Putting plants on pedestals is another way to add style to your containers. Choose similar-looking flowers for a harmonious look or plant ferns and succulents to create terrariums.
Avoid combining plants that require different amounts of light or moisture. This may cause some of them to die.
Calibrachoas – known by names such as Million Bells, Mini Famous, Cabaret, and Can-Can – thrive in pots and hanging baskets. They are also great for shade.
Choose the Right Plants
Whether you’re growing flowers or vegetables, choose plants that will thrive in your growing conditions. Look for varieties that grow well in shady or sunny areas, and select evergreen foliage plants that will add height to your container displays.
Plants that are adapted to dry environments, like cacti or succulents, will do well in containers provided they have potting mix designed for their needs. Look for a mix with high porosity and extra perlite. Don’t put a layer of rocks on the bottom of the container, however; this actually reduces drainage.
When selecting the plants for your container, follow the guideline of including “a thriller, a filler, and a spiller.” This means having one focal-point plant, such as coleus or geraniums with colorful leaves, combined with several plants that will spread and grow over the sides of the container, such as petunias, zinnias, or bacopa. Finally, use a plant with tall stems to add height to the arrangement, such as papyrus or purple fountain grass.
Find the Right Location
Containers can bring beauty to your outdoor space and make a bold statement on a deck, porch or balcony. They’re also a great option for people with limited outdoor space who want to grow their own veggies.
When selecting a location for your containers, keep in mind the size and weight of the pots you’re planting, as well as the amount of sunlight your area receives. Then, choose a spot that will allow you to easily water your plants and where they won’t be in the way of foot traffic.
Choose a spot near an accessible water source because container gardens can use up to double the amount of water than in-ground garden beds. Having a nearby watering station also makes it easier to avoid water-logged soil, which promotes fungus and stunts plant growth.
Container plants are power-hungry, and even the most fertile soil can run out of nutrients. With this in mind, it’s essential to regularly feed your plants.
You can incorporate a slow-release fertilizer into the soil when you plant your containers, or top-dress them. Either way, it’s important to use a liquid fertilizer regularly.
If you water frequently, you’ll have to lug a hose around your garden more often, and if you apply the fertilizer as a spray or drench, it can collect in puddles on the leaves. Apply liquid fertilizers like fish emulsion or seaweed extract to moistened (but not saturated) soil, and as a foliar spray.
You can also add a soil acidifier such as vinegar or a water-based supplement like aerobic compost tea. These solutions help to keep the soil in your containers at the right pH level. If you choose to grow acid-loving plants such as ferns or mosses, this is especially important.
As the seasons progress container plants need to be watered more frequently than in-ground garden beds. This is especially true during the hottest summer days when they may need to be soaked two or three times daily.
Grouping flowers by form or color is a great way to add visual interest to any planting. For example tall snapdragons and medium-size pansies look good together in a terra cotta planter, as do trailing vines such as ivy and bamboo.
Mixing moisture-retaining “agro-polymers” into the potting soil before planting can help reduce how often plants need to be watered. These super absorbent beads capture water that would otherwise pass right by the roots and release it as the potting mix dries.
Avoid overwatering; this can lead to root rot and promote the growth of disease-causing fungal spores in the soil. It is also best to water early in the morning or just before sunset to decrease evaporation from the sun’s harsh rays.