Many of us already have our planted containers sitting in front of our home, on our decks, or gracing the steps. After putting all the work into choosing the plants, buying the containers and soil, we want them to last all summer long! One of the common questions surrounding container gardening is: how do I keep my containers looking good all summer long?
Choosing a Pot
Find a pot size that works well with your space and location. Ensure there are drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain, helping prevent root rot from overly wet soil.
Select a potting mix to use in your containers. Potting soil is specially designed for faster drainage, and the lightweight nature is ideal for pots of all sizes. It’s enriched with nutrients, and sometimes with fertilizer as well, to help your plants get the food it needs for a healthy start!
Choose your plants, and think about how they will complement one another and fill the pot out. A great recipe is the “Thriller, Filler, Spiller” method. Depending on your size of pot, pick out a number of plants to use – choosing some that will spill over the sides, fill the middle, and others to add some height.
Once you’ve selected your materials and have your containers planted, the recipe for proper care can be broken down into four main categories.
Water is key to any container! Your pots will drain faster than your garden bed, so they require extra watering measures. During the season, water your pots every 2-3 days, and during particularly hot weather, check your pots every day as you may be required to water them every day! Feel the soil with your fingers, and if it feels dry to the touch, give it a drink. If the soil is wet, don’t water them as you don’t want to overwater and have your plants sitting in constantly wet soil and begin to rot.
When planting your pots be sure to pay attention to the sunlight needs! Plant shade flowers together and keep that pot out of the sun. Sun-loving plants should be planted together and given the proper amount of sunlight each day. Keep your pots in a location where they can receive their ideal amount of sun! Your sun-loving pots will likely require more water as well.
Fertilizing your containers keeps them full of colour and blooms! Use an all-purpose fertilizer, or a fertilizer with a strong bloom focus. The three numbers on fertilizers represent nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. To get more blooms, choose a fertilizer with a higher phosphorous number – that is, the middle one. For example, a fertilizer ratio of 5-30-10 would have a better bloom focus than if the first and last numbers were higher. Fertilizers can come in both water-soluble form or as a slow-release granular form. Choose the one that works best with your gardening habits.
Deadheading your pots will go a long way in keeping them neat, as well as encouraging new growth! Every couple of days, deadhead any spent blooms, pinching below the bloom. Not only will this clean up your pots, but you’ll also be rewarded with more blooms all season long!
Royal City Nursery is here to help with any container gardening needs you may have! We also offer custom container creations, designing planters that will impress. For any caring or maintenance questions, be sure to let us know or stop by today!