Do you want to make simple, easy container gardens that wow? I am often complimented on my flower containers and asked about how to make them. There are hundreds of easy to make beautiful, elegant displays, but here are some great suggestions for beginners.
Gather your containers. The larger the container, the more flowers you will need. Smaller containers will need more frequent watering since they will dry out quickly. When in doubt, go bigger.
Check containers for drainage. They should have small holes on the bottom, often with a tray underneath. You can drill holes in some containers, such as old metal watering cans. You can also create drainage by adding some rocks or broken clay pot pieces to the bottom of the pot.
Fill containers with potting soil. Yes, you will have to buy this. Garden soil is often too heavy. If your containers are very large, over 20 inches in diameter or so, you can fill in part of the bottom with empty soda cans or small plastic bottles. This will allow you to use less potting soil and make the container lighter.
Purchase plants. Do not mix shade loving plants and sun loving plants in the same container. If you don’t know the difference, go to a garden center; plants there are usually arranged into sun or shade sections. I usually use annuals in my containers and save perennials for the yard. Here are some suggestions of what to buy.
For each container:
Something tall, such as this spike. Something trailing, such as vinca, sweet potato vine or ivy. Something soft or textural such as asparagus fern, alyssum or velvet leafed plants such as Dusty Miller. Something colorful. Great annuals for sun loving container gardens include geraniums, petunias, cosmos, snapdragons, pinks, and lobelia. For shade loving containers go with impatiens, coleus, fuchsia and begonia. Consider color combinations to find things that work well together. I love pinks and purples together. Other great combinations are yellow and blue or purple, red and white, or a mixture of hot, bright colors such as orange and fuchsia. I also like to add something white to each planter. White shows up beautifully at night. Plant the tall plant in the middle. Next plant the trailing plants near the edges. I plant the soft or textural plant on the edges as well. Fill around the edges with the flowering plants.
If you want to add some fun, add a stake. I love stakes for adding height and whimsy. This little cow stake belongs in this milk pail planter! To add presence, raise your planter off of the ground. Consider plant stands, old wooden boxes, cement blocks, or planter “feet”, which you can buy at garden centers. Be creative, look around for what you have, an old chair, broken wagon or metal pail can be transformed in plant stands. Your plants will grow larger and fill out the container. Water frequently, every day in very warm weather. Your container garden should beautifully last throughout the season.
“Earth laughs in flowers.” Ralph Waldo Emerson