Gardening is no longer the pastime of those that have large yards or acres of land. Almost anything can be grown in a container. Container gardening is perfect for gardeners who have small space constraints or for those who want to add a pop of colour to existing garden spaces. I, myself, have a large perennial garden but I love to plant colourful annuals in pots to add drama to my space. Container gardening is also a great way to experiment with colours and fragrance combinations to create a high-impact design or a soft, gentle blend.
Choosing your Container
Almost anything can be used as a container in your garden but keep in mind that there are pros and cons to various materials. For example: plastic pots are lightweight and easy to move around however, plastic does deteriorate in the sun. Likewise, terracotta pots are incredibly durable and rarely break down but they tend to dry out faster than their plastic counterparts and require more water.
If you are thinking of using something salvaged for your container, such as a teapot or old wheelbarrow, be sure to drill a hole(s) to allow for drainage. If you are unable to drill in your material, be sure the pot is large enough for a couple of inches or rock, stone or pine cones that will act as drainage in the bottom of the container.
When I choose a container, I tend to go with a larger one. A larger container requires less watering and maintenance, has more impact and will allow me to mix a larger variety of plants and flowers.
No matter which pot or container you are using, be sure to clean and sterilize it. An environmentally friendly, all-purpose cleaner works best and ensures that any previous years disease or pests are washed away.
Before you Plant: Plan
Where you place your container is vital to choosing your plants. Is your container in a full sun area or part shade? The great thing about containers gardening is that you can move your containers around to ensure that the conditions are just right for your plants.
It is also recommended that you plan within the container. Be sure that the plants you are grouping together have similar growing conditions. If your container is in full sun, then all of the flowers or plants should thrive in those conditions.
It is good to think about how large the various flowers will be when they are fully grown. You’ll want to plant the taller flowers in the back or directly in the middle, the shorter ones in the front of the container with trailing plants around the edges. This is important, not just for the visual impact but you also want the sun to reach every plant. You don’t want the larger plants to block the smaller ones.
It’s Planting Time
First and foremost, you want to start with a good soil. I prefer a lightweight potting soil for flower pots. If you are planning vegetables and herbs in a container, you’ll want to use a thicker garden mixture or top soil. When gardening in containers, food supply in the pot is limited so adding a compost to the soil will ensure that the food supply is available for the full season.
When choosing plants or flowers for your container, bigger is always better. You can buy cell pack of flowers but for container gardening, a 4-inch pot is always better. By using the larger nursery stock, the container fills in quicker and is more attractive to the eye. The larger size is also better for determining the placement of plants in the pot. Is it generally easier to gauge the various heights and spread of your flowers and freely organize how the plants should be placed.
No matter what your style is, there are flowers and plants that will match. A good container gardener will tell you that all it takes is a little experimentation and a lot of creativity. The experts at Tillsonburg Garden Gate are happy to provide some good advice and helpful tips. Plan a visit to our showroom to see the vast selection of flowers and plants to help you create the garden you have dreamed of.