Container gardening guide | How to pot outdoor plants?
What is container gardening?
Container gardening or pot gardening consists of growing plants in anything from flower pots, to hanging baskets, as opposed to planting them in the ground in your garden.
There are a few different reasons as to why people like to plant in pots and containers. Some have no choice as they do not have the space available to plant in the ground. Others simply prefer the aesthetic of container gardening as it affords freedom to grow what you please. You also have the option to experiment with the types of containers that you use which can provide a focal point in your garden.
If you are interested in container plants and container gardening but don’t know where to start, keep reading to discover expert tips and tricks to ensure your plants thrive.
What potted plants need
Before you commit to potting plants, you first need to consider what potted plants need and whether or not you are going to be able to provide it. Whilst gardening can be a daunting prospect that requires time and energy, once a routine has been established and the initial groundwork has been done it is a cool hobby that many enjoy.
First things first, you need to ensure you have sufficient space to allow your potted plants to thrive. Whilst you can plant small plants in containers that don’t need much space, you can also plant large plants such as a small tree that can grow multiple feet tall. You need to assess the area that you have to work with and choose plants that are going to be able to fit and thrive in that area.
You need to ensure you have a location in which the plants have adequate access to sunlight. Ideally, the location for your plants should be exposed to full sun for at least 6 hours a day. If you cannot guarantee that level of exposure to the sun, you will instead need to opt for varieties of plants that have the ability to thrive in full shade.
Water is essential for all types of plants, including container plants. However, watering container plants is slightly different. Due to the fact that container plants are not directly in the ground like other garden plants, watering them is harder to get right.
It can be easy to over water container plants because they do not have an abundance of surrounding soil to soak up the water like garden plants do. They therefore need more regular watering but with lower amounts. You need to have the dedication to water your plants multiple times a day for them to thrive.
Temperature is something that you should be acutely aware of when growing container plants as each type of plant has an optimal temperature that they thrive in. Unlike with plants planted directly into the soil in your garden, you can actually move your potted plants. Therefore, if it looks like it's going to be particularly frosty one night, you can bring your plants inside your house to protect them from harsh temperatures.
Just like with any kind of plant, container plants need good quality soil which is high in nutrients. If you want additional nutrients, it is also a good idea to continue to supplement the soil with fertilizer or compost to boost the nutrients your plants are receiving.
Steps to pot outdoor plants
1. Choose your plants?
The first most important step to grow outdoor potted plants is to choose plants that you are realistically going to be able to maintain. For example, if your only outdoor space is a balcony and you work long hours, you’re probably going to want to grow small and fairly low maintenance plants to ensure you can look after them. On the other hand, if you’re retired and have a huge garden, you have far more options available for you to choose from.
Aesthetics might also come into question when choosing what kind of plant you want to grow. Picking a plant that goes with the decor and design of your outdoor space is a good idea to ensure satisfaction.
2. Choose your container ?
Choosing your container is arguably just as important as choosing your plant, and a lot of the same variables come into play. Firstly, there are the logistics of the container. You are going to want to buy a container that is going to be able to adequately house the plant you want to grow.
In addition, you should also make sure that the containers you choose for your plants have drainage holes. Drainage holes are holes in the bottom of the container that allow for good drainage. This is integral to ensure the plants do not get overwhelmed with water as it gives it somewhere to go. Once the logistics are out of the way, you can consider the aesthetics of the container. From container material to color, the choice is up to you.
3. Plant arrangement ?
Plant arrangement is a key part of growing container plants that people often overlook. It is possible, if you wish, to put a few different types of plants in one container, however, if you’re going to do this there are some things you should consider. For example, you want to put plants together that require a similar upkeep and that need a similar amount of sunlight.
4. Use plenty of soil?
Using a lot of soil in your plant pots is a guaranteed way to ensure your plants do not run out of moisture. We recommend not holding back on the soil, compost and fertilizer in your pots to ensure your plants receive the most nutrients.
5. Be patient ?
Patience is key when gardening. Some plants are slow growing and you need to be prepared for that. It is important that you maintain the upkeep of your plants continuously so that they thrive in the best way possible.
It is also important to remember that sometimes plants die and often there is nothing you could have done about it. Nonetheless, you should never let this discourage you because when you do achieve a healthy thriving plant, you will feel a sense of accomplishment like no other.
What are the best plants for outdoor pots?
If you are looking for a pretty plant that comes in a variety of colors, geraniums might be the right choice for your container. They tend to come into full bloom between spring and fall and can grow up to 24 inches tall. They make brilliant container plants due to the fact that they can withstand dry soil.
Ivy is a brilliant plant for pots and is often used alongside other flowers in one container as somewhat of a filler plant. Planting ivy around the edge of the pot can create a full illusion in the container itself. However, ivy’s ability to thrive in almost any condition means that it does occasionally grow out of control. It is therefore important that you keep an eye on the growth of your ivy and prune it when necessary.
Ornamental grass is often a popular choice for container plants, especially outdoor ones due to the sporadic way in which it grows. There is a long list of different types of ornamental grass, some with specific features, such as feathers or alternative coloring, that you can choose from. Ornamental grass is also a good filler option.
Angelonia is another type of plant that is quite tolerant and can deal with the sun and heat relatively well. Moreover, it is fairly easy to look after as it doesn’t need much pruning as the spent blooms don’t need to be picked off. If you are looking for a relatively low maintenance but pretty and vibrant plant, the angelonia might be the perfect option for you.
Growing and caring for container plants is often a full-time job, meaning other areas of your garden our outdoor space might be getting overlooked and left behind. Let our team of experts at Forever Green help you with your lawn maintenance. Our packages come in a variety of different price points, so you are sure to find one that fits your budget.