Growing in containers has enjoyed a real surge in popularity in recent years. And, it’s no wonder! Possibilities for beautiful and useful container gardens are endless and limited only by your imagination.
Pre-planted container gardens are widely available or you can also plant your own. When choosing a container garden, keep in mind where it will be located, the number of hours of sun or shade available there and the purpose you have for it. Remember that container gardens can be that jewel spot of color on your front step, a stunning focal point in your lush garden, a froth of lacy blossoms for color and fragrance to enjoy on your patio table, a pot for a tomato or other veggies or herbs on your deck, or any combination of these. The important note here is that all the plants in your container must require the same light and moisture conditions to do well. Here are a few tips to keep your container garden looking its luxurious best.
Water: the bigger the pot, the easier it will be to keep it evenly moist. Be sure the container has an opening in the bottom so excess water can drain out. Don’t keep it soggy wet, but never let it go bone dry either. Pots in full sun will need to be checked especially often. Sun shining on the side of the pot on a hot afternoon can heat the soil to killing temperatures or dry it so quickly that you may need to water several times a day.
Fertilizer: Because the needed watering schedule for container gardens tends to flush nutrients out of the pot, most container gardens need frequent and regular feeding to maintain that full lush appearance. Feeding frequent diluted doses of fertilizer is preferable to one large dose every few weeks. Think "weakly-weekly", rather than once a month. Suit the type of fertilizer to the plants in the pot. For instance, color pots of annuals expected to bloom profusely should be fed a fertilizer labeled for blooming plants. Feed tomatoes tomato food on a regular schedule. On the other hand, herbs have best flavor when fed only once or twice a season with a minimum dose of balanced organic food. Check with our knowledgeable staff if you need guidance.
Deadhead, deadhead, deadhead!! Removing spent flowers before plants can waste energy setting seed, and pinching longer scraggly branches will result in a tidier, fuller container with more blossoms than letting your plants run away with themselves. Attention to deadheading is probably the most effective way to keep your container garden in prime condition. If your container is looking leggy and mostly green, cut it back by a third, feed it and give it a couple of weeks to recover.
Replace: Some plants are happier in the cooler ends of the season while others appreciate much warmer weather. Don’t be nervous about pulling out any plant that is looking tired or performing poorly. There are plenty of replacement plants available! Just a few minutes of effort can produce a pot with a fresh and fabulous new look!