Container gardens are a wonderful way to add color and a touch of nature to entry areas, patios, decks and balconies. Soil preparation, plant selection and watering are the three keys to successful container gardening.
Soil preparation. Always start with fresh potting soil when planting container gardens. Over the course of a growing season, soil compacts and loses vital nutrients necessary for healthy plant growth. Spent soil can be tilled into garden beds but should not be reused in planters. Instead purchase a high-quality potting soil. Professionally-blended potting soils are pH balanced, infused with nutrients and provide plants with proper aeration and drainage to promote healthy plant growth.
Plant selection. Select compatible plants that share the same light and water requirements. The most effective container garden designs use three tiers of plants: a thriller, filler and spiller.
- Thrillers are the taller, attention-grabbing plants at the center of container arrangements.
- Fillers are plants that exhibit relatively compact and bushy growth. Choose medium-height plants that will fill the vertical space between the thriller and spiller when they reach mature height.
- Spillers are planted around the outer rim of the planter. They have a cascading growth pattern so they spill over the sides of the planter as they grow.
Watering. Because of their greater exposure to the elements, container gardens dry out much faster than garden beds and require more frequent watering. Generally, daily watering is recommended; but plants may need to be watered twice a day during periods of high heat and drought. Containers that sit in windy areas or extremely sunny areas may also require more frequent watering.
Check in next week for our suggested container plants, and for more tips on planting flower bulbs, check out our gardening tips here.
Image: Family O'Abe