Container Gardening 101

Say you don't have a green thumb or haven't ever tried to garden? Well container gardens are a great place to start.

So you don't have a green thumb or haven't ever tried to garden?  Well container gardens are a great place to start. With a few simple materials and a little know-how, your container gardens will thrive! 

Let's start with the container. Any container will do, so use your imagination and make it your own. Think outside the "pot" and try things like old buckets, rain boots or colorful plastic tubs to really make a statement. Just be sure to drill drain holes in the bottom of whatever vessel you choose. In fact, ensuring your container has proper drainage is most important in making your container garden healthy and long lasting.

Once you've chosen your vessel, it's time to add your your soil.  To further ensure proper drainage I always recommend adding a layer of rocks or gravel at the very bottom and then add your planting soil on top of it. A good container mix found at any garden retailer will contain all the necessary nutrients your plants will need.

Now on to the fun part...the plants!

What you plant will be determined by where your container is being placed and its function. If you like to try something different each year, plant annuals which will give great blooms and variety all summer, but will not return the following year. If you want your container plants to last year round, plant evergreens or boxwood but be sure not to plant them in ceramic or terracotta pots which will most likely crack due to weather extremes.

A visit to your local nursery or home improvement store should provide you with all the necessary information required for selecting the right plants for your area. Be sure to check tags for sun and water requirements and group plants accordingly. If the planter is to be placed against a wall or fence, plant the tallest items toward the back. If the planter is going to be viewed from all sides the tallest plantings will go in the middle. Don't be deceived by the heights of the plants when you purchase them, as some plants start small but grow tall, and always check the tag for the mature height.

Lastly, containers require frequent watering or they will dry out.  Try placing a water filled wine bottle neck down into the soil to help with this task.

Although I am an interior decorator and home staging specialist, gardening and 'exterior decorating' have always been a passion of mine. Your homes exterior is an extension of your living space and should be decorated and designed to be functional as well as beautiful.

For additional information about container gardening, please view my original newsletter on this subject which includes Top Ten Reasons to Container Garden.

Brought to you by Jennifer Napolitano @ JNdesign Decorating-Staging-Redesign


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This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Patrick Holland June 04, 2011 at 03:08 PM
excellent job.....
Jennifer Napolitano June 05, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Thank you Patrick...so nice of you to say.
John Howell June 06, 2011 at 11:08 AM
I have a small evergreen bush (unknown variety, but bluish) in a 12-inch diameter clay pot. It's been outdoors several years. Some branches are turning brown and appear to be dying. I added some mulch this year, some potting soil too. It's not a goner, not yet. What's up?
Jennifer Napolitano June 06, 2011 at 01:16 PM
Well, I'm not a professional horticulturist by trade, however since you mentioned your plant has been in it's pot for several years, I would diagnose your plant as possibly being root bound (meaning it just may not have anymore room in it's existing pot to grow). I would suggest re potting your plant into a larger pot. All planting instructions for trees and shrubs suggest keeping the top of the root ball exposed, by just adding soil to the top of the current pot your plant is in may be doing more harm then good by "choking" your plant. When you do replant, cut back your bush by removing all the yellowing and dead branches and use a container mix that is best for evergreens, which will contain all the necessary nutrients your plant will need for a successful growing season. Good luck and please let me know how you make out.


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