs. Ask one of our garden experts for feeding advice.

9. Part with the deceased

dying-plantAfter you’ve tried everything, short of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and your plant still looks dreadful, cut your losses and toss it on the compost pile or in the trash. If only one plant in your container garden is icky, just pull out that plant and replace it.

10. Be realistic

Before you make your container gardens, evaluate how you live. Do you travel a lot during the summer? Are you casual or formal? Remember that container gardens require just as much attention (if not more) than traditional gardens so be sure to evaluate everything before you get started. A well-thought-out plan will make for an excellent container garden you can enjoy all summer long!


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