Ideas and Tips for Container Planters


Newly planted container for the sun.

Are you planning to have some planted pots around your home this summer? Do you usually purchase the ‘grab-and-go containers’ that are well planted and beautiful. Or do you walk into a nursery and enjoy deliberating over color schemes and plant combinations. No matter how you pull together your container, both kinds liven up a deck, patio, front door or walkway and make the perfect focal point in the landscape.

The ideas below are for all those gardeners who love the creative process of making their own seasonal pots.. Perhaps you want to use your old tried-and-true favorites but in new ways? Maybe you want to include something different but don’t know where to start? Well, welcome to summer container inspiration 2016.

Benefits of Container Gardening. Just think…no need to dig, mulch or weed garden beds. And you never get stuck with design or planting mistakes. You create instant color and impact for the entire summer season with very little maintenance except feeding and watering.

This banana plant in the middle will reach 6 feet tall!

This banana plant in the middle will reach 6 feet tall!

Basics of Container Gardening

Use soil-less potting mixes. Moisten the mix before filling the container. Select plants with similar sun/shade requirements.

Make sure the container has drainage holes.

Don’t forget to pinch or snip off fading flowers.

Fertilizer with a liquid fertilizer. 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 every two weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer.

Check moisture level of pots frequently, especially in hot and dry weather. Remember that small pots will need to be watered more frequently – twice a day sometimes in the summer if the pot is in full sun.

Again, newly planted but will fill in quite full!

Again, newly planted but will fill in quite full!

7 Ideas for Creative Container Plantings

Think about Color. There are lots of combinations. Decide on whether you want a monochromatic pot of one color or a combination of two colors or possibly three. Remember, there are a wide variety of green plants to intersperse with your color. Be bold. There are lots of combinations that work. Have fun with color combinations. You might not wear purple and orange together, but it looks great in a pot!

How to Start Your Container Inspiration. Maybe you find yourself aimlessly wandering around the nursery unable to decide on a collective combination. Then step back and find a plant that you absolutely love its colors. For example, you can’t beat Coleus with its multi-colored leaves. Play off its colors as you build the combination: choose a few complementary bloom colors for harmony and maybe one or two contrasting colors for a bit of drama. Pulling a pot together around one plant will be easier and more manageable.

One Basic Formula Design. Sometimes the shape of your pot dictates the type of design. A very traditional design around for ages is the “Spiller, Filler and Thriller”. The thriller is usually an upright, vertical plan:, the filler are medium size plants that fill in the middle and the spiller cascades over the edge. Try using Cannas, the large tropical plants that come in different colorful leaves and flowers. They make a bold statement in a container and are so easy to grow.

Captivate with a Single Specimen. Don’t limit yourself to the plants in four-inch pots or six-packs of annuals. A single-plant pot is very simple and elegant and less maintenance than a highly mixed pot. Remember, 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 or deck, for at least the season. Try a dwarf shrub. They come in eye-catching colors in shades of green, blue and yellow and they are very manageable. Combine with an attractive pot and it can transform a space. Or try an ornamental grass, shrub rose or a foundation shrub.

It’s Not Always about Flowers. Experiment with interesting foliage. There are wonderful plants with unusual leaf shape, texture and luscious shades. Choose a variety of plants in just one or two colors, like green or silver, for a subtle display. Or, go for a high-impact collection of brightly colored and patterned leaves for a real show stopper. Another choice would be planting two-thirds of a mixed container with foliage plants and one-third with flowering plants. Texture makes a great contrast with flowers.

Experiment with Creative Combinations. Use herbs and veggies as foliage. They add a lot of color and texture. Houseplants are great in a container also.

Try a 5 Plant Combination. Working with 5 plant choices gives you plenty of options for color combinations and a diversity of plant forms: something upright, trailing and a few fillers for filling out the middle. With so many wonderful summer flowering plants to choose from, your biggest challenge is narrowing down your choices to five. Select one or two favorite colors, then pick one or more bushy, upright, an upright plant and a trailing plant or two. You can even try a small tree or shrub, an ornamental grass and several perennials.

There’s no right way to create a container garden, taking the pressure off the creator to follow hard and fast rules. It more depends on a person’s individual taste. Have fun, be bold and go for it! If It is more about art and personal expression. Must depends on a person’s individual taste and preference. So have fun, be bold and go for it. Get the creative juices flowing for this year’s pots.

Remember, Whitehouse Landscaping is just a phone call away (484-300-4290) to answer any questions you may have to help your landscape stay healthy or help you plan a project for the future. We’d love to help you enjoy your home more this season by refreshing your landscaping, adding a new paver patio, or any combination of landscape enhancements.


Begonias and Coleus like shade.
Begonias and Coleus like shade.