Container gardening can also be referred to as pot gardening. It is the extensive growth of plants in a container instead of planting them on the ground. A vessel in gardening is usually a small, enclosed portable object that you choose to display your plants.
Most people prefer using pots, which is okay. You can also use boxes, baskets, tins, barrels, or a hanging basket. Here are a few things you need to consider when practicing container gardening.
Table of Contents
- Choose A Container
- Decide Where To Place The Plants
- Use High-Quality Soil
- What Plants Can Grow In A Container Garden?
- Adding Plants To Your Container
- Caring Tips To Keep In Mind
- Benefits Of Container Gardening
Choose A Container
Container gardening is ideal in places with limited garden spaces; therefore, your container’s choice will depend on several things. Again the location you wish to place the container matters. Let’s look at a few things you should look out for in your container’s choice.
Ideally, a gardening container should be large enough to provide room for the soil and roots to spread. The type and amount of plants you desire to grow on the vessels influence the container’s size.
For shallow-rooted plants, you will only require a lesser container. Those crops that are deep-rooted will need more room and depth for the best results.
Type Of Material
There is a wide range of materials ideal for gardening containers. Avoid materials that are toxic to avoid accidental contamination. Each container has its merits and demerits.
Wood is easy to work with. You can use it to create gardening containers of all styles. It is an excellent option if you want a more traditional look. Use rot-resistant wood and avoid pressure-treated woods that may risk leaching arsenic into the soil.
Metal containers look fabulous, and they can make perfect planters. For use, they need to be painted to remain attractive. They create a unique look in the garden, but they are prone to rust and these metallic containers can burn the plants when it gets seriously hot.
Plastics are uniquely diverse, and some are extremely attractive and high-end. Whether you purchase a high-end container or a cheap ugly container, plastics are always practical. Plastic pots are resilient to damage and can resist cracks even when dropped. However, they become brittle with cold and age.
Fabric is an excellent material for making pots for growing plants. Plants love them! One best bit about them is that they are breathable. They are light in weight hence incredibly durable, and you can hose them off after a season. Plants can thrive in these.
Drainage in potted plants is vital and should not be ignored at whatever cost. Plants require air, water, warmth, and proper lighting, which should be made available even in their boring container life.
Water to be supplied to the plant should be just enough. Whatever container you choose, drainage holes are essential because, without the holes, the soil becomes waterlogged, and the plants may end up dying. You can select self-watering, double-walled containers, or hanging baskets for plants that require frequent watering.
Decide Where To Place The Plants
Container gardening is not always about what plant looks great in a given container. The placement of a container can play a significant role in how the plants thrive. Below are some of the factors to consider when looking for the best position to place the containers. These containers should be placed where the plants can thrive.
Container grown plants require light which varies from plant to plant. Some plants may require direct sunlight for longer hours than others. One advantage that container plants have is that they can be moved.
Plants can tell you when they don’t get enough lighting as the stems become thin and lean towards the light. You can use glow lights if you don’t have enough lighting. Always ensure the sunlight is about 6 inches above the plant.
The temperature required by gardening plants varies. Some may require warm temperatures, while others prefer cooler temperatures to thrive. Learning about the plant’s past is crucial; it allows you to choose a perfect temperature to make the plant feel at home. Ideally, some plants may require cooler temperatures at night; therefore, you need to know what works better.
Water is essential to plants as it helps them to move nutrients effortlessly. Most plants love to be watered when the soil is dry to the touch. For container-grown plants, always ensure to make drainage holes. The frequency of watering the plants depends on the plant size, time of the year, and the type of plant.
Look for an ideal position where you think it may be easier to run a drip line installed near the container. This drip lines with help to automate watering more like drip irrigation.
Container plants should be placed where the wind blows freely as there is a need for airflow. This way, they get all the air circulation they require for growth. When grown indoors, it may not be necessary to open the window as the temperature fluctuation can cause a slight breeze.
Where possible, you can use a fan for container house plants. Additionally, the wind enhances the evaporation rates from the leaves. Evaporation plays a significant role in the nutrient transportation needed by the plants.
Use High-Quality Soil
The soil to use in your container should be well balanced and able to retain moisture and promote adequate drainage. Unless you have a well-draining sandy loam or silt loam soil, your container soil should be much lighter. Average garden soil may not drain well in pots, while clay soil may retain too much water for the roots to grow.
For suitability, you can mix sand and organic matter to make the container mix suitable for your plants. Remember that the plant grown in containers entirely depends on you for essential needs; therefore, you should choose the best soil. The best soil for containers has the following features:
- It should be a medium soil, therefore not too light or too fluffy.
