Container Garden

Denny Schrock

succulent containers

Succulents are hot. And for good reason. They take almost no maintenance, and they’re gorgeous! The images in today’s post are from a recent photo shoot on planting succulent container gardens, which will appear in an upcoming book.

I love the color and texture combinations in the mix at left, which includes a blooming Sedum cauticola Cola Cola, pink-tipped Violet Queen echeveria, purple-edged Gremlin kalanchoe, purple-striped Echeveria nodulosa, Aloe dorotheae Sunset, and Jitters jade plant.

Scroll down to see several other combinations that we shot that day. Which is your favorite? I have a hard time choosing just one.

A trio of succulent containers, including Aloe vera in the blue crate, echeveria in the round brown pot, and various cacti and Sedum nussbaumerianum in a square brown container.

A resin fountain converted into a succulent trough garden

An armillary filled with hens and chicks (Sempervivums)


Justin W. Hancock

Wordless Wednesday!

It’s Wednesday…that means time to show off some fantastic photos from the BHG Share My Gallery.

A homemade ladder planter from reader thevintagegypsy97!

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A fun way to dress up a privacy fence from reader scaffrey158491

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A stunning front-yard landscape from reader kfisher78

Justin W. Hancock

Grow Carrots in Containers

CarrotsI think that, with the exception of watering, container gardening makes growing most plants easier than trying to cultivate them in the ground.

This applies to vegetables, too: In my experience, tomatoes don’t get as diseased in pots than in the ground (maybe because they’re up higher where air flows better or because a good potting mix is free of disease spores), eggplants become even more ornamental, and carrots are easier to harvest.

Yes, you read that right: carrots. If you have a deep enough container, you can grow really lovely carrots in a pot. They’ll typically grow straighter, especially if you have rocky ground, and are a cinch to pull from loose potting mix as compared to the ground. And the ferny foliage looks great, too — either in a mass by itself or as an accent to your favorite flowers or herbs.

Want to give it a try? There’s still time this year to plant a batch of carrot seeds!


Everyday Gardeners

Why Good Potting Mix Matters

Plant on the left was grown in topsoil cut with peat moss; plant on the right was grown in quality potting mix amended with sand and compost.

Plant on the left was grown in topsoil cut with peat moss; plant on the right was grown in quality potting mix amended with sand and compost.

If ever I needed proof that good potting mix matters to plants, I got it last weekend while repotting chestnut seedlings. These two seedlings were grown in the same size pot, in the same lighting conditions, and with the same watering and fertilizing regimen. Yet you can see the vast difference in root development. Plus, the chestnut on the right is substantially taller, as you’ll see in the photo below.

I remember what happened. I had run out of potting mix, so I substituted topsoil for a small number of seedlings. Even after “cutting” it with peat moss, the topsoil was too heavy and thick to be used as a container medium.

Moral of the story: use a good potting mix (here’s one I use) and beef it up with compost (and sand, if you’re working with woody plants). Avoid using topsoil in containers even if it’s amended. Your plants will be larger and stronger. And the more extensive root system will help plants deal with drought and neglect.

Another look at the difference between seedlings grown in topsoil vs. potting mix amended with compost and sand.

Another look at the difference between seedlings grown in topsoil vs. potting mix amended with compost and sand.