The whys and ways of a great way to plant.
Container gardening is easy to do and there are lots of reasons why it's also a sensible gardening option. Here are our top 7 reasons to grow plants in pots.
1. Mobility. What gardener hasn't wished that a plant grew somewhere else? Plants in pots are easy to move around. Light up a dark corner with pots of white, pink, or yellow flowering shade lovers such as impatiens and Helichrysum. Some plants with a short blooming period, such as lilies or foxglove, look magnificent in containers and grow well in those temporary quarters. Transplant them to the garden when they're finished blooming. Of course, if you are about to move your household, containers allow you to take the garden with you.
2. Focus. Potted plants--and pots--create interest. Grouped in strategic places, they break the monotony of a terrace or a patio and create an ambient scene. Build a simple theme garden around a color or an idea. A collection of yellow and blue bloomers, such as pansies, Calendula, and heliotrope, makes a cheerful display. Pots of sedum and Sempervivum look simple but elegant.
3. Pizzazz. Nestle containers of bright annuals among duller plants in the garden for added color. To keep plants looking good: Water when soil dries; pinch off spent blooms, and fertilize weekly.
4. Flexibility. Rearrange plantings to suit the season or your mood. Enjoy pots of violets and narcissus in spring; petunias and dusty-miller in summer; and Coleus in fall.
5. Limitation. Contain thugs that are too invasive to let loose in the garden, such as ribbon grass (Phalaris), blue lyme grass (Elymus glaucus), and mints of all kinds (Mentha sp.). Plant these or other gregarious growers in terra-cotta pots, and then plant the pot in the ground, with the lip of the pot even with the soil surface.
6. Ambience. Pots set the stage in outdoor rooms or even steal the show. Group sun-loving plants around a large houseplant that's summering outdoors. A jumble of various pots stacked on stands and clustered loosely lends a pleasantly casual look. Containers aligned with precision and planted with trim specimens, such as rosemary standards or ivy topiaries, create instant formality. A trio of large pots makes a garden appear more settled; they suggest the accumulation of years' growth.
7. Scope. Plants that require a longer growing season than you have to offer can be started indoors to bloom outside in summer and fall. Frost-sensitive plants such as bay laurel and lemon verbena make wonderful houseplants in winter and spend the summer in the garden. Just make sure that in spring they are allowed a transition period from limited sunlight indoors to brighter light outdoors. This technique is the basis of the orangery concept, which includes growing citrus fruits in pots so they can move indoors in fall.
Gardening in containers provides a frugal option: getting a big effect for a modest outlay. Better yet, they're easy to achieve without spending a lot of time or effort. Try these tips:
I'm Eric Liskey with Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Containers are one of the most popular topics with our readers but a lot of people don't know where to start. There's a sure fire formula, we call it spiller, thriller, filler, and it works every time. Many people struggle with color combinations. They're not sure what goes with what. An easy way to work that out is to just put plants together in your shopping cart. If they look good, then you're gonna be happy with it. A good container design has three elements. The thriller which is a good place to start, something larger than the rest, maybe it's upright, something that really has a distinctive look. Start with that, plant it toward the back or perhaps in the center of the container. Next, you wanna use a filler. This is something that's gonna be more mounty, it's gonna provide a lot of mass and volume. It's not gonna be too tall, it also won't fall over the edge of container. Coleus is a nice one, [unk], many things that grow upright but don't get too tall and don't trail. The spiller is anything that will trail over the edge of the pot. So, when you put these three things together, you'll have something tall, something medium and something trailing. It'll look full, it'll give you a lot of variety and usually these designs look great as soon as you plant them.