Container gardens can be a great pastime and an engaging hobby idea, besides being a colorful way to add beauty and life to your home and surroundings. It does require some effort, but with the right guidance, you’ll be proud of what you own. We tell you here how to plant container gardens and how to take care of your creation.
Container Gardens for Beginners
Make a list before you go plant-shopping
The list needn’t be very specific, though you could actually go online and pick out the exact plants you want for your garden. Before making the list, decide the area where you plan to plant your container gardens, get an idea of the number of pots you might require- how many of them will be in the sun, how many in the shade and so on. This is particularly important because when planning a container garden, you have to keep in mind the light needs of your greens. Some plants need a lot of sunlight to thrive while others grow happily in shade. Your list, even without being specific about which plant you have to pick, should be able to give you a fair idea of how many pots you’re planning for- so you can get an approximate number of plants- and how many of them will be in the sun/shade; so you can choose your plants accordingly.
Plant tags contain useful information about the plant- they can tell you how big your plant will grow, whether it is annual or perennial, what kind of climate it requires, whether it grows in sun/shade, how much food, water, care etc. it requires and so on. So, it is important you either preserve these tags or save them in some other form (like pictures on your smartphone!) They also come handy when you’re deciding upon your container garden design. For instance, for a large pot, you may need some plants that grow to a height, others that are fillers and yet others that have trailing habits- plant tags can reveal to you the “habits” of your plant.
Container garden drainage
To get started you begin with selecting a pot. Keep in mind that your pot should be spacious enough to let your plant spread its roots out properly and it should have ample holes for drainage. If there aren’t enough holes to drain water out, then the excess water in the soil can cause the roots of your plants to rot, leading the plant to die. If you find that the pot you got doesn’t have enough holes, drill or carve holes or make the existing ones bigger- ideally drainage holes for small to medium pots should be at least half inch wide.
As far as a pot is concerned, it could be any material- you get wood, plastic, ceramic and terracotta pots in the market, but bear in mind that terracotta pots dry up faster, so you will need to water them more frequently.
Select your soil judiciously
Don’t buy low quality cheap soil and don’t use your garden soil. Go for quality potting soil that has peat moss, compost, vermiculite and/or rotted manure.
Keep the “light” factor in mind
While you can grow almost anything in your container garden- from herbs and flowers to vegetables, it is important to understand how much light a plant needs to thrive. When you pair plants together, both should have similar light requirements. A plant that grows well in sun cannot be planted along with one that grows in shade.
Container garden companion planting
Plant trees with similar light and water requirements together. To know this, read the plant tags or if there isn’t any, ask the salesperson or check it out on the internet.
Container Garden Arrangements
You could have a number of interesting container garden combinations based on your choice of color and foliage. In general most container garden designs have a first row of upright plants that give height to your garden, then some fillers and finally a trailing blooming plant that beautifully outlines the garden.
Water your plants abundantly
Plants in container gardens need to be watered more frequently than those in the normal gardens. Especially if you have hanging containers, the soil dries out faster because of the wind. In summers, you may have to water every day- in general; water whenever the water feels dry to touch.
Fertilize at frequent intervals
Potting soil generally has slow release fertilizer but it’s good to add a few drops of liquid fertilizer every time you water your plants and veggies.
Remove plants when necessary
When you notice your blooms fading away, simply clip them (for large flowers) or shear back the entire plant by a third (for plants with tiny flowers). This process will allow a whole new fresh crop to come out.