If you have little or no garden space, container gardening is an ideal choice for you. You can not only grow flowers but vegetables too in containers and pots.
Successful adoption of container gardening techniques has let the new-age gardeners explore spaces beyond their balconies. Many of them are exploring the small yard patch near the driveway and producing a variety of vegetables in containers.
This article helps you understand the factors you should keep in mind while shortlisting the plants for your container garden to have the maximum output.
Container Gardening Shortlisting Process
You can grow almost any flower, vegetable, shrub, or herb in a container. However, compact cultivars or dwarfs are the best for smaller pots.
The ideal condition for shortlisting the plants is to check the climatic condition of the area. It includes the amount of shade or sunlight your container will receive.
While growing any fragment plants like heliotropes (Heliotropium arborescens), you should protect the pots from the breeze, otherwise, the perfume will disperse.
A critical aspect that new gardeners often miss is to ideate before actual plantation. You can do wonders with the perfect combination of edibles, trailing or upright plants, and flowers for a vibrant and pleasing effect.
You can create a container garden that can last for a season or years. If you choose to add permanent containers, your plants will be less hardy as their roots will face fluctuating temperatures.
Plants that are non-hardy will need winter protection or frequent shifts to a shaded shelter. Therefore, make a decision beforehand about the weight of the container so that it enables flexible movement later.
Preparing Your Container
Containers should have drainage holes. However, covering them with gravel or shards is not necessary. Adding such a layer before putting the potting mix will not help to improve the drainage.
It can have a negative impact as these can block the holes and thus discourage drainage of excess water from the pots.
You can use paper towels or newspapers instead for the job. In case of a deeper container, use gravel. It will help to reduce the potting soil requirement.
A coarse soil is the best choice for the container garden. The higher density of the plain garden soil makes it difficult to maintain the water and air balance.
You can opt for a houseplant mixture too. You can get great results if you plan to use a soil mix based on the plants you select.
Plants for Container Gardening
Shrubs and Hardy Perennials
You can have containers with shrubs and hardy perennials that you can enjoy year after year. Daylilies and hostas can be great additions to your container garden.
Apart from the popular ones, you can choose other perennials as well, such as:
- European wild Ginger (Asarum europaeum)
- Sedges (Carex spp.)
- Lungworts (Pulmonaria spp.)
- Lamium (Lamium maculatum)
- Lavender - Here is everything you need to know to grow lavender
You can also use ornamental grass as they look beautiful in the containers. Smaller shrubs and conifers are dwarfs that can be great choices too.
Herbs and Vegetables
Growing vegetables in containers is an easy task. You can have half barrels or five-gallon buckets to large pots for the job. The larger ones can accommodate tomatoes or eggplants. You can also grow several small vegetables together, like cabbage or broccoli.
Bush or dwarf forms of large vegetables, like pumpkins, tomatoes, or winter squash are ideal for container gardening.
If you check the latest trends, you’ll find the rising demand for theme gardens. They are fun to try and also beneficial. You can have a salad garden with chives, cherry tomatoes, colorful lettuce, or parsley.
Pluck them when you need them, and voila, you have a salad from your harvest. Similarly, you can grow tomatoes, peppers, or various types of basil to have your own pizza garden.
Many also try edible flowers in their containers, such as nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus), pansies (Viola wittrockiana), and marigolds.
Annuals are a great choice as an attractive option that one can look at all year long. Choosing a warm-weather option that blooms during the summer and has attractive-looking foliage is a good option.
Some of the options which you can consider are:
- Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana spp.)
- Scarlet sage (Salvia splendens)
- Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides)
- Wax Begonias - Learn more about Begonias here.
Apart from these, there are tons of options that you will find in catalogs and nurseries locally. You can experiment with these and check the one you like. You can remove a particular plant and try something else if you don’t like it. So don’t worry!
Dwarf dahlias or cannas can look beautiful in large containers.
Caring for Your Container Garden
You have to water your container at regular intervals. The water requirement will depend on various factors like - type of plant and size, weather, pot size, etc.
You should ensure your containers are in a semi-wet stage as it becomes difficult to re-wet when they completely dry out. You can add a layer of mulch to make large containers look attractive. It also helps to retain moisture.
Regular feeding is crucial for container gardening plants. You can use
- Seaweed extract,
- Diluted fish emulsion, or
- Compost tea.
You can also use foliar feed and spray them with the diluted preparations of these solutions. You can start administering them once every two weeks and then adjust the intervals based on the response that you see.
Wrapping Up Our Container Gardening Guide
As you can see, the above factors can help you shortlist the correct plants for your garden based on your objective. You can devote your special attention to the containers as they are the focal point of your garden.
You can remove any dead plants or tattered leaves. Prune the plants that do not bloom or get leggy and remove any deadhead spent flowers. Cutting or digging out plants that do not grow well or clash with others can help keep the mixed pots attractive.
You can add some other plants or let some of the existing plants fill the space in the container. Avoiding mites, aphids, or other pests can help maintain the greenery.
There you have it! You are now set to start container gardening in your home.