Container Gardening for Newbies 1

container gardening

If you are low on space in your backyard for a full-blown garden, then container gardening is for you. Container gardens can help create a more lively place on a busy city street, along rooftops or on balconies. You can easily decorate the deck or patio with colorful pots of annual flowers (flowers that live for only one growing season), or fill your flower pots with beautiful roses or any number of small perennials (flowers that regrow every spring). Whether you group your flower pots for a massed effect or highlight a smaller space with a single species, you’ll be delighted with this simple way to create a garden.

Container gardening lets you easily diversify your color scheme, and as each plant finishes its cycle, it can easily be replaced with another. Whether you choose similar or contrasting colors, make sure there is a difference in the height of each plant. You also need to consider the shape and texture of the leaves. Tall strap-like leaves will provide a good vertical background to low-growing, wide-leaved plants. Choose plants with a long flowering season, or have others of a different kind ready to replace them as they finish their blooming season.

Experiment with different and creative containers. You might have an old porcelain bowl or copper urn lying around that you can use, or perhaps you’d rather create something modern with timber or tiles. If you decide to buy your container that is ready-made, terracotta pots look wonderful (and you can color it if you’d like to add a little creativity) but tend to absorb water. You don’t want your plants to dry out, so it is best to paint the interior of these pots with a special sealer available from most hardware stores.

If you are low on money, cheaper plastic pots can also be painted on the outside with water-based paints for better effect.  When purchasing pots, don’t forget to buy matching drainage tray to catch the drips. This will save your cement floors from getting stained, or timber floors from rotting. Always use a good quality potting soil in your containers. This will help your plants live longer.

If you have front door steps, an attractive pot plant on each one will enchant and welcome your visitors. Indoors, flowers and plants in pots help create a homely and welcoming atmosphere.

Decide in advance where you want your pots to be placed, then buy the type of plants that suit the situation. There is no point in buying sun loving plants and placing them in a shady position because they will not grow well. Some plants also have really large roots, so they are best placed in an open garden.

If you have enough space in front of your front door, a group of potted plants off to one side will be more visually attractive than two similar plants placed on each side. Unless they are dazzling, they will look pretty boring.

You can group the pots in odd numbers rather than even, and vary the height and type of each plant. To connect the group together, add large rocks that are similar in appearance but slightly different in size. Three or five pots of the same type and color, but in different sizes also look expressive.

With an imaginative mind and some persistence, you will soon have a container garden that will be the envy of your friends and strangers alike.

Photo: marin/

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