10 Steps to Container Gardening
Add instant color and texture to any part of your garden, porch or balcony with the art of container gardening! Gardening in pots allows you to have gorgeous plants surrounding you no matter how big, or small, your space is. Follow these 10 simple steps to make your very own paradise in a pot.
1. Choose a container
There are many container options available, so choose one that fits your style. Choose from glazed clay pottery, natural looking stone pots, brightly colored plastic, rustic metal containers or find a truly unique container. Make sure that your container has good drainage because soggy roots will kill your garden. No drainage? No problem. Either drill your own or line the bottom of the container with several inches of broken terracotta and small stones. Keep in mind that your plants will grow better in a larger container rather than a small one. More soil means more space for roots to grow. More roots mean prettier flowers!
2. Prepare your container
If your container is large and you are worried about the cost (or the weight) of filling the entire pot, simply turn sturdy recycled plastic pots upside down in the bottom of the container or use packing peanuts. If you don’t already have pots to use, we carry a selection of cheap insert options available in-store. Make sure not to choose a flimsy pot to use or the weight of the watered-in soil can collapse your garden.
3. Fill your container with soil
Choosing the right soil for your container garden is essential. The better the soil is, the better your plants’ roots, foliage and flowers will grow. We recommend Eko Organic All Purpose Potting Mix. Made locally here in Colorado, this potting mix has more nutrients than what you would find in other bagged mixes. Fill your container until the soil reaches couple of inches from the top. Make sure not to mound your soil, it should be about one inch beneath the top once finished. This will act as a water reservoir, giving your plants more time to hydrate themselves.
4. Add a good starter food
We love to use Bio Tone Plant Starter on what we plant both in the ground and in containers. This microbe-enhanced all natural plant food includes both endo & ecto mycorrhizae. You’ll grow a larger root mass to help plants establish quickly and promote bigger blooms, and Bio Tone reduces transplant loss.
5. Pick your plants
Choose plants that go together, not only by color but also those that need the same growing conditions. Planting sun-loving plants in a shaded area container, or visa versa, will be a disappointment after all your work. If you need some inspiration, check out our Container Garden Recipe Diagrams.
6. Prepare your plants
Get your planting project off to a healthy start by “cleaning” your plants first. Pick off any spent blooms or yellowing leaves. If any of your plants are root bound, score or carefully cut the roots which allows new roots to grow from the cuts. Pinch back any plants that are too tall or leggy. To trim your plants, cut directly above the node of leaves that sits at the height you desire. This will encourage side, instead of vertical, growth.
Position your tallest plants in the center of the pot, and the trailers around the edge. As you plant, make sure not to compress the soil. Instead of pressing the soil down, move it to the side to make room for your plants. Fill the soil back into the remaining space so that the plants are tucked securely in place.
Give your new plants a nice long drink. You want the water to run out of the drainage holes of the pot. If you don’t have drainage holes then you’ll want to water a little less you so don’t turn the soil into a bog.
Quite honestly, the simplest trick to great containers is to routinely fertilize them. Choose a fertilizer high in phosphate, which encourages blooming. We recommend Fertilome Rooting & Blooming, a great natural choice.
As the season progresses, be mindful to keep up on the maintenance of your container garden. Deadheading flowers will not only help your garden stay disease free, it will also encourage new flowers to form. Cut back the plants in your container garden if they get too wild so you can keep the desired shape and form. Or… let them go crazy and see just how big they will get!