In the Garden:
It’s time for Container Gardening! Last week we learned about Cut Flower Gardening and today we’re learning about container gardening.
My name is Tina and I have been an avid gardener all of my life and have been blogging about it since 2007. I let my heart, my projects and the internet guide me to a gardening topic. Then, armed with a collection of photos taken about said topic, I blog about it. I enjoy the rewards of writing something well and sharing that which might help or inspire a fellow gardener. In this article, I will share some of my experience and tips for great container gardening.
I was taught how to plant and maintain containers by a couple of gardeners that had been doing it for many, many years before me. From a pair of matching formal containers by the front door, to pots by the pool filled with tropicals, containers are essential to the landscape. They are a way of adding your personal touch to the garden with out back breaking work. If you love color, a certain color, texture and form, artful conversation pieces or just fluff, you can create it with containers. I was told to be creative with my plant selection, but that there where a few guidelines in this step. First of all, we are always shooting for “instant gratification”, so we use a mini assortment of plants and leave little space between them when planting. We like to use perennials, annuals and shrubs alike, of varying heights and growing must be close in sun and water requirements. Some container designs that became pretty regular because they worked really well are:
The Formal Look: Consisting of a large evergreen in the center, or back center, under-planted with a nice, preferably evergreen, ground-cover that might trail over the edge of the pot. One example is a ‘Hollywood’ Juniper with ‘English’ Ivy planted underneath. These usually took a very large container because they where a permanent fixture in the landscape, adding structure and grace. To maintain these it is recommended to trim up the trailing plants in waves and keep them from reaching the ground and to prune your center plant to maintain it’s height.
Mixed Large Annual Pot: This design has a prominent focal point, planted in the center, or back center of a large container, like a Tropical Banana for sun or an Australian Tree Fern for shade. Then you can use an annual like Gomphrena or Begonia ‘Richmondensis’ planted in 3 groups of 3′s in a triangle around the center plant. In the 3 open spaces plant another medium height, foliage plant for texture and around that choose a low growing colorful annual like Lantana and plant in 3 groups of 3 or more. Ending with a trailing annual, w/ or w/o blooms, planted in 3 groups of 3 or more. I drew a diagram of this exact container hoping to remove some confusion about this description. To maintain these pots, fertilize on a bi-weekly schedule and feel free to prune each plant to reduce it’s size every couple of weeks.
The Color Bowl: We all love color right? Well this is essentially just that. In a small to medium pot, plant a single type of annual that dawns your favorite flowers. I even learned to appreciate these planted with just a unique foliage.
I hope this helps while planting your containers this year!
How to Garden Series:
Step 1 - Ground Site Selection
Step 2 – Improve Gardening Soils
Step 3 – Garden Beds, Pockets and Pots 101
Step 4 – What To Plant
Step 5 – Gardening with Children
Step 6 – Top 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow From Seed
Step 7 – Cut Flower Gardening 101
Tina is a Southern gardener who has a passion for plants and a desire to learn more about them every day. We are so glad she’s sharing her knowledge with us. You can find her at Botanicsonline, A Southern Gardeners Blog.