Tips on Container Gardening5/8/2014

Should I choose a neutral color for my pottery so I won't get tired of it?

When choosing pottery, you will certainly get tired of it if you select boring neutral pottery.  Pottery is your opportunity to let your inner color out and surprise yourself with how a colorful piece of pottery can lift your spirits and change your garden.  When you select a piece of pottery that you truly like, you will be excited to bring it out for years to come. 

How do select the right size container?

For the best impact and to allow for plant growth, choose containers that are 18" or larger in diameter and height.  A container 24" or larger is always a great investment  The larger the pot the better the design options available for grouping plants together.  The larger pots will also provide more soil space for plants to grow and will not dry out as quickly as smaller pots.  When too many smaller containers are used, you must spend more time watering and your area may appear cluttered.  Mixing larger and medium sized containers with a few small pots creates a much better "arrangement" then many of the same size. 

Do all my pots have to match?

The sky is the limit when it comes to color.  Don't feel that you can't mix and match the larger containers  If you are trying to blend pots near your house, find complimentary colors and patterns without trying to match the house color.  When grouping pots together, it is best to tie them together by using the same color throughout the collection, however the pots do not have to match.  With the "running glazes" found in today's collections, it is easy to find pots with at least one common color found in each pot. 

Feet or no feet? 

Using "Pottery Feet" is a great way to allow for great drainage of your container, it also will help prevent staining of your deck or patio.   Saucers come in a large variety of colors and sizes, these also help to prevent staining your patio or deck.   

Give me the dirt on soil.

It is always good practice to replace the soil in your containers each year.  The soil from last year is now deplete of vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy plants.  If you had any problems with fungus, disease or insects in your prior planting, it is important to rinse the empty pot with a little bleach water before refilling it with new soil.  Always use a good grade of potting soil, and never use top soil  Using a soil that has moisture retaining properties helps with the watering schedule.  I always use "Soil Moist" when planting.  Remember to fully hydrate this before you mix it in with your soil.  Using Quick Start as your first watering will ensure your plants are off to a great start.

How do I choose my plants?

When planting a container, you can literally plant rootball-to-rootball in a container.  This will give you a lush, full look for your container.  Don't be shy, you can put as many plants as you think your container will hold.  You should approach container planting like a floral arrangement.  Tall-light airy items provide height  You can also use small trees and shrubs.  Some exciting ideas are Japanese Maples, Boxwoods, Sky Pencil Holly, -- all of which will provide height and leave you room to plant around  It is fun to invest in some tender tropical plants to add the "wow" factor for the summer  You may want to use canna, elephant ears or banana's for a truly impressive container. Don't forget to include some filler plants such as Impatiens, Geraniums or coleus  Finish your container with some trailing plants around the edge such as Bacopa, Lobeila, Sweet Potato Vine.

How often do I have to water?

Where you place your containers determines the watering required.  If they are in a shady spot, you can water less frequently  If they are in a sunny location, they may need a daily watering.  My favorite solution to watering is using a drip system, put together with spider hose and mini sprinklers.  This can be put on a timer that is attached to your hose bib, and takes all the guess work out of watering your masterpiece.