Container Flower Garden
Container Flower Garden
Establishing a can be crucial for those of you who only have a small outdoor space with which to garden, but it can also be beneficial to others with a patio or deck, or a small area in the backyard landscape that simply needs “sprucing up”!
Many homeowners use containers to help decorate a walkway, front and back entrance, or hard scape features such as pools and hot tubs.
Window boxes are also considered container gardens, and add much to the home landscape design.
Learning how to create a is actually pretty easy, even for the novice, as long as a few simple steps are followed.
There are a multitude of plants that are easy to grow and are quite forgiving(in other words, they’re not easy to damage…which is a good thing for me,because plants that survive under my care must be able to thrive in sometimes less than ideal conditions!)
Let’s take a look at the basic steps to follow when creating a .
Step #1 Container Flower Garden-
Location, location, location!
Determining the location of the garden you’re going to establish is ALWAYS the first step because…this one factor will determine the types of plants that you will be able to use.
Once you figure out where you want to place your container garden, you will need to ask: How much sun does each area receive each day?
- Full sun = direct sun for at least 6 hours
- Part sun = direct sun for 3-5 hours
- Light shade = only filtered shade reaches the area
- Full shade = less than 3 hours of direct sun
You may be tempted to skip this step thinking that it’s not that important…but don’t! Picking the right plants for your location will determine the amount of success you have with a container garden.
You can do this by monitoring an area in your yard throughout the day (on a sunny day), or you can do this the easy way…with a sunlight calculator!
Step #2 Container Flower Garden-
Which pots work best?
Add interest to an area by using different sized pots and those of different heights.
Tall planters and window boxes will look especially elegant with those plants that have a trailing habit. Keep in mind that you are using the color of the pots in your design. Select your plants first, and then experiment with different colored pots before purchasing.
OR…if you already have pots you’d like to use, take them with you (if possible) to the gardening center. You will be able to assess how they look against the plants you’d like to use.
Because of different colored flowers and foliage, not all pots look good with all plants!
When deciding on which pots you’ll use, take into account the drainage factor.
By this I mean:
- Does the pot actually HAVE drainage holes on the bottom?
- Is it a hanging basket made of fibber that is essentially one big open hole (meaning that all of the water will literally run straight through)?
- Does the pot come equipped with a saucer that holds water temporarily before it is absorbed by the plant?
You will have to decide how much maintenance you want to invest in your container garden, and whether or not you can keep up with the water requirements so that your plants will thrive.
Some hanging pots, for example, will need water every day, or even twice a day, to keep the soil lightly moist during dry summer months. If you are unable to provide this much maintenance, make a different choice of pot.
Step #3 Container Flower Garden-
The “dirt”y details!
If you’re using planters that you used the year before, you’ll probably have soil left in them.
You may be tempted to use that soil…….DON’T!
Your new plants will need to get nutrients from the soil they are planted in. Dirt that is left over from last year is probably all used up nutrient-wise, and it hasn’t replenished itself like a garden soil would, mostly because it has been stuck in the same pot all winter.
That soil is depleted, and most of it should be disposed of…at least 1/2 of it should be.
Purchase good quality “potting soil”, a good compost mix, some pellet fertilizer and some perlite.
- Regular garden soil is too heavy, and will become too compacted in containers to provide a fertile growing environment for delicate flowers.
- A good compost mix will add an abundance of nutrients to the soil that your plant needs. Because it is compost, it cannot over-fertilize your young plants…they will take only what they need when they need it.
- A delicate sprinkling of fertilizer will help young plants grow, and perlite will help retain some moisture in the soil.
Mix these four things together in a large container and use that to fill your planters.
Step #4 Container Flower Garden-
So many plants to choose from!
Where do you even start with deciding which plants to use in your design?
A helpful tip is to think of “spill, thrill and fill” when selecting your plants. Choose plants that will:
- Spill – Spill over the container
- Thrill – Provide the “WOW” factor
- Fill – Fill up any empty spaces or gaps
If you’re at a loss as to where to start with planting in containers, and would like some “recipes” that tell you exactly which plants to use and how many, there are several good websites….
Have fun with this step! Tour your local garden center and get a feel for what appeals to you the most. Go with what you like!
Step #5 Container Flower Garden-
Plant those babies!
The plants that you end up purchasing may not all have equally sized root systems.
Be sure to plant all of your plants level with each other….meaning, the part of the plant that grows ABOVE the ground, should be lined up with the other plants, and they should all be level with each other. Soil can be built up underneath the root system to even them out.
Loosen the root system slightly, shaking off some of the soil it came with, and plant securely in the new soil. Press the soil down VERY LIGHTLY in the pot and around the root system…you want to make sure that the roots can move around a bit.
Once you water the plant, the soil will naturally settle in around everything.
Step #6 Container Flower Garden-
Water your plants!
You will need to water the plants that you establish in a container garden immediately after planting, and frequently throughout the season. Many container plants require daily waterings, and soil should generally be kept “moist”.
Please do keep in mind that those of us who are diligent about watering our plants can actually OVER water them, and this can be equally as damaging as UNDER watering them. In other words…you’re new plants can die from over watering just as easily as under watering.
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