The beauty of container gardens is that just about anything in the world will grow well in one type of container or another and, you can call just about anything in a pot a “Container Garden”! Even better, you can put containers virtually anywhere in any space available. And, you can even rearrange things any time you want!
The small, localized space of a container offers other advantages as well. For example, it is very easy to experiment with different soil and nutrient mixtures and how different species of plants react. Container gardens also provides the opportunity to experiment with color, spacing, and heights.
All that being said, there are some dos and don’ts that need to be followed for successful container gardens. Here are some tips you should keep in mind.
- Match the space requirements of the plants you are using to the size of the container. It helps to know how big the plants will be when mature and how much space (width and depth) they will require to grow successfully. Remember, as your plant grows so does the root system as well. Too many plants in a small area will stress the whole system by drying out the soil very quickly and not allowing the roots to spread naturally.
Don’t make the mistake of not having drainage in your containers. Not only are holes required but also an inch or so of gravel in the bottom is not a bad idea. If you are in love with a particular container that doesn’t have drainage, put your plant in a small plastic container with holes. Then use the plastic container as an insert. Just be very careful not to over water. Or, if you are handy, you can drill a hole in the bottom of your favorite container. This can be challenging and does require a power drill as well as a specialty bit.
Select plants that have similar requirements. Having different watering schedules can get confusing if you aren’t paying attention. If you mix a drought tolerant species with a plant that requires frequent watering and don’t stick to a pretty specific watering schedule you are going to either drown the one or dry out the other.
Your container gardens efforts are going to look best when the plants are in proportion to the size of the container. A good rule of thumb is to keep the plant height no more than one to two times the height of the container itself and plant width about the same. Of course, this is a suggestion only and it is fun to experiment with both size and color.
Use potting soil rather than garden soil in a container. A healthy mix will include peat to retain moisture without constant watering (which is bad for container plants). Keep the soil mix loose and don’t compact it.
My last tip is to have fun and experiment with a number of different plants as the seasons change. Don’t hesitate to switch out any plant that is past its prime, nothing lives forever!