The Ten Commandments of Container Gardening

by Fern on December 9, 2008

in General

  1. Drainage is king. Or queen if you want to be PC. The point is, if you’re gardening outside, you need drainage holes in your pots, pot feet to raise your pot off the ground, and good draining soil.
  2. Do not neglect your pots. Containers can dry out quickly, especially small pots. Water until you see it draining out of the bottom of the pot.
  3. Do not plant a full sun plant in part shade. Know how much sunlight your balcony, patio or porch gets and choose plants accordingly. If you get full sun (more than 6 hours of direct sun a day), you’ll have the most options, but you’ll also have to be careful that your pots don’t dry out too quickly. If you have dappled light, part-shade or full-shade, there are still plenty of options for you.
  4. Remember to take a break from time to time. Too much water can be as bad as too little. Unless you know for sure that a plant likes constantly moist soil, only water your plants when the top two inches of soil feels dry.
  5. Respect your plants’ needs. Since there is a limited amount of dirt in your pot from which to nourish your plants, and some nutrients will wash out of your pot each time you water, you need to fertilize more often than you would an in-ground garden.
  6. Almost any plant can be grown in a container, you just need to match the right sized container to your plant’s needs. However, don’t plant perennials in containers that are too big for them, it could cause their roots to rot.
  7. Containers look better in groups. Just like man needed woman, your pots need friends.
  8. Multiple pots look good, and multiple plants in a pot look even better. A simple way to put together a great looking pot is to use the “spiller, filler, thriller” philosophy.
  9. When planting more than one plant in a pot, mix up foliage colors, textures and sizes for more visual interest. Be sure to pick some plants with interesting leaves, because flowers are fleeting, leaves are forever.
  10. Do not covet your neighbor’s garden, do your own thing! Anything that can hold dirt can be used to grow plants. Plastic pots can be dressed up and personalized with paint. And if you’re converting something into a pot, make sure to drill some drainage holes in the bottom.

My husband keeps on telling me that there were originally 15 commandments, but he watches too many Mel Brooks movies. Anyway, let’s just pretend that there are 15 commandments. What would you add? Think I got anything wrong? Feel free to let me know, I’ll only track you down and smite you…
Just kidding. 😉

p.s. Don’t forget, today is your last chance to submit your entry to the indoor plant contest.

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