Container gardens create a natural sanctuaries along busy city streets, on rooftops or even on balconies.
The key is to come up with creative containers that are pleasing to the eye and meet your needs.
You can easily accentuate the welcoming look of a deck or patio with colorful pots of annuals, or fill your window boxes with beautiful shrub roses or any number of small perennials.
Many vegetables also perform well in containers and offer those without in ground garden space an opportunity to grow their own fruits, herbs or vegetables.
Whether you arrange your pots in a group for a massed effect or highlight a smaller space with a single specimen, this is a simple way to create a garden in an area where you cannot or do not wish to plant in the ground.
Color, Height And Texture
Container gardening enables you to easily vary your color scheme to match your outdoor decor or the season.
As each plant finishes flowering, you can remove the faded blooms or simply replace it with another plant.
Whether you choose to harmonize or contrast your colors, make sure there is variety in the height of each plant.
Ideally you want a tall plant in the center, a draping plant around the edges and a plant that is about half the height of the taller plant in between the other two.
People refer to these as the thriller (tall center plant), filler (center plant) and spiller (draping plant).
Think also of the shape and texture of the leaves. Tall strap-like leaves will give a good vertical background to low-growing, wide-leafed plants.
Be sure to choose plants with different leaf textures or even a variegated plant for variety.
Choose plants with a long flowering season, or have plants of a different type ready to replace them as they finish blooming.
Creative Container Ideas
Experiment with creative containers after all there are no right or wrong answers here.
You might have an old porcelain bowl or copper urn you can use, or perhaps you’d rather make something really modern with timber or tiles.
This is a good way to re-use or re-cycle something that you already own.
Do not worry too much about how ornamental the containers are. Once the plants grow, most of the containers are going to be hidden.
If you decide to buy your containers ready-made, terracotta pots look wonderful.
Be sure to consider flea markets, garage sales and second hand stores when you are looking for containers.
You don’t want your plants to dry out, so paint the interior of these pots with a special sealer available from hardware stores or be prepared to water frequently which is my choice as I do not want the chemicals around my plants.
Cheaper plastic pots can be painted on the outside with water-based paints.
When purchasing pots, don’t forget to buy matching saucers to catch the drips. This will save cement floors getting stained, or timber floors rotting.
Just remember not to let the saucers hold water so you do need to lift the pots and empty them after it rains or after you water.
Choose The Right Potting Mix
Always use a good quality potting mix in your containers.
This will ensure the best performance possible from your plants.
There are special potting mixes made for containers that help hold water in the soil.
If you are like me and prefer to make up your own soil mixture, you can get additives to put into it that help the soil hold moisture.
Containers dry out quickly during the hot summers so anything you can do to help the soil hold more moisture really helps your plants to thrive.
Positioning Your Container Garden
If you have steps leading up to your front door, an attractive pot filled with colorful plants on each step is sure to delight your visitors.
Decide ahead of time where you want your pots to be positioned, then buy plants that suit the situation.
There is no point buying sun lovers for a shady position, because they will not do well.
Some plants have really large roots, so they are not suited to growing in containers.
If you have plenty of space at your front door, a group of potted plants off to one side is a lot more visually appealing than two similar plants placed on each side.
Unless they are spectacular, similar plants placed like this can look boring.
Group the pots in odd numbers, and vary the height and type.
To tie the group together, add large rocks that are similar in appearance and just slightly different in size.
Three to five pots of the same type and color, but in different sizes also work to tie the group together.
With a creative mind and some determination, you will soon have a container garden that will be the envy of the neighborhood.
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