Want more plants and flowers in your home but lack the time or space to do so?
Want to practice your gardening skills before starting a full-scale project?
If you want to add color and excitement to your outdoor area, regardless of its size, or test the gardening waters, container gardens may be the best solution for you.
Fruits, veggies, and herbs are just a few examples of the plants and flowers that are cultivated in container gardens. These containers can stand as showpieces of their own or be assembled in a way that resembles a beautiful landscape.
In this article, we’ll be providing you with tips and more useful information about container gardening to get you started.
Why Choose Container Gardening?
Growing plants in containers has several advantages, and in certain cases, it may be the only viable option. For instance, containers let you establish the best soil conditions for plants even though the soil quality is poor or it doesn’t drain effectively.
To make the most of sunlight, containers provide you with the freedom to move them around. Additionally, container gardening provides several design alternatives not available in other types of gardening, like hanging baskets and window boxes.
However, this project is just not the same as in-ground gardening, so here are a few unique ways to assist you in doing it effectively.
When Is the Best Time to Plant a Container Garden?
Container gardens are typically planted at the same time as in-ground gardens, either in the spring after the threat of frost has passed or in the fall prior to the last heavy frost.
As opposed to garden soil, container soil warms up more quickly in the spring, so you might be able to start planting a little early. Consequently, a container garden can lengthen the growth season of your plants. However, if an overnight cold snap is anticipated in the early spring or late fall, be prepared to cover the containers or bring them indoors.
Getting Ready for a Container Garden
1. Assessing the Amount of Sunlight
Even if your yard gets very little direct sunlight, you can still cultivate a beautiful container garden. The same goes if your yard is showered in sunlight all day long, you can also plant spectacular containers.
To choose the best plants for your container garden, you must first precisely determine how much sunlight is available. Gardeners frequently tend to overestimate how much sunlight a spot receives each day, so it’s crucial to be precise in your predictions.
Visit the area where you intend to place your containers several times a day to monitor it in order to determine how much sunlight it receives. To keep track of how many hours the area spends in direct sunlight or shade, it is helpful to take time-stamped pictures repeatedly each day.
Measure the amount of sunlight at the time of year you plan to grow your container garden since the sun’s angle alters the result. Keep in mind that the sun’s angle varies from summer to winter. The plants that will thrive there are determined by the amount of full sun, moderate sun, or shade that an area receives each day.
2. Choosing a Container
Most often, we pay more attention to the plants and flowers than the containers, yet the containers are just as important. Simply make sure the container is large enough for your plant—bigger is always better than small—and that it has a drainage hole at the bottom.
You can also choose creative containers like barrels, watering cans, urns, or traditional pots. In some instances, when frozen and thawed, ceramic and clay are prone to cracking and chipping. If the containers will remain outside all year, think about how well they will withstand the local heat, cold, and sun.
3. Buying Potting Soil or Making Your Own
Despite the fact that the growing medium for container gardens is commonly referred to as “potting soil,” it does not actually include any soil, or at least not the type of soil that can be found in garden beds. Peat moss, compost, sand, perlite, and other elements are among the organic and inorganic components of this sterile growing medium. This potting mix is noticeably devoid of the pathogens, insects, and other living things that are frequently found in garden soil.
The majority of gardeners purchase commercial potting soil in bags, but you may also build your own by combining peat moss, perlite or vermiculite, and well decomposed compost in an equal amount. You can also find a ton of DIY potting mix recipes online.
In some commercial potting mixes, time-released fertilizer has already been incorporated. It is acceptable to select either basic potting soil or soil boosted with fertilizer, but doing so can cut back on your regular feeding cycle, which is typically every two weeks.
4. Selecting the Plants
When choosing plants, one should also take height, texture, and color into account. If you’re making a planter with multiple plants, combine taller plants with ones that will grow low and droop over the sides of the container. Alternatively, you can fill each pot with a single flower or plant before arranging the pots at varying heights.
Herbs are a fantastic choice because they not only have a beautiful appearance but also provide a purpose. Be imaginative! Succulents, native grasses, or bamboo can all be used to create a very stylized effect, or you can use smaller shrubs and evergreens for a refined, structural appearance. Annuals are quite preferred by most people, but you may also utilize perennials and enjoy them for a longer period of time.
Instructions for Planting a Container Garden
- Cover the drain holes.
- Put the potting mix in the container.
- Take the plants out of the nursery pots.
- Put the plants in the container.
- Give the plants water.
Tips for Keeping Your Container Garden Healthy
The key to maintaining a container garden is to moisten it properly, give it enough food at the right time, and use the proper quantity of fertilizer and water.
Generally speaking, potting mix needs to be kept damp but not wet. You can grasp the soil with your finger and dig down to the second knuckle to measure the moisture content. Don’t add more water if the soil still seems wet.
Watering is particularly challenging because a pot can lose moisture to the breeze and dries out more quickly on sunny days. The containers might not dry up as quickly on overcast or wet days. However, a light rain can fool you because it frequently leaves a container garden dry.
In the heat of the summer, you may need to hydrate them more than once per day, especially if the containers are 10 inches in diameter or less, based on the climate in your area and how high the temperatures rise.
If fertilizer was given to the planting medium before you planted the container, regular feeding won’t be necessary. Follow the feeding recommendations for containers if you didn’t add time-released or granulated fertilizer to the potting mix. This often involves feeding your plants once every two weeks with a diluted water-soluble fertilizer solution.
Be mindful that every time containers are watered, nutrients leak out. As a result, plants grown in containers need to be fed more frequently than plants grown on a garden bed.
It’s not particularly difficult to grow plants in containers. You only need a container, plants, potting mix, and water. The gardening in a regular landscape garden bed doesn’t seem all that different, at least on the surface. Many of the same plants that are cultivated in gardens, such as flowers and vegetables, can also be grown in pots. Start as soon as you can to enjoy the rewards early!