Create simple, stunning containers
you’ll love to show off.
It’s the ultimate treat to come home to a pot wowing you with knock-out flowers and foliage that looks good for weeks. Lasting container garden success is easy to achieve with the right mix of pots, soil, and plants. These three ingredients are key to fashioning portable color and texture that will fix up any forlorn space in the landscape from balconies to benches. To fashion inviting mini gardens with a dash of intrigue, follow our easy container gardening guide.
All great containers have one thing in common — excellent drainage. Without drainage holes, a lushly planted container will soon become a soggy, rotten mess. A cast-iron urn, fluted terra-cotta pot, resin container or basket all boast excellent drainage capacity.
When purchasing terra-cotta or ceramic containers, look for pots that have drainage holes. Plastic or wood containers without drainage holes can be remedied with the help of a drill. Add four or five 1/2-inch-diameter drainage holes per square foot of surface area on the bottom of the container. Cover the drainage holes with three sheets of newspaper or landscape fabric to keep the soil in the container while allowing the water to freely drain.
Traditional planting containers are made of metal, terra-cotta, wood, or plastic. Plan on watering terra-cotta or wood containers daily because their soil will dry out faster. Metal or plastic containers typically can be watered every other day. For a lightweight and moisture-retentive container, select plastic resin pots molded and glazed to resemble terra-cotta or stone containers.
For an unexpected look, transform an everyday object into a pot. Almost anything — from cast-off grain troughs to mesh bicycle baskets — can work as a planting container. Use a drill to add drainage holes to previously watertight vessels, and line baskets with moist sphagnum moss or coco fiber — porous materials that allow water to freely drain.
Flowers and Foliage
For an eye-pleasing container combo, select a trio of upright, mounding, and trailing plants. The upright plants serve as a focal point, while the mounding plants fill in gaps with splashes of color, and the trailers mask the edge of the pot.
The wide world of plants offers up an expansive palette of fine flowers and foliage for container gardens. Regardless of the type of plants you choose, ensure a healthy plant combination by selecting plants that will thrive in the amount of light and moisture the container will receive. For example shade-loving plants are a good choice for porch and low-light patio containers.