Planting a Container Garden
By Author: Johann Erickson
Nov 15, 2008, 00:11
  If you are a person not blessed with a big sunny backyard, you need not be deprived of the joy of gardening. You just need to think on a smaller scale. The perfect solution…container gardening. Container gardening is an extremely versatile method of growing not only colorful flowers, but also herbs and even some fruits and vegetables. A container garden is especially ideal for apartment dwellers that often don’t enjoy the luxury of owning any “green space” of their own. The beauty of container gardening is that they generally require minimal effort and maintenance and yet still yield beautiful results. Whether you choose to display your plants inside your home or even as an additional feature to a bigger gardening area, container gardening is a beautiful addition to any home or garden décor. With a few simple steps you too can experience the joy of growing the garden of your dreams.

Choosing the right container

Just as there are a countless number of plants to choose from, there are just as many containers to grow your plants in. Whether you choose an elaborately decorated window box or opt for more simple terra cotta pots, your choices really are endless. It just depends on your own personal sense of style. There are some things to keep in mind, however, when choosing a container. Avoid containers with narrow openings or that are small in capacity. Small containers restrict the growth of plants and their roots and are prone top drying out very quickly. Make sure your pot allows for adequate drainage. If your favorite container has no drainage holes drill some into the bottom spacing them about ˝ an inch across. If hanging baskets are your preference then line the containers with moss to increase water retention. Wooden containers are lovely but are prone to rotting. If you have your heart set on a container made of wood, try redwood or cedar, as they are more durable and relatively resistant to rotting.

Choosing your plants

Although annuals tend to be the most popular choice for planting, virtually any plant can be grown in a container, form shrubs to tomato plants. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try planting things that are pleasing to you. Some things to remember are to pick the right plant for the right container. For example, don’t choose a plant, a shrub or an ornamental tree in a small container. Bigger plants need bigger pots for their root system to grow properly. Also, if mixing plants in the same container, make sure they have the same light and water requirements. For example, don’t plant a sun-loving plant like roses with a shade loving plant like hosta. Also keep in mind bloom times. Don’t pick a combination of tulips, a spring-bloomer to be planted with autumn blooming mums. Other things to keep in mind are the mixing of colors, size, and texture. As much as it’s fine to experiment you do always want to pay attention to the symmetry and balance of the container you’re planting.

Planting your container

When putting your container garden together, fill it to within ˝ inch of the top with a commercial potting mix. Do not use garden soil from your yard because it will not drain fast enough and will also pull away from the sides of the container when dried out. Potting soil is specifically designed for container gardening and often contains organic matter which helps retain moisture and also nourishes your plants. After removing your plants from their pots, gently loosen the roots and place them into your soil. Be sure to arrange them in a design that is pleasing to your eye. In containers you can place your plants closer together than you normally would to create a more lush and fuller looking plant. Add more potting soil to fill in and finish by giving your plants a good drink of water. Be aware that because there is a relatively small amount of soil in container gardens their tendency is to dry out. Therefore, be diligent about providing enough water once, and sometimes twice a day, if necessary. It is also a good idea to add a time-release fertilizer at the time of planting. Just follow the manufacturers instructions on quantity and application.

General Care

Because container gardens lack the nutrients that garden plants naturally obtain from Mother Nature, they do require some special care. Be diligent about watering always checking for signs of dehydration and add a water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks. Also, inspect your plants for any signs of diseased or damaged leaves and remove as necessary.

About the Author

Johann Erickson is a contributing writer for sites such as Helpful Home Ideas. www.helpfulhomeideas.com/

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