Thank you to Meijer, a Midwestern company I love, for sponsoring this post!
I don’t think I’ve ever shared my love for gardening with you all & today I’m taking the time to do that!
Every spring, I can’t wait until it’s warm enough to plant flowers, vegetables, shrubs, and trees! My husband will probably tell you I always have something for him to move outside & he is right!
Our gardens basically started with a clean slate when we bought our home 6 years ago because the outside was a sad scene, with overgrown and/or bare flower beds and lackluster shrubs.
Since then, I’ve quadrupled the amount of plants on our property & have learned quite a bit over the years, by experience, as well as through my mom & co-workers’ expertise! I hope to share my love for gardening with my girls, too.
One thing I LOVE doing is dressing up our front stoop, back deck, and sitting areas in our yard with pretty containers filled with colorful flowers as well as vegetables. It’s such a simple, affordable way to add a little dose of happiness to your home. I found all of these gorgeous pots, flowers, soil, & gardening tools at Meijer for the best prices 🙂
I want to share some of the best tips for having successful container gardens with you today!
I know a lot of you will ask about yellow, pink, red, and white blooms that look like a cross between a zinnia & a rose… those are ranunculus and Meijer had the best assortment of colors. I wanted to buy them all but restrained myself 🙂
Here are some of my best tried & true tips for container gardening:
- First – you need pots that have adequate drainage! I’ve bought pots before that absolutely LOOK like they are good with drainage, but then I find myself dumping water out of the pots after every rain. NOT GOOD. You want your pots to get a lot of water, yes, but you want that water to drain through. If you absolutely love the look of a pot but it has minimal drainage, you can always add a few holes yourself to drain the excess water!
- Make sure your pots are big enough. Plants need enough space to spread their roots. I’ve commonly made the mistake of buying small pots & then halfway through growing season, the poor plant has completely outgrown its pot. It’s important to buy a bigger pot than you think you’ll need! Also, the smaller the pot, the more frequently it will need to be watered… and vice versa for bigger pots. Buy big!
- You need a high quality potting soil! The more potting soil the better. Give those plants a nice, nutritious home 🙂
- When choosing plants for a container, get creative! You could plant nearly anything you want: Trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, fruits, herbs! If you’re grouping plants together, be sure to arrange plants in pots according to sun requirements. You don’t want a shade lover to be in a pot with a flower that loves full sun.
- Which brings me to my next tip… pay attention to those sun requirements listed on the tag when you buy them. I like to save the tags whenever I get a new plant that I’m not very familiar with. Also, all plants in the same categories are not the same. For instance, some hydrangeas LOVE sun while others can’t handle the hot afternoon sun and will instantly wilt.
- For a fabulous container, design your arrangements with the “thriller, filler, spiller” style. For a layered look, start with a tall, upright plant (thriller). Next, add a bushy, medium-size plant that will fill the gaps between the plants (filler), and finish with a cascading, blooming plant (spiller)! p.s. for years I tried to figure out how some pots just looked fabulous while others did not. This is the secret!
- Another tip when it comes to designing your containers, have just one or two main focal points and surround those plants with simpler textures, colors, and forms, such as foliage plants. Don’t feel like you need all flowers in your containers.
- When arranging your pots, group them together for more visual interest. This creates more contrast with colors and textures. I like to buy different colored pots that are different sizes, as well, to help with this.
- Before you actually plant your container, organize and lay out the plants so you will be sure everything looks good together and also so you know everything will fit in the pot 🙂 I always, always think I can fit more in the pot than I can and this step helps me so much!
- When you plant, you want the crown of the plant (where the stem meets the roots) to be at the same depth as it was in its nursery container. When I first started with gardening, I made this mistake nearly every time. If you cover the crown with soil, the plant will rot. If you don’t plant it deeply enough, the roots will dry out too quickly.
- Water frequently, but – not tooooo frequently. One trick is to water in the morning as much as possible. Fungus & pests are more likely to show up if you water in the evening.
- Don’t wait to water – you don’t want your plants to wilt and to be in distress. A good rule of thumb (or knuckles, ha, ha), is to use the two-knuckle test. Stick your finger in the soil to the depth of your second knuckle. If it’s dry, your plant needs water 🙂
- There are a couple of tricks you could use to reduce your plants’ watering needs. You could mix your potting soil with compost when planting to reduce the amount of watering you’ll need to do. Also, buy lighter colored pots to keep the roots cool. Containers definitely need more water because it tends to evaporate much faster than with plants in the ground.
- Fertilize every 2 weeks. Vegetables and flowers definitely need this! You could even mix in a slow release fertilizer into your potting soil when planting to help jump start growth.
- Deadhead frequently. This means pulling off the blooms that have already seen their day 🙂 It allows for more of the plant to receive necessary nutrition, plus, it just makes your plant look better!
Those are my tried-and-true tips for container gardening! Any other ones you’d like to share? Thank you for reading!