A down to earth approach to planting
Uptown, midtown or out of town, no matter where you live, a container garden
can spruce up an ordinary setting. Vibrant, versatile and easy to care for,
these gardens add instant interest to tiny terraces or large landscapes.
"Container gardens give the flexibility to add plants just about anywhere," said
Bob Jacobson, a Home Depot gardening expert.
Brighten a front porch, define a pathway or make a nook more noticeable, all
with container gardens. And, mobility makes them more enticing.
"Move a garden to a new location in a matter of minutes or switch plants for
changing seasons or a special event," said Jacobson. "Chances are, you already
have interesting containers around the house. An old metal bucket, a watering
can or a wheelbarrow can become a new home for plants and flowers."
However, if the space calls for something new, consider wooden barrels and
interesting clay or ceramic pots in varying shapes and sizes. Avoid containers
with narrow openings, he said.
Jacobson offers the following suggestions for gorgeous gardening - in a pot.
Once your container is complete, follow-up is important to keep the garden
looking its best.
- Create curb appeal by hanging baskets overflowing with brightly colored
annuals and perennials. For a dramatic effect, group baskets together
and suspend from porches and entries.
- Enchant guests and passersby with charming window boxes. Fill boxes
with blooming plants that share colors but vary in growth patterns.
Select plants that stand tall and others that will cascade over the
- Grow produce on your patio. Veggies, fruits and herbs put a tasty
twist on container gardening. Plant juicy cherry tomatoes and ruby-red
strawberries for a nutritious snack that's steps away.
- Plant a pot or two of your favorite herbs and use to spice up ordinary
- Topiaries make great container gardens. Use wire coat hangers to
make and shape a topiary form. Place it in the center of the container
and press into the soil. Plant ivy, leaving space for growth, until
you fill the container. As the ivy grows, wind the stems around the
forms and prune to maintain shape.
Check the moisture level by poking a finger a half-inch into the soil. If your
finger comes out spotless, the plant needs a drink.
Use fertilizer with a balanced formula of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium
to encourage blooming and fruiting, leafy growth, intense color and strong roots.
Light and fluffy potting soil is your best bet for portable pots. Roots can roam
freely without rotting.
Fill container half full with potting soil. For smaller plants, stop 2 inches
down the rim.
Loosen the plant from its container by pressing firmly on all sides.
Encourage roots to explore by teasing them apart with your fingers.
Nestle the plant in its new pot and fill with potting soil, leaving the top of
the root ball exposed.
Saturate the plant with water and add more potting soil if needed.