A container garden offers countless opportunities for creativity in the landscape. You can enhance a house entryway with an elegant hanging basket and enliven a barren terrace with pots of greenery. You can screen an unattractive view and highlight a special landscape feature. Potted plants can hide a homely house foundation, soften the hard architecture of a balcony, and transform a blank wall into a kaleidoscope of color.
As with other types of gardens, the first step in creating a container garden is deciding on the result you want to achieve and how much time you are willing to invest in the project. All plants grown in containers require regular watering and feeding, but additional upkeep, such as pinching, pruning, training, and repotting, varies greatly from plant to plant.
When container-grown plants receive the right amount of light, moisture, and nutrients, they are usually among the most care-free plants in your garden. Because we keep them in places where we see them often and interact with them daily as we check their needs for water, small problems can be spotted quickly and fixed straightaway.
Gardeners can choose from a vast selection of plant containers, ranging from classic clay flowerpots to whimsical wire baskets to items rescued from the trash bin, such as worn boots or leaky wagons. The single feature every plant container must have is one or more drainage holes, so that excess water can escape rather than pool up around plant roots. When buying containers, always check for drainage holes, because it can be difficult or impossible to drill holes in certain materials, such as glazed ceramic, without cracking or destroying the pot.
It's tempting to think of container gardening as instant gardening because the planting process is so fast and easy. Choose a container and the plants you want to grow, add potting soil and water, and you're ready to go. However, plants grown in containers do have several special needs, because the small space and volume of soil in which the roots grow limit the amount of nutrients and water available. To help your container plants grow their best, it is important to use high-quality potting soil that allows for vigorous root growth, appropriate fertilizer to encourage healthy foliage and abundant flowering, and proper watering techniques that never leave plants parched and dry or drown them.
A pot teeming with petunias or a basket bursting with verbena is beautiful in its own way, and many gardeners like the unified look that comes from using one type of plant, often in one color, in a container. But combining different plant varieties in containers is easy and fun and never fails to satisfy the creative itch that all gardeners share. These days, container combinations, also called container bouquets, are very much in style, as you can see by visiting any botanical garden or garden center. Creating container bouquets is not at all difficult, because the design guidelines for success are simple to understand and put into action.
Every home, regardless of its size, has special spots that can be enlivened with beautiful plants grown in containers. There are literally hundreds of plants that are not only willing but eager to grow in the confined spaces of pots, baskets, window boxes, and planting boxes. Pair these container-compatible plants with the growing conditions they prefer, and you can enrich virtually any space in your yard with pleasing splashes of color and texture.