For great container gardening
A simple potted herb or potted ornamental could be considered a container or potted garden, but there are so much more possibilities.
Pots and containers give you the ability to make good soil, experiment with color, textures and shapes.
You can move your garden with the sun and raise your garden to a height that’s comfortable for you to work.
Best of all is the ability to change and design a whole new garden every season.
Here are some tips for success.
Establish the size of your container garden
Make sure there is enough room in the container for the plant and soil.
Take into consideration, the mature size of the plant and their growing habits, upright plants will need a wide base for balance, sprawlers will need a pot deep enough to spill over.
As the plants grow, the root system will fill the pot and the soil will dry more quickly.
Make sure there’s plenty of room for the roots to move downward into the soil.
Provide good drainage. Always have drainage holes at the very least, a 1-to-2 inch layer of gravel at the bottom of the container; if you are using a decorative pot without drainage holes, consider planting in a plastic pot with holes that is one size smaller than the decorative pot and using the plastic pot as an insert.
For container gardens, use a good potting soil mix, not garden soil.
A mix with peat, perlite or vermiculite will retain moisture longer and be well draining. It will be lighter and wont compact as time goes on.
Using a chunky-style potting mix in containers of 5 or more gallons will help the soil mix remain loose even longer.
Use Plants With Similar Cultural Needs
In a garden bed, you can select which plants need water and which to pass over.
It’s not so with a container garden. When one gets water, they all get water.
It is therefore, important to select plants that will be happy with the same amount of water, sunlight, humidity and nutrition.
Avoid aggressive spreaders that will want to hog all the space and compete with neighbouring plants for all the food. Consider dwarf varieties.
Drought Tolerant Plants
Most container gardens are going to require daily watering in hot weather.
Even so, there will be times when your potted plants are going to be baking in the sun.
Give your container garden a fighting chance by favoring plants that can handle the intensified heat and dry soil of a container garden.
Balanced the Sizes of Plants and Container
Container gardens look best when the plants are in balance with the container.
Try to make sure the tallest plants are not more than twice the height of the pot and the fullness of the plant material is not more than half the width again as wide.
Try not to site containers in full mid-day sun.
You may have chosen plants that require full sun, but container garden heat up so much more quickly and intensely than in the ground gardens.
Most plants will welcome some relief from mid-day sun.
On the other hand when you must position a container in the shade, consider putting it on the wall that can reflect in the shade, consider putting it on the wall that can reflect some light back.
The plants wont suffer from the extreme heat but they will benefit from indirect light.
Lack of water can quickly kill plants in a container garden.
Unlike plants grown in the ground, container plants’ roots can’t move down deeply in search of subsurface water.
Check twice daily in the heat of the dry season and with smaller containers.
Fertilizing Container Gardens
Some potting mixes come with fertilizer already mixed in. Some don’t.
Either way, container plant roots can’t spread out looking for additional food in the soil nearby, so you will need to replenish soil nutrients regularly.
Good choices are time-released fertilizer mixed in when planting or a water-soluble fertilizer given every 2-4 weeks.
Keeping Container Gardens Fresh
Don’t be afraid to throw out plant material that has declined with the season.
No plant can go on blooming forever. When one plant starts to fade, look for another to replace.
This way you can plant your container garden from the beginning of the season, all year round.
With container garden, the sequence of the bloom is entirely within the gardener’s control.
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