What’s the best thing about gardening using containers? The answer? Anybody can do do it!
Beginner or advanced gardener. Homeowner or renter. Large yard, small yard. No yard. Deck, patio, porch, front steps, balcony, roof…window boxes. Grow flowers, foliage, vegetables and herbs for display and decoration, fragrance and recipe ingredients. Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you want to grow…the opportunities for container gardening are limitless.
Container planters, available in a wide variety of styles, shapes and sizes, offer you the most gardening versatility. Before you start though, you’ve got to understand these five container gardening basics!
Virtually any container can be used. Use wire and metal baskets lined with coconut coir, terra cotta, clay, plastic and ceramic pots, wooden barrels and tubs, planter boxes. The options are endless.
Always consider, though, how well they help–or hinder–plant growth and make sure they have an adequate number of holes in the bottom for proper drainage. Additional holes may be needed in containers that do not drain quickly. If re-purposing a container, make sure it has not previously contained any toxic materials.
A good choice for every container is all-natural coco liners. They make great container liners, particularly for wire and metal planters, stands and hanging baskets. They keep soil in and aid in keeping it moist. Coco liners also can be used with hard-wall planters.
Plus, coco is naturally resistant to insects, bacteria, fungi, mold and diseases. Known for their excellent drainage and aeration properties, coco liners promote visibly better, faster plant growth by rehydrating easily while preventing root rot.
Generally speaking, most plants can grow in containers. The size of the container should be chosen based on the plants you choose. Make sure your container provides ample space for the plant to develop roots.
A truly unique feature of container gardening is mobility. You can move your plants for decorative effect…in order to follow sun or shade… or in response to changes in seasons and weather. Coco planters and soilless mixtures are lighter and will make your containers more mobile. If you have larger plants and containers, consider a rolling plant caddy. Most plants require a minimum of 5 hours of sunlight a day and some, like tomato plants, even more. With containers, you have the advantage of moving your plants to determine the optimum amount of sun they require to thrive.
Containers may lose moisture quickly, especially if they are placed in full sun. Pay close attention to your container plantings. The volume of soil is relatively small, so daily or even twice-daily watering may be required. Larger containers will hold more more soil and moisture so plants won’t dry out between waterings. Water your plant until the water runs out of the coco liner or drainage holes. Terra cotta, clay and other porous pots also allow additional evaporation from the sides of the pots. If your soil tends to be overly dry or if the plants wilt, place your containers close to one another. The foliage can help to create shade for the soil to keep it cool and moist. Nowadays, you can even find containers that include a water reservoir at the bottom that allows for less frequent watering.
Placing containers on solid surfaces reduces drainage. Raise the container an inch or two by placing it on blocks of wood or use gardening vinyl saucers that keep the plant out of standing water while protecting carpets, floors, furniture, deck and porches. And consider using hanging baskets.
A major advantage to container gardening is that you control the soil or growing mixture. A good potting soil mix is recommended over soil from your garden. A mix of potting soil with peat, perlite or vermiculite holds moisture longer and will drain well. Many gardeners choose soilless potting mixes when gardening with containers. These mixes can be purchased from garden centers. Both potting soil and soilless mixtures will be lighter in weight, will drain quickly and won’t compact as the season goes on.
Container gardening is popular because it puts you, the gardener in control…able to grow what you like, wherever you like.