Container gardening isn’t just for the urban landscape, or those of us with attention deficit issues. Containers and planters are a great way to add POP to your landscape and create visual focal points that might be hard to achieve with traditional landscape techniques. Planters can also be used to rotate seasonal flowers and decorations, even in the cold winter months.
Don’t be fooled, however, while container gardening can be easier than traditional landscaping, it does not guarantee success. Follow our tips for the best results.
Choosing the Right Planters
When it comes to selecting containers, the sheer volume of available styles and sizes can be overwhelming. However, there are some basic qualities you should look for in every container or planter you choose.
Look for containers that allow ample drainage and are made from non-porous materials. This will help you with keeping your plants watered, but not flooded.
The best containers will be flat-sided or wider at the top. If you are planning on planting annuals, you will want a container that is at least 8 inches deep. Grasses and shrubs will need more room, between 16 and 24 inches deep. If you are looking to add a variety of plants within one container, be sure that it is at least 12 inches wide.
Prepping Your Container
Before filling your planters with soil, be sure to add some stones to the bottom, particularly over the drainage holes. This will help maintain moisture.
We recommend bagged potting soil for flowering annuals. This will help prevent disease, while keeping your planter lightweight. Be sure to select a potting soil that contains a slow-release fertilizer to help your plants to stay healthy longer.
Choosing Your Plants
When selecting plant material, be sure to choose plants that are still fairly small. Smaller plants are easier to install and larger, more mature plants may be root bound in the original container, which will cause them to lose moisture more quickly. Properly planted and fertilized material will quickly fill in and make your container(s) look great!
Use bold colors, or variations of the same color, to design eye-catching displays. Do not be afraid to mix textures. The best arrangements use a variety of heights within the same planter. For example, choose tall plants like sedge grasses for the center or back of the planter, add medium height plants like begonias to the middle, and hanging or trailing plants such ipomoea around the outer edges of the planter. This will add visual interest to your container garden.
If you plan on adding a variety of plants to one container, choose plants that will grow harmoniously together, meaning that they match as far as watering and sunlight needs.
Maintaining Your Container Garden
If you plan on switching out plants based on season, consider using smaller pots within larger containers. This will make removing and replacing plants easier- when the season changes simply lift out the old and drop in the new!
Be sure to water your potted plants often and to place them where they will receive appropriate sunlight.
For flowering plants, be sure to trim off any dead blossoms to make room for new flowers.
If you are looking for a professional design for your porch, patio or landscape with a container garden, talk to Hively. Our specialists will select the right plants, planters and accessories for your home, and we can maintain your plants, ensuring that they stay beautiful all season long.