Containers are an easy way to splash color on your deck, patio, walkway or existing beds this summer.
Container Know How
We’ll share some important tips, however our best advice is:
Be bold! Just dive in
and if something doesn’t work out….replace it!
Potting Up Your Pots
Pro Tip #1 – Don’t use broken pottery pieces or gravel to cover the hole. Yes, it’s necessary to keep the soil from seeping out but use porous landscape fabric or a double layer of coffee filters over the drainage hole. Water does not move easily from a soil medium into a coarser material.
Secret #2 – Purchase soil-less potting soil. Yes, it may say potting soil, but make sure it’s the soil-less mix that’s lighter, drains easily and flowers have an easier time to root.
Secret #3 – Since the soil-less mixes are quite dry, water the soil in increments as you fill up the container so the soil absorbs the water. Remember not to fill it to the tippy top because you’ll need extra room for the plantings. Your completed container should have a l/2 to 2” lip between the rim and the soil and YES, you can reuse your soil from last year.
Secret #4 – Sorry, no hard fast rules apply. A single plant in a pot always looks great, provided there’s adequate scale to the container. Read the tag and make sure it’s mature height is at least the height of the container. A rule of thumb if you’re planting a multiple of plants, use a ratio of l:2 – one-third container, two-thirds plants. But the best advice we have is to trust your eye!
Plant Choice and Arrangement
Secret #5 - Foliage is king! Planting two-thirds of a mixed container with foliage plants and one-third with flowering plants always works. You just can’t beat colorful leaves. Flowers are lovely but leaves make a great contrast. But remember, there are no hard fast rules.
Secret #6 - When it comes to choosing plants for container gardening, don’t limit yourself to the plants in four-inch pots or six-packs of annuals. If a plant is growing in a container – whether it’s a tree, shrub, perennial, or annual, you should be able to grow it in a container on your patio, at least for the season.
Secret #7 – We love this idea! Try planting a single specimen plant like an ornamental grass, roses or a typically boring foundation plant. A single-plant pot is very simple and elegant and less maintenance than a highly mixed pot and placed in an attractive pot can transform a space.
Feeding & Maintaining Your Pots
If your soil contains slow-release fertilizer, all you need to do is water frequently. After a few months though, the fertilizer stops acting and you’ll need to fertilize with a water-soluble fertilizer. Fertilize every two weeks. Deadheading the flowering plants will keep the container looking good. Simply pinch down to a full set of leaves.
Just a few of our favorites:
Sunny Container Plants Shade Container Plants
Purple Fountain Grass Torenia
Persian Shield (some shade) Caladium
Sweet Potato Hakonechola
Cannas Begonia Dragon Wing
Angelonia Elephant Ears
Yucca Persian Shield
Calibrachoa Banana Plant
Succulents Sweet Potato Vine (green)
Shrubby Lantana Coleus
Wave Petunias New Guinea Impatiens