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12 Tips for Beautiful Container Gardens

Containers are great for any gardener because they require little space and can be moved easily. Plus, they are a nice way to add color to an otherwise dull portion of your yard. Before you plant your next container, be sure to consider these suggestions.

  1. Use a container that is deep enough to fill with at least 6” of dirt so that your plants will have plenty of room for their roots to grow.

  2. Wash old pots before using them in case they are harboring any disease. Use 9 parts hot water to 1 part bleach and small amount of dish soap. Scrub the pot with a bristle brush. Rinse thoroughly.

  3. Fill the bottom of your pot with draining material, such as an inch of gravel so that your plants have good drainage. Roots that get too wet can rot, killing your plant.

  4. Choose healthy, well-established, disease and pest-free plants. Check that the plants are not waterlogged or overly dry. Look under leaves for pests and check for mold or fungus.

  5. Select plants that are suitable for the location of the container. If you are putting the container in an area that gets full sun select those plants that thrive in that environment.

  6. Use a very light and airy potting soil. Any bag labeled as potting soil should have the right ingredients. Look for vermiculite and/or coir as part of the mix. When you water, the soil should drain quickly.

  7. Remove dead flowers regularly to help encourage further blooming. When dead flowers are not removed, the plants are more prone to disease.

  8. Feed your summer flowering plants about every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer. A liquid fertilizer has a better chance of distributing evenly throughout the container. Make sure the soil is wet before you fertilize or the fertilizer could burn the roots.

  9. Some containers serve as long-term homes to plants and shrubs. Once a year, remove an inch of soil from the top of the container and add compost in its place.

  10. Set your pots in an area where they will get watered with rainwater as much as possible to avoid having to water them with cold chlorinated tap water.

  11. Water regularly. Container plants can dry out quickly and the plants may have a long recovery time from the distress of becoming wilted. Some plants never fully recover once you miss a watering.

  12. Take your containers into your greenhouse during the winter to extend your flowers for several weeks and protect your pots from breakage due to ice and cold.
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