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No Time or Space for a Garden? Plant a Container Garden

No Time or Space for a Garden? Plant a Container Garden

27th Mar 2023

It’s spring! Are you itching to get your hands in the dirt and start gardening? Try container gardening.

Container gardening is great for gardeners who are eager to get growing even when the weather isn’t ready to cooperate.

And container gardens are not just for pretty flowers: They’re also suited for growing your own fresh vegetables, like tomatoes and peppers, and herbs like basil or cilantro. You can even scale your plants to create a fairy garden!

What is a Container Garden?

A container garden is a planter, pot or other vessel in which one or more plants are grown. Essentially, anything that holds soil can be used as a container garden.

Keeping plants in containers allows you to grow things in a minimal amount of space, whether or not you have a yard. However, even if you do have a garden, containers are handy for filling in bare spots by mixing potted plants in between your permanent plantings.

close up of plant seedling

Benefits of Container Gardening

With a container garden, you are able to control growing conditions, such as the type and amount of soil and the frequency of watering. This can help ensure that your plants stay healthy and productive throughout the growing season.

A container garden enables you to start plants early from seed. You’ll get a head start on the growing season and have healthy, established plants ready to go as soon as the weather warms up. All you need is some potting soil, a container with drainage holes and seeds for the plants you want to grow. Follow the instructions on the seed packets for optimal growing conditions.

One of the best things about container gardening is that you don’t need a yard to enjoy the benefit of plants. Container gardens can be grown in small spaces like balconies, porches and patios. This makes it a great option for those who live in apartments or condos. You can even use a vertical garden planter, window box, wall planter or tiered plant stand to maximize your space and grow plants upwards on trellises or hanging baskets.

How to Select a Container

When it comes to choosing garden containers, you can use anything from traditional clay pots to repurposed items like old buckets or even a wheelbarrow. Ceramic pots are popular because of their wide range of colors and styles.

With so many different kinds of containers available, you have plenty of choices to match your outdoor décor. Just keep in mind that the garden planter you choose can make a big difference in your plant's growth and health.

Choose a container that is large enough for the plant's root system as it grows and has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. Also, consider the material of the container. Plastic or ceramic garden pots retain moisture better than terracotta pots, which tend to dry out faster.

plants in aluminum containers by a window

What to Plant

To accent your outdoor space with garden containers, consider using plants with vibrant colors or interesting leaves. You can mix and match different types of plants to create a visually appealing display. 

Many container gardeners follow the "thriller, filler, spiller" technique promoted by Proven Winners that utilizes a trio of plant types for a balanced effect. Basically, thrillers add height, fillers are low and mounded and spillers trail from the container.

With containers, you can expand your garden options by using plants that don’t normally thrive in your climate. Add a touch of the tropics to northern climes, for instance, with flowering plants like hibiscus, Bird of Paradise or plumeria. They’ll look great outdoors all summer and spend the winter with you inside.

watering can sprinkling water over purple flowers in a concrete urn

If you're new to container gardening, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure success.

1. Choose the right plants

First, make sure to choose the right plants for your growing conditions. The plants that catch your eye in the nursery may have different sunlight and watering needs than the area in which you would like them to live at home. Check the tag for growing information.

2. Use high-quality soil

Your container plant is only as healthy as the soil it's grown in, so make sure you're using a high-quality potting mix. Look for a mix that contains a blend of peat moss, perlite or vermiculite, and compost. This combination will provide good drainage, moisture retention and nutrients for your plants. Supplement with plant food as needed.

3. Provide proper water and sunlight

Container plants require more frequent watering than those grown in the ground. Water your plants when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Also, be sure to provide your plants with adequate sunlight. Most vegetables, herbs, and flowers need at least six hours of sunlight per day to thrive. If your balcony or patio doesn't get enough natural light, consider using grow lights, placing your plants in a spot that gets more sunlight or choosing plants that will thrive in the available growing conditions.

Container gardening is a great way to enjoy gardening, whether you have limited space or want to enhance your outdoor spaces. With the right containers, plants and care, you can create a lush outdoor oasis you'll enjoy all season long.


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