- It should have good drainage and able to hold moisture.
- It ought to be porous to allow for water and air to reach the plant’s roots.
- The smell should be pleasant, moist, and not soggy.
What Plants Can Grow In A Container Garden?
A wide range of plants can survive and thrive while grown in containers. These plants may be flowers, herbs, and vegetables, among others.
Flowers come in different colors and shapes. They give your home an attractive and warm feeling. Many flowers do well in containers and bring splashes of color to balcony container gardens. These flowers may be left to grow, and when cut, they look beautiful. They include azaleas, calla lilies, celosia, chamomile, chrysanthemums, daffodils, and dahlias.
Herbs are natural to grow and have been ranked among the most rewarding container plants. You can grow different herbs together as long as you don’t mix those requiring plenty of water with those that like well-drained soils.
Make sure that you choose herbs of similar sizes because one might overly grow than the other. The herbs suitable for container growing include rosemary, thyme, chives, mint, chervil, coriander, and bay.
Vegetables are commonly grown by most people in garden containers. You don’t need a vast place to grow these vegetables. Some of the most natural plants to grow include but not limited to tomatoes, pepper, eggplant, potatoes, and kales.
Simple Plants To Start With
If you are a beginner, it’s good that you know which plants are easy to grow with your limited space. Tomatoes are among the easy plants to grow, and people have adopted growing their own. This depends on your container size and the varieties that you prefer to grow.
Herbs like coriander and sage can thrive powerfully on individual containers. They don’t require as much attention provided they have all the necessities and are placed in the right place for them to boom. Strawberries also do well in containers, but you should ensure that they get plenty of sunlight and are harvested regularly.
Cucumbers, on the other hand, are planted vertically to get the best yields. It does not also require much attention, making it easy to grow. Leafy vegetables cannot be left out on this list as most people have developed a culture to grow their vegetables at home. Those are among the most natural plants that you should give a trial.
Adding Plants To Your Container
After choosing the best container for your plant, you should prepare the same and fill it with the right soil. The more productive your container soil is, the better your plants grow. After filling the container with the fertile soil, you can choose your appropriate plant food.
Plant food should help crop proliferate and reduce transplant loss. After that, you may follow the following steps when transplanting.
- Choose a plant appropriate for your area conditions to avoid disappointments and ensure that it establishes quickly.
- Prepare the plant you intend to add to the container. This is by collecting any yellowish leaves.
- Trim the plants by cutting directly above the leaves node to encourage side growth.
- Position your tallest plants at the center of the pot and make sure not to compress the soil.
- Fill the soil back into the remaining spaces to ensure the plant is tucked securely in place.
- Water the plants to give them a lovely long drink until the water runs out of the drainage holes.
- You may choose to fertilize your crops. Choose a fertilizer that has higher phosphorus that encourages plants to boom.
- You can now maintain the plants to ensure you get higher yields.
Using The Right Tools
The essential tools you require for container gardening include a hand trowel to mix the soil, dig holes, and also help in seedlings transplant. Hand cultivator helps to till the container soil and mix the slow to release fertilizer.
Pruner is to cut woody stems and small branches or to harvest vegetables. Gardening gloves prevent your hands from becoming muddy. Watering can be for holding water that you will need for the plants. Micro-tip scissors are for snipping off leaves and flowers.
Caring Tips To Keep In Mind
- You can prevent your garden tools from rusting by storing them in the builder’s sand.
- The fungus is bad for your garden and you can keep it away by sprinkling cinnamon on top of the soil. This way, it will not grow on your seedlings.
- Don’t throw away toilet roll holders. You can repurpose them as mini biodegradable seeding pots.
- If you have some tomatoes in your garden, you can sweeten them by sprinkling some baking soda on the soil.
- Place plastic forks upright in the soil to deter animals from getting into your garden.
- Plant mosquito-repelling herbs to repel mosquitos.
- Placing overripe fruits on ceramic plates in a shady spot makes a perfect butterfly feeder.
Benefits Of Container Gardening
If you are not yet convinced about growing plants in containers, here are several reasons that may change your mind.
Container gardens can be grown in any place in your home. You can place them on your balcony, patio, or courtyard. There are chances for you to produce a variety of plants that may not be suitable to grow in your garden soil. The container is accessible to almost anyone, including those with limited mobility.
The small surfaces do not require frequent weeding because weeds are unlikely to find their way into the container. You can move the containers to your desired place to meet the plant’s conditions to thrive. Additionally, you can rearrange plants to suit your taste.