Yearning for petunias in Tucson or cactus in Chicago? Even if you have limited outdoor space you can still create a wonderful container garden. Growing plants in tubs, clay pots, wooden planters and hanging baskets can add country charm in the heart of the city!
Planting in containers is a very flexible and individual way to garden, no matter how limited your space. A container garden allows you to experiment in ways that you might not be able to in a conventional garden. Don’t be too bound by the traditional rules of gardening. If you like it, then plant it! You’re the only person you have to please. The only “rule” to container gardening is to put plants that have the same requirements of light, water and fertilizer together, either in the same pot or side-by-side in individual containers.
The principal challenge with container gardening is water. Soil in planters dries out quickly and, in hot, sunny weather, you may have to water plants twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening. Make sure all of your containers have adequate drainage holes so that water can drain properly. And, remember, if you have any questions about placement or care of your container garden plants, justask at the garden center where you’re making your purchases. They’re always glad to help!
Working With Annuals. The easiest plants to grow in containers are annuals. These bright, cheerful flowers last for an entire growing season. Many annuals can be started from seed in your planter or you can simply buy young or grown plants.
Working With Perennials. Although perennials can thrive during their short growing season, they have some disadvantages as plants to use in container gardens. First of all, most flower for a few weeks and then they are finished. Unless you choose perennials for their foliage, you won’t get much visual enjoyment out of them for much of the summer. Secondly, in colder climates, these plants will survive only if you cover them well with mulch, protect them in a shed or garage whose interior temperature is neither too cold nor too warm. Some plants will even need to be brought indoors in late fall when frost is an issue. Perennials can work in your container garden as long as you understand their limitations.
Some Basic Rules of Container Gardening:
Fill small pots on a table or potting bench. Alternatively, since large planters will become very heavy when filled, put them in the spot where they will ultimately inhabit before you begin. A good potting soil holds moisture but is well-aerated, drains freely and contains plenty of nutrients. It’s inadvisable to use ordinary garden soil because it’s usually too heavy for good drainage and may contain impurities. If you want healthy plants, get the best soil you can buy!
Plants in containers dry out quickly so don’t forget to water frequently. The water, in turn, leaches out nutrients, so you must feed the plants regularly. Two popular types of fertilizer are water-soluble and slow-release fertilizers. Check to see what fertilizer mix is best for your container garden plants and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.
When it comes to choosing which planters will work best in your container garden, pick planters which appeal to your eye as well as your life style. Each material commonly used in planters has a unique style as well as specific benefits. For instance: wooden planters are a popular choice due to their natural, warm look. They retain water well and do well in cold weather climates. Wood planters are made of thick, moisture-resistant woods like red or white cedar , oak, teak, and treated pine. Metal planters have a classy, contemporary look, are extremely durable and come in a variety of eye-catching colors.
Container gardens have been around since the dawn of civilization — even Cleopatra had pots of roses on her royal barge! They have been popular forever for two reasons: they can be easily moved to follow the seasons and they have tremendous impact. Any living space is made more beautiful by a container garden and we have lots of beautiful containers at Fifthroom.com!