Container gardens are an excellent way to use otherwise wasted space and beautify your home. Well-done container gardens can add curb appeal – and you can take your plants with you if you decide to sell your home, without leaving unsightly holes in your yard. Container gardens also afford you a great deal of flexibility in growing your plants – if a plant isn’t getting enough sun, for example, you can easily move the container to a more suitable location. Container gardens are a chance to flex your creative muscles or even upcycle junk to a functional, decorative purpose.
Choosing Your Plants
Start planning your container garden by choosing suitable plants. Not all plants tolerate the growing conditions of containers. Most herbs, some flowers and select fruits and vegetables work for container gardening, giving you a mix of decorative and functional plants to choose from.
Some examples of suitable container plants include but aren’t limited to the following:
● Herbs: rosemary, lavender, mint, thyme, oregano, basil and chicory
● Flowers: marigolds, zinnias, pansies, petunias, geraniums, and dahlias
● Fruits: strawberries, blueberries, figs, bananas, and pineapples
● Vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, potatoes, lettuce, and peas
If you already have a plant in mind, do some research to see if it’s suitable for a container and what kind of conditions it’ll need – not all containers for gardening are created equal and a container suitable for a patch of marigolds is quite different than one suited to a root vegetable like a potato.
Choosing Your Containers
Choose your containers based on the needs of the plants you’ve chosen. Some plants require a shallow container with plenty of drainage — pansies, for example. Others, like radishes and potatoes, require a lot of depth to properly grow. If you’ve chosen a plant that climbs or trails like cucumbers or peas, you’ll need to figure out a container that includes a trellis or other support for optimal growth.
While it’s completely possible to stop by any home and garden center and pick out a container to suit your needs and aesthetics, it’s also possible to upcycle materials you might already have on hand. A stack of old tires, for example, makes an excellent container for root crops. Old watering cans, buckets with holes and even old shoes can be given new life as part of your container garden. Clean up any upcycled containers and consider giving them a new coat of paint to make them stand out (in a good way!)
The Care and Keeping of a Container Garden
Container gardens lose water faster than plants situated in the ground. You’ll need to water your container garden more often than you would those same plants in the soil. Consider a timed irrigation system or in-pot watering bulbs to cut down on the work.
You’ll also need to fertilize your container garden more often than you would an in-ground garden: the watering washes away vital nutrients from the pot. Learn your plant’s needs and meet them with a properly formulated fertilizer on a schedule that suits your garden’s needs.
Starting a container garden eliminates the loss of plants due to unexpected frosts or storms damage. Simply take your plants into your home, garage or shed when the weather is predicted to be cold or otherwise inhospitable to your container garden plants and move them back out when the weather is more suitable.
DIY Container Gardens
Container gardening is a chance to grow plants without fussing over the soil as you would an in-ground garden: there’s no need to prepare a bed, till or turn the soil or weed. Simply choose your plants, choose containers that meet the needs of those plants and take care of them regularly and you’ll have a bright, colorful and fertile garden blossoming in no time.