Thursday, May 17, 2012

Container Gardening Made Easy

I love planting my flower pots.

Shopping is half the fun. 
Wandering through Frey's Greenhouse,
browsing... choosing...
So many possibilities....

I'd love to buy up all that I see...
but I'm typically short on money,
not to mention time for maintenance.

So, I've developed some container gardening strategies to help save on both.

Focus flower pots where they'll provide the most effect. 

Since our deck feels somewhat disconnected from the yard,
a mass container planting helps bring the garden to the deck.
These containers make a huge impact on a well used area
and are well worth the effort.

Basic plastic pots (purchased on sale, of course) cut cost
and conserve water.

Since I can't spring for fancy planters, I make sure they're not the focus.
"Spiller" plants, creep down the planters,
making most of them nearly invisible by mid-summer.
The mass planting creates a corner of color.

Generous sized pots with drip pans help keep watering to a minimum
as they hold more water and allow for larger root systems.
Drip pans provide for overflow to ensure saturation of the soil without waste.
Watering thoroughlly, but less often
encourages healthy root systems.

I use mostly bargain 4 or 6 pack basic annuals to fill my pots.
Adding a few "splurge" plants provides interest without breaking the bank.
Over the years, I've learned which plants perform well in my area
with a minimum of care.


I'm fortunate to have free compost available at our
municipal recycling center, which I use
rather than purchasing potting soil.

I've begun mixing water absorbing granules into 
my potting soil
to help reduce watering.

My 8 oz. packet of Soil Moist Granules
will last me several years -
and help keep my containers going
in spite of my spotty watering schedule. 

Adding slow release granular fertilizer
keeps flowers blooming and growing effortlessly for months.

Enjoy the beauty of container gardening
with minimum cost and effort using these tips:

Cut Cost:
  • Focus on strategic locations
  • Basic containers
  • Use recycled compost
  • Add amendments to soil rather than purchasing pre-mixed
  • Utilize inexpensive 4 or 6 pack annuals, adding a few splurges for interest
Lower Maintenance:
  • Choose self-cleaning flowers (no dead-heading)
  • Generous planters (minimize watering)
  • Plastic or glazed containers with drip pans (minimize watering)
  • Add water absorbing crystals, such as Soil Moist (minimize watering)
  • Add slow release fertilizer (fertilize once and done for the season)


Søren said...

Your pots look amazing... The best performer in the pots in my own courtyard is currently a stinging nettle that has decided to grow in a pot where a rose died over the winter, which is not exactly the look I am aiming for, but you've given me some inspiration to bump the pots up a few notches on my to-do list.

greggo said...

Nice seminar!

Miss M said...

This is the best post ever on planting in containers. All the tips are so practical and easy to implement. I feel inspired to do some container gardening!

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

Do you mean that you plant in straight compost? I always thought you had to add something like potting soil so it wouldn't get too hard. I have lots of free compost.

Chris said...

Carolyn, I do use the compost from our municipal recycling center, straight, for potting soil and it has worked well for me. I'm not sure whether it is equivalent to the compost you have available. It's worth an experiment to see how it works for you.

Alistair said...

I also enjoy planting in containers, I shift them around as the mood takes me. Free compost! our council would charge for the air we breath if they got away with it. Enjoyed your post and fabulous pictures.

Carol Flett said...

Great post! I use local compost in mine too and it works well. I also make good use of my creeping Jenny in my hanging or tall planters. They are quite sensational hanging 4 or 5 feet down a wall.

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