Updated: Sep 1, 2019
I had spent a small fortune on plants when I had my cottage only to have a draught hit Georgia. I would get up every morning, feed the cats, and go straight to the garden to water everything. That was when I realized it might be better to garden in containers rather than to tackle the task of trying to water the entire garden every day. Since then, it has been my general practice and one that I truly love.
Gardening in pots can be spectacular. It has been practiced in Europe and other countries for centuries. One gorgeous pot can be the focal point in your garden, or you may choose a cluster of pots to welcome your guests. You may have a bare spot in your architecture that needs something to give it life, or simply to add interest to a drive or path. However you stage your containers they will provide joy to you every day with a minimum of care if you follow a few simple guidelines.
Container Gardening As Focal Points
Selecting Your Container
Selecting your container is the first place to start. Large pots can be expensive so you will need to shop, especially antiques and flea markets where you never know what you may stumble on. There is no end to styles from classic to ultra modern, smooth or carved finishes, clay or high glass ceramic. Whatever you choose, you are going to be enjoying this for many years so get what you truly want.
Make sure your container has drainage. Don't attempt to fill the entire pot with potting soil if your pot is really large. To lighten the weight use fillers in the bottom such as milk jugs or soda bottles. Garden Centers today also have products made specifically for this purpose, Use some type of plastic screening over whatever you use to lighten the load to keep your potting soil in place and help with watering.
Clusters of Pots
Selecting The Plants
The most important thing to consider in your choice of plants is compatibility ... are they going to have full sun, full shade or partial of either. Make sure you start with healthy plants. The guide for container plants to choose thrillers, fillers, and spillers and you will need some of each. How full you want your container to be is up to you, but I like to make a statement with a lot. You can also mix in bulbs for spring surprises as well. Good perennials will keep your pots going for much longer. Be sure and use a good quality potting soil. I am partial to Miracle Grow. Professionals recommend adding fertilizer separately and make sure it is mixed in thoroughly.
So the thrillers are the main or taller plant in the container. It could be a fountain grass, small tree, or Cannas. The spillers fill over the side such as Creeping Jenny, Ivy or Sweet Potato Vine. And the fillers literally fill the middle and can be almost anything. You may also want your plants to be all one kind, one color, or evergreens. That, of course, is totally up to you!
Containers That Define Space or Fill a Blank Space (slideshow)
Maintaining Your Gardens in Containers
Like with all plants, you need to deadhead your plants to keep them looking spectacular. Some plants that have more beautiful leaves then blooms need the blooms pinched back. Fertilize your containers regularly. The most important thing is to water thoroughly. If the soil is dry 1" down, it needs water.
Since I have been collecting photos of great container gardens for years, you can see many more on Designs for Graceful Living Pinterest boards. Click the link below to see more!
Picked for you! Click on any image to see details or to buy!
The Head Planter is not a large pot. I sold many of these at Come Into My Garden.
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