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Solutions to Container Garden Challenges

Container plants offer a simple way to maximize small spaces. Despite their convenience, planning them properly is essential to success.

Solutions to Container Garden Challenges

By choosing the right plants and pots, and developing an efficient watering and fertilizing schedule, you'll keep your containers working for you. Here are solutions to some common container garden challenges.

If your containers are:

Containers in cooler climates

In Cooler Climates

Containers will need to be replanted each year or taken indoors for the cold season. For instant colour, get a hanging basket with a fully mature plant that has lots of flowers and replant it in an outdoor container.
Containers that overheat


Use light-coloured planters. For plants in full sun, soil can overheat and damage roots, especially if plants are in black or dark-coloured pots. Wood and resin planters offer better insulation against hot sun.
Containers that dry out quickly

Drying Out Quickly

To decrease the amount of water needed, consider the size and material of the containers. Non-porous containers like plastic or resin will hold moisture longer. Clay pots can dry out quickly, especially if they're small, so make sure the plant size is appropriate to the pot. Moving a container to an eastern spot will decrease the amount of sun exposure and reduce the drying out of plants.
Containers that aren’t thriving

Not Thriving

Well-fed blooms live longer. Consistent fertilizing will keep plants healthy and in full bloom. Choose a potting soil with a slow-release fertilizer and keep your plants well fed throughout the season with bi-weekly feedings of liquid fertilizer. Also avoid overwatering, which can flush out important nutrients.
Containers in need of an efficient watering system

In Need of an Efficient Watering System

Consider setting up a customized drip-irrigation system for containers to be watered efficiently. Combining drip-emitter rings, tubing and a timer will reduce the amount of water used and keep containers moist and healthy.
Containers that are not draining properly

Not Draining Properly

If the hole in the bottom is not draining well, use pot feet to raise the container so water can drain more easily. If water could stain the surface, use a non-porous saucer and empty it after watering. For added insurance, add a layer of pebbles or broken pot shards to the bottom of the pot before filling it with soil.
Containers filled with plants that are growing larger than expected

Filled with Plants that are Growing Largers than Expected

Read the label to see mature size and spacing recommendations when choosing plants. Most plants can be pinched back or pruned if they're overgrown. To prevent overcrowding, remove one or more plants and transfer them to a new container.
Containers filled with incompatible plants

Filled with Incompatible Plants

When planting two or more different plants in the same container, choose plants that are compatible in terms of care needs and aesthetics. Read labels to determine each plant's need and group accordingly. Filling containers with affordable annual flowers gives you the freedom to change your garden's colour scheme and appearance every year.
Containers frequently overturned or underfoot

Frequently Overturned or Underfoot

Place pots in a safe area so they won't be damaged or knocked over and ensure hanging planters are securely fastened. Make sure decks and other structures are sturdy enough to support the weight of large planters. In windy spots, secure potentially top-heavy planters so they don't tip.


Consider durability when choosing pots. Terra cotta and ceramic pots are prone to breakage and should be taken indoors during the cool season. Also, consider purchasing lightweight resin and plastic pots, which are sturdier containers.

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