How to Start a Container Garden

How to Start a Container Garden

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

Skill Level: Beginner
Time:
  1. Step 1 Fill Containers With Soil

    Fill Containers With Soil

    The best part about container gardening is that the containers themselves become part of your landscape! Once you pick your favourite container, fill it with at least three inches of potting mix. Since containers dry out quickly, use Miracle-Gro® Moisture Control® Potting Mix to help prevent over and under watering. Then dig a hole for one plant at a time and plant your flowers.

  2. Step 2 Plan Your Arrangements

    Plan Your Arrangements

    Plan your arrangements and get creative. Think tall, bold plants (such as canna lilies) in the centre or back of the pot and add trailing plants (such as sweet potato vine) that hang over the edge. Finally, fill empty spots with smaller colourful flowers (such as calibrachoa “million bells”) as a finishing touch. Check with your Home Depot Garden Centre professional for available selections.

  3. Step 3 Water

    Water

    Gently water until excess water comes out the drainage holes. Add Miracle-Gro® Shake ’n Feed® All Purpose Continuous Release Plant Food after a few weeks to grow bigger, more beautiful plants. Remember, pots dry out more easily than regular gardens, so check them daily.

  4. Step 4 Create Your Look

    Create Your Look

    To get the most out of your new container garden, arrange your containers in interesting and unique ways to create your look. Take it one step farther by grouping different pots together for a bit of added drama.

What You Need for This Project

Additional Container Garden Care Tips

If your containers are:

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.

Overheating

Overheating

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.

Not 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.

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.

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.

Drying 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.

Filled With Plants That Are Growing Larger Than Expected

Filled With Plants That Are Growing Larger 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.

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.

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.

Breaking

Breaking

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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