Container gardening is a hot trend these days and for good reason. Anything can be grown in a container from lettuce to citrus trees. Containers enable apartment dwellers to enjoy growing something on a deck or balcony. People with limited mobility can grow something without having to navigate a muddy garden path. Window boxes give even the dullest spot a charming, cottage garden appeal. Those with a larger garden can create a focal point or add a splash of color to an area where instant color is needed. There is no end to what you can do using containers.
It’s easy to change the plants with the seasons. In spring you can have bulbs. When the weather heats up, change your plants to more heat loving varieties like geraniums, petunias, miniature roses, herbs and grasses. Fall arrives and you change a few plants again using cabbages, kale and chrysanthemums. When cold weather sets in, plants to use for winter interest might be shrubs like red twig dogwood or a small conifer. Because we’re working with a limited number of plants in a small area the cost can be as reasonable or as extravagant as you want it to be.
For those with larger gardens, using perennials in your containers has the bonus of adding more plants to your garden. Instead of throwing away annual plants at the end of the growing season, the perennials can be planted where you have a bare spot (is there such a place?) or left in the container.
Container gardening allows you to let your imagination go wild. A container can be anything that holds soil. Plant in old shoes, old tins, pots, kettles, colanders, purses or fishing creels. Or spend a bundle on a fabulous pot. Container styles vary from the common terracotta strawberry pot that has many small pockets along the sides, to formal extravagantly glazed Asian urns. Consider matching the plants with the style of the container for the look you’re trying to achieve.
Consider whether or not you’ll be moving your container around. A large planted container can be extremely heavy. In a windy location large leafy plants act like a sail and a heavy container can act as an anchor. Consider a lighter material like plastic or resin if you’ll be moving your plants around. If you’ll be leaving the container out year round, choose one that won’t be damaged by freezing weather.
Your container MUST have a drainage hole! You can place a container with drainage inside a container without, just be sure to elevate the container holding the plants up, out of standing water.
Containers are fertilized more often because nutrients leach away more quickly. Use a slow release fertilizer or fertilize lightly every few times you water.
One of the best things about container gardening is that in a very short time you can have completed a project that will give you satisfaction for the rest of the season.