Novice Container Gardening Tips

By: Jan Richardson

With container gardening, you don’t have to live in the country to enjoy getting your fingers dirty and growing something in the soil. Even people who live in metropolitan areas can surround themselves with bright splashes of floral color and taste the fruits of their own labor. Let’s learn more about how to garden in containers.

Container gardens are popping up everywhere from nostalgic window boxes to balcony terraces. Container gardening is a great way for apartment dwellers to still be able to enjoy nature in a smaller setting. Novices to container gardening should keep a few basic tips in mind, however, to guarantee success.

Container Gardening Tips

The container you choose does not need to be anything fancy or expensive. You don’t even have to buy it at a gardening store. The basic rule for container gardening is that whatever you select should have good drainage. If the container you choose does not already have pre-installed holes, you can easily install them yourself. Simply drill holes that are about half an inch in diameter.

Keep in mind that plants for container gardening depend totally on you for care. You will need to keep them frequently watered, fed and taken in out of the elements. Water requirements are especially important with container gardening. During summer months, your containers may need watering twice a day. Additionally, you will need to pay special attention to containers made from clay and other unglazed pottery. Porous containers tend to dry out more easily than other materials. Without careful attention, your container garden can be in critical condition before you even know it.

Almost any kind of plant is suitable for container gardening; the depth of the root length, however, will determine how large a container is required. Plants for container gardening that will extend to long root depths, such as trees, will need deeper containers, whereas shorter root length plants will do fine with more shallow containers.

Adequate sunlight is essential to any successful garden, and container gardening is no different. Keep in mind you may need to move your plants from one location to another in order to follow the path of sunlight. It may be beneficial for you to place heavier containers on castors in order to facilitate moving more easily.

Mixing and matching plants for the purpose of container gardening is quite popular and can produce glorious results. When selecting plants to place together in your container, however, keep annuals and more permanent plants separated.

Learning how to garden in containers doesn’t have to be hard. By following these simple container gardening tips along with a little tender loving care, you can be well on your way to having the container garden of your dreams.

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How To Choose The Right Garden Containers

The size of the containers you use will be dictated by the kind of plants you want to grow. Remember that when it comes to container gardening the container you plant in is the only home for this plant.

If you want your plants to grow healthy and provide an abundance of fruit then you have to make sure the container you plant them in is large enough.

Terra Cotta Containers: Terra cotta containers are some of my favorite to plant in. They look beautiful in a garden but they do have their downside. They can be more expensive and heavier to move and are breakable. They also tend to get very hot and can bake easily in the sun so they may require more frequent watering.

Ceramic Glazed Containers: Ceramic containers are similar to terra cotta containers and once again look beautiful in a garden. They tend to hold moisture a little better due to the glaze on the container and wont typically get as hot as terra cotta containers, but they are usually more expensive. In my opinion they are a great investment but may be too expensive to do an entire garden of.

Plastic: Plastic is going to be the cheapest option and is the lightest to move around. My only issue with plastic containers is that they are viewed as disposable so if you choose to purchase them for your garden make sure you use them year after year.

Wood: Wooden containers, especially raised bed containers are beautiful in gardens. These planters are on my wish list for our garden next year and are an excellent option for plants that need more room.

Cement: Cement planters are expensive but incredibly durable. They are heavy though, especially once dirt has been added into them so these are better to choose for more permanent containers that you don't plan to move around.

Ultimately, almost anything can be turned into a container and I personally love the more unexpected options to bring some character into your garden. The most important point is that whatever you are using it is large enough for your plants.

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