CONTAINER GARDENING IS ALL THE RAGE, AND THE ENDLESS OPTIONS FOR POTS AND FLOWERS CAN PERFECTLY COMPLEMENT YOUR OUTDOOR-INDOOR AESTHETIC. FOR US DIY TYPES, BETH ZWINAK OF TAGAWA GARDENS TELLS US HOW TO CREATE – AND MAINTAIN – THE MOST BRILLIANT CONTAINER GARDENS.
Start with excellent quality potting soil. (Don’t ever use soil directly from the ground. It compacts and does not drain.)
Make sure the pots are large enough to hold enough moisture in the soil, at least 14 to 16″ diameter or larger. Smaller pots dry out too quickly in the heat of the summer.
Use plants that are compatible, meaning they have similar watering and sun requirements, and that they are appropriate for the area that the pot is in. Then use the Thriller, Filler, Spiller concept: use one tall, focal point type plant for the Thriller, use cascading type plants for the Spillers around the edge of the pot, and fill in the middle ring with Fillers. These are bright, medium-height plants that will “fill in” the space between the tall plant and the trailing plants around the edge.
Check moisture levels daily — a moisture meter is a great too! Or insert your finger into the soil and when the top few inches feel dry to the touch, give that pot a thorough watering. Be sure to check each pot separately and water based only on each pot’s needs. Sun and wind exposure is different for each pot. When watering, be sure to drench the soil thoroughly so all the soil soaks up the moisture. Keep watering until the water freely runs out the bottom of the pot.
Fertilize every 7-10 days with a liquid/water soluable fertilizer that encourages blooming–we like Age Old Bloom or Espoma Bloom! Bloom-encouraging foods will have a high middle-number in the three-number fertilizer formulation, e.g., 5-30-5 . That’s Nitrogen (green leafy growth) – Phosphorus (encourages roots, bloom and fruit/veggie production) – Potassium (for stems and roots, and helps plants resist drought).
Choosing the right pots and plants for the location is key. Depending on your preference and style, anything goes!