Reminders for Container Gardening
Now that you know the steps, here are some helpful hints to plant the perfect container garden.
Choose the Right Plants
Select complementary plants that have the same light and watering requirements listed on their labels. If your container plant is placed in a sunny spot in the garden, make sure the labels show a yellow sun. If your container is going to be placed in part-shade or full-shade, then select plants suitable for those conditions.
You can choose any combination of perennials, annuals, herbs, or even fruits and vegetables for an outdoor planter arrangement. Many annuals are well-suited for container gardening, but when branching out with perennials, look for “dwarf” or “container” notation on the labels, as those plants are meant to thrive in containers.
The Dirt on Soil
Tip: If you have a lot of planter arrangements to create, you can make your container mix at home with one part perlite, two parts peat moss, and four parts well-rotted compost.
Container gardens have limited space for soil and no natural critters rooting around in the dirt. While that might sound ideal, bacteria, microbes, worms, and bugs offer great benefits in keep soil healthy and nutritious for plants.
Once you have created the right soil, add a slow-release container-specific organic fertilizer and mix it in well. Throughout the growing season, water the plants with a dilute fertilizer mixture that will keep them fed and happy all season long.
Not All Containers are Created Equal
There are plenty of options for containers made from materials like ceramic, plastic, wood, and resin. They come in many shapes, sizes, and colours — and some even have self-watering bases. With so many options to choose from, you're sure to find one that will be the perfect muse for your container display.
- Ceramic and clay pots have a classic look and natural feel to them. Unglazed terracotta pots are porous so excess moisture to escape, making them a good choice for wet climates. Glazed pots have more longevity in cold seasons, but unglazed pots will crumble if left to freeze over the winter.
- Good quality plastic pots are very durable, hold moisture well, and can be left outside year-round. They are inexpensive to buy, but will need to be replaced after a few years of weathering.
- Planters made from cedar are meant to be left outdoors year-round. They're porous like clay, but hold moisture in the soil better. Cedar planters add a rustic look to the garden and will last for a number of years before needing to be replaced.
- Fibre and resin pots take the good looks of ceramic and stone, but without the weight or the cost. Good quality synthetic pots can last for countless years and remain outdoors in all seasons. Look for double-walled containers to protect plants from extreme heat or cold. In the event that the fibre pots are missing drainage holes, you can use a drill to add some for outdoor use.
- Save time and resources with self-watering pots. Many containers are now available with an insert that holds the soil above a reservoir for additional water. This is a wonderful way to reduce watering requirements. Make sure there are still drainage holes in the pot to avoid a build-up of excess water. Usually, these holes will be on the side of the planter or in a raised tube in the centre of the pot.
Growing a Green Thumb
With these easy steps, you will be well on your way to becoming a master of container gardening in no time. For just an afternoon with your hands in the soil, you will be rewarded with a whole season of beauty to enjoy.
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