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Tips for Growing Container Plants


Choosing a Container for Container Gardening
Window boxes, decorative containers, and even bags of soil can make good vessels for your container garden.

  • Plant annuals in a big bag of potting soil for a quick, easy balcony garden. This method, commonly used in England, is still a novelty here and will make a great conversation piece:

    • Lay the bag flat on the ground where you want a mini garden. Punch a few small drainage holes in the bottom.

    • You can cut one large opening in the top side for several plants, letting them intermingle in a decorative planting scheme. Or make several individual planting holes for a working garden of annual vegetables and herbs.

    • The plastic wrapper will help to keep the soil inside moist. But when it does begin to dry out, or needs water-soluble fertilizer as a plant pick-me-up, carefully drizzle water or water-soluble fertilizer inside to moisten the entire bag.

      A bag of potting soil makes a quick, easy container garden.
      A bag of potting soil makes a quick, easy container garden.

  • Use care when planting in decorative containers. Lovely bark, wicker, wood, and even fine pottery pots and urns make handsome containers. But some of them have one big drawback -- they can be damaged by water. Regardless, you can still use them for plants, but only as an ornamental cover over a working pot below. Here is the trick:

    • Plant in a plastic pot that has no drainage holes or that sits on a plastic saucer, which will prevent moisture spills.

    • The pot, and saucer if used, must be smaller than the decorative container.

    • Put a layer of plastic inside the container, then set the potted plant on top.

    • Cover the top of the pots with sheet moss or other natural fibers to hide the mechanics below. This combination will be temporary at best and require careful watering so the plant roots won't be drowned or dried. Once every couple of months, remove the potted plant and water thoroughly, draining off the excess moisture to wash out salts that will build up in the soil.

      This combination will be temporary at best and require careful watering so the plant roots won't be drowned or dried. Once every couple of months, remove the potted plant and water thoroughly, draining off the excess moisture to wash out salts that will build up in the soil.

  • Use window boxes to brighten your house with flowers and add height to surrounding gardens.

    • Elegant window boxes can feature flowers that match the color of nearby curtains, carpets, shrubs, or shutters.

    • Some cascading ivy, vinca vine, or vining petunias will soften the geometric outlines of the window box.

    • Grow herbs such as thyme, basil, and parsley in a kitchen window box.

  • Look for self-watering planters if you aren't home enough to keep potted plants from drying out (or if you forget to water every day or two). Self-watering planters have a water reservoir in the bottom that's connected to the pot by a water-absorbing wick. When the soil begins to get dry, the wick pulls up more water from the reservoir.

Keep reading for more tips on preparing your containers for planting.

Want more gardening tips? Try visiting these links:

  • Gardening Tips: Learn great helpful hints for all of your gardening needs.
  • Annuals: Plant these beauties in your garden.
  • Perennials: Choose great plants that will return year after year.
  • Gardening: Discover how to garden.

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