Growing plants in containers offers a wide variety of benefits to gardeners. If you don’t have access to a yard, struggle with mobility issues, or simply enjoy the versatility of growing plants in pots, then container gardening is a great choice for you.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to grow beautiful, healthy plants in pots.
1. Choose Pots Wisely
Drainage is key when considering pots. Many decorative pots or repurposed containers are gorgeous but have zero drainage holes. On the other hand, terra cotta pots might actually have too much drainage since they lose moisture through the porous clay.
Finding the right size and material can be tricky, but you can’t go wrong with a medium-sized glazed ceramic container that has a drainage hole in the bottom.
2. Consider Dwarf Varieties
When you plan your container garden, you might look into dwarf varieties of veggies and even flowers. They’ll perform better in pots and take up less space.
3. Thriller, Filler, and Spiller
The classic design principle for container gardens is to include a thriller in the form of a tall, showy plant. Then add the filler–usually low, mounded plants–and a spiller, such as ivy.
4. Make Friends with Mulch
Most novice gardeners don’t realize that they can mulch their container gardens. Mulch serves the same purpose in pots as it does in a flowerbed, preventing moisture loss and insulating the soil.
5. Soil Is King
Speaking of soil, make sure that you’re using the right blend for your plants. An all-purpose potting mix is usually okay, unless you’re specializing in succulents or other plants that need special soil types. Never use the dirt straight out of your garden.
6. Water Early and Often
Container gardens need more frequent watering than the same plants in the ground. They lose more water through evaporation and don’t have as much soil to retain moisture.
Water first thing in the morning so that the sun has a chance to burn off water on the leaves. Otherwise, you’re inviting mildew.
7. Deadhead Patrol
The secret to ever-blooming flowers is simple. You need to deadhead flowers as soon as they start to fade. This forces the plant to keep producing more blooms instead of using its energy to grow seeds. Snip or pinch the flower stems right about the first set of leaves.
8. Let It Go
Annuals are the best choice for most containers, and that means switching out plants on a regular basis. It can seem daunting at first, even wasteful, to throw your plants on the compost heap once their season is done. But that’s just the circle of life, and if you want your container garden looking lovely for as long as possible, you’ll need to replace plants regularly.