If you follow these 5 tips for successful container gardening you will not only save time but money, frustration, and possibly embarrassment. As this is an increasingly popular venue for gardening, container gardening is making a fashion statement. Container gardens are already very popular for entries, patios, and decks. Maybe you’ve thought about incorporating them into your office or home but haven’t. If by chance you feel a little overwhelmed on the basics, here are 5 tips for successful container gardening, even if it’s your first.
Before you run off in all directions as if you had 2 hours to create a masterpiece, pause to do some planning. First think about what type of feeling you want to have, when you look at your container. For me, I want to feel like I’ve walked into my own “secret garden” and have a sense of calm. I think about how it will smell, and feel among other things. Is it going to be a focal point in a room, or mixed in as part of a theme? Will it be the centerpiece on a table, or placed in a semi-lit hallway?
Anything can be used as a container. If you are purchasing a container from the store, choose ones with drainage holes. However, if you can poke, drill or carve a hole in it then use it. Container gardens have been made from tables, old pots, milk cartons, cans, gloves, boots, pocketbooks, suitcases, pots, pans, and mailboxes, just to name a few. You can be creative and recycle items to use as containers. Allow yourself to be creative. Be sure to clean it out, and let it dry thoroughly. If you’ve used any chemicals or any type of varnish, clean and let dry. Look around for anything that can be shaped to hold dirt.
Use containers larger than the root ball of your plant, considering the size of the mature plant. This is really important and sometimes we forget about how big the plant may actually grow or say to ourselves we’ll just transplant it as it grows. Therefore, you want your roots to be able to expand; otherwise the plant is going to eventually die. So read the information card to get a good idea of what size container you will ultimately need.
Use a good potting soil, compost, or combination of both. I didn’t realize how many types and combination soils are available. Just because a bag of soil is on sale, doesn’t mean it’s good. Think of your soil as a primary food for your plant’s food chain. To get the desired results it pays to know what’s in a particular soil and if it what your plant/flower needs. Also, sometimes the soil may be too heavy for what you are planting. Just filling a pot up with dirt and stuffing your starter plant therein, may cause you to waste time and money.
In most containers the weight and scale of a container can become an issue when the pot has to be transported to a new location. The best thing to do is to move your pot to its final location before you plant it. You do have the option of reducing the overall weight of a large container. You can fill it with lightweight potting soil, ceramic beads, Styrofoam, broken pieces of pot, drainage gravel, pine cones, aluminum cans, or small plastic nursery pots. I’ve even used an empty plastic milk carton.
Select plants that suit your light conditions. Too much sun for one plant will kill it while doing little sun for another plant will do the same. Full sun means your plant will receive a minimum of six hours of sunlight daily.
If you follow these 5 tips, you will experience success in container gardening with succulents or other flowers. You won’t pull your hair out, or throw darts at a dartboard out of frustration because you can get it right the first time!