You can grow almost anything in a container type garden – even a simple Rosemary plant that allows you to grab a piece for fresh seasoning in your family meal. Given the right size, a little drainage help, some sunshine, a little food, a little water or rain and you would be surprised of all the possibilities! Here are a few tips to make your space look like that magazine garden picture you liked!
How Big a Container?
That depends on your space but be sure to allow enough room for the plants you’re considering planting, as well as plenty of good, rich soil. This soil is what will retain all your plants’ moisture so don’t be stingy with it! It is always a good idea to also know the mature size of those plants to avoid overcrowding once they start to mature.
Don’t Forget about Drainage!
You will always want to have a few drainage holes at the bottom of your container, or a layer of gravel. These days, they also make a plastic type insert that comes with pre-drilled drainage holes built in so you don’t have to do the drilling!
What Kind of Dirt or Soil?
Stay away from all the types you would typically use in your flower beds or on your yard. All of those are generally much too dense. Instead, try using a good brand of potting soil that contains a generous amount of Vermiculite or Pearlite and maybe even some Peat in it too. For extra large containers you will need a pretty thick, chunky type soil to help you maintain your consistency all the way down to the bottom around the roots of your plants.
What Type of Plants?
Think about using plants that are not too aggressive, and that like the same amounts of water and sunlight exposure. When you water a container, they all get watered. Try to also find plants that share the same growth rate so that one or two don’t dominate the entire container! Most container garden plants will go through a stretch of hot weather and sometimes can require daily watering. Give your plants a fighting chance and consider plants that may be classified as “drought tolerant” as these types can endure the heat much easier.
Container Size vs. Plant Size?
Most container garden plants generally look best when they are in balance relative to the container size. You really don’t want your plants to be more that about half as wide as the container and never more than twice as tall as your container is.
Placement of your Container
If possible, try not to place your container out in a wide-open space where it receives the full mid-day heat and sunshine. Even drought tolerant, sun loving plants dry out much quicker in containers. Instead, strategically place them in areas that receive morning sun and afternoon shade…or even against a wall where part of the day your house will reflect some light indirect light on your container.
Watering your Container
Unlike your landscaping that can grab sub-surface water to survive longer, container plants dry out much quicker and will likely need daily watering. In the middle of the hot summer, you may even need to water twice a day, especially with smaller containers. Larger containers with more soil will maintain moisture longer.
Feeding your New Container Plants
Depending on what type of potting soil you decide to purchase, some of them come with fertilizers mixed in with the soil and some do not. Container gardens need to have their nutrients replenished more often than regular landscaping plants in flower beds. A good time-released one is generally the best to use every few weeks.
Always Keep your Container Looking Great
As the seasons change throughout the year, switch out a few of the plants that tend to fade over time with fresh new annuals or perennials. You can do this pretty much all four seasons of the year to achieve a great looking container garden!
Question: Jimmie, is it too late to put out Pre-Emergent, I have weeds everywhere! Please help! – Jeff P. in Prosper
Answer: Hi Jeff, if you have weeds everywhere, they have emerged already! You now need a post emergent! Depending on the type of weeds you have will dictate my advice to you. Send me some pictures and I will respond directly to you friend! Until next time…Happy Gardening!
Jimmie is a Prosper resident and the owner of Absolutely Bushed Landscaping Company, an award winning, family and veteran owned and operated business created in 1980 to provide the highest quality custom Outdoor Renovation available to homeowners in the Dallas Ft. Worth area.