You’re starting to work on your garden but you feel like a newbie about container gardening. Look no further! If you’re an experienced gardener looking for a quick refresher, check in. Here is your concise guide to container gardening, courtesy of City Floral Garden Center!
Maybe you don’t have a yard or you have limited space. Perhaps you just love the style of plants in containers. Container gardening gives any space — big or small, inside or outside — a boost of interest and practicality. Working with pots can be less work than preparing and planting beds in the ground. This is ideal for busy or beginner gardeners.
Here are few of benefits of container gardening:
- Containers can be anywhere — on your stoop, patio, deck or balcony. Use them for focal points in flower beds. Hang them from the fence or set them on a window ledge. Bring some indoors for color and accents. You can even hang some from a tree. Just remember you will need to water your containers often. Be sure you can reach them when they’re thirsty.
- You can control “monsters”, like mint. Mint is so vigorous that unrestrained it will attempt to take over the rest of your garden. If you grow it in a pot, you can tame it to be always the right size.
- The limited size and surface area means container gardens require less maintenance. No hoeing or hours of weeding necessary. If a few weeds that do show up they are easy to remove. But you will need time to water often. Plan for it!
- Container gardens are portable. If the weather is expected to take a turn for the worst, move your potted plants to a safe location. At the end of the summer, some of your plants may be happy to winter indoors. Empty and replant other containers to create interior landscaping with green or blooming houseplants.
- Container gardens are easy to change. Create a Mediterranean theme with in terra cotta pots and succulents. Go rustic by repurposing a watering can or bucket with country flowers. Get urban with black containers and all-white flowers. Change your mind? Change your plants! Or your containers. Whatever you choose will contribute to your personal style, so have fun with it!
Here are some container gardening steps to get you started:
- Choose your containers and your theme, if you plan to follow one.
- Fill your container with quality soil. If you’re going to save money working with potted plants, the savings comes from needing fewer tools and from choosing cheaper or repurposed containers. But it’s crucial not to skimp on soil quality. Good potting soil is the foundation of your plants’ performance!
- Choose the right plants for your space. Think of where you want to keep your container garden. The amount of sunlight will determine your plant selections. Bright sunny areas will be best for flowers and vegetables. Shadier areas are great for begonias, impatiens, hostas and leafy tropicals. Moisture requirements are another factor in your selections. Plant varieties that prefer to be on the dry side, like succulents or xeric plants, in one container and plants that must be moister, like fuchsias, in another container.
- Determine your focus. You do have limited space. Decide how many containers you need and where you will place them. While you can grow both annuals and vegetables in containers, you may want to concentrate on one or the other. Use annuals to brighten up a space with vibrant color. The brand “Proven Winners” supplies gardeners with recipes for pots using plants that thrive in containers. For the greatest success with vegetables select varieties that are specifically for container gardens, such as hybridized patio tomatoes, patio raspberries, and many others.
- Make sure your container is the right size for your plant – not too big or too small. The right size will provide visual balance, but more important is the right soil volume for the plant to grow healthy roots. Remember if the container is too small it will be difficult to keep it properly watered.
- Fertilize regularly for healthy plants and bountiful bloom. For convenience use a long-term slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote. Apply once at the beginning of the season; it will dissolve slowly to feed the plants for months. If you like puttering with your plants, you may prefer to apply a water-soluble fertilizer like Miracle-Gro with each watering.
Wondering when to plant your container? Working with containers gives you flexibility in timing the actual planting. Be sure you consider factors such as growing conditions and the ease with which you can relocate your pots when bad weather strikes and seasons change. Plants that are described as “tender”, like impatiens or tomatoes, need warmer night temperatures. Wait until mid-May or later before you leave these out at night, even if the days are warm. If you need any further tips or advice, make sure to come into City Floral Garden Center to ask our knowledgeable staff! We’re here and ready to help you create a container garden that will make you proud!