It has long been known the value of plants for their beauty, their production of edible food, their releasing of oxygen into the air, and their ability to help humans find the strength and renewal often found in nature. For these reasons, many people desire to have plants in their homes and yards. There are many different and exciting ways to enjoy plants and to benefit from their usefulness. When possible, gardens are created both for beauty and for growing organic fruits and vegetables. A reality in today’s culture in America, is that many yards are small, if at all, and most people have little time to spend caring for a traditional garden. So other ways of gardening have become popular. One of these ways is called container gardening. The variety of types of containers suitable for this style of planting is huge, and the amount of time needed to care for plants grown in containers is much less than for plants grown in gardens.
Choosing the right container will depend on where you want to put the container, in a protected area or out where winds will blow and could topple it over. Too, the size and type of plant you will grow makes a difference. Plants need plenty of soil for their roots so the larger the plant, the larger the pot. Small containers will need to be watered more often. Be sure there is a way for drainage as plants should not stand in water. Pots can be made of materials heavy to lightweight. If your container is large and heavy, a small dolly with wheels can be placed under the pot for easy moving. Choose colors that blend with your landscape and go well with the flowers which will bloom in your container. You can buy pots already decorated or plain, and you can then color and decorate them yourself (a fun project for children). You can also let your imagination run wild and use any item that holds potting soil and has drainage holes (you can create your own drainage holes when necessary). Examples could be a watering can, wheelbarrow, or hollow log. Interesting visuals can be created by placing a plain container inside a container such as a wooden holder, a piece of old furniture, or an interestingly shaped ornamental holder.
Choose a location for your containers that will give the right amount of sun or sun and shade to the type of plants you plan to use. One nice thing about container gardening is if your plants do not seem to be doing well in the location you have chosen, you can move them and try another site.
Fill your containers with a soil recommended for the plants you will use. Check with your local nursery to find out what soil plants need in container gardening. A nursery can also recommend plants suitable for containers in your area. Some vegetables grow well, such as tomatoes and herbs, in containers as well as flowers. Too, plants with beautiful leaves such as coleus and crotons as well as ornamental grasses grow well in containers. The guideline for container plants is “thriller,” plants splashy with color and size, “filler,” plants which fill the container with a variety of colors and shapes, and “spiller” plants which literally spill over the sides of the container such as ivy, wax begonia, and spider plants.
Caring for your container garden is, of course, important. It is easier in many ways as you don’t usually have to bend over as far to provide care, weeds will be at a minimum, and the soil holds moisture longer as the water doesn’t flow down into the ground. Watering in the morning is best and check to be sure your plants need water. Too much water will kill a plant. Fertilize only when needed, usually during the growing season. Check what kind of fertilizer is best for the plant and soil type and be careful not to over fertilize as too much fertilizer will burn the roots.
Container gardening is fun. Enjoy!!