Container Gardening 101

After you have chosen your beautiful containers and filled them with stunning foliage and flowers, the next step is to keep them beautiful through the entire growing season. This article will give you basic maintenance tips that will keep your beautiful blooms blossoming and growing throughout the whole season, creating exciting focal points and welcoming accents!

When it comes to maintenance there are some tools that each gardener should have. These include a good water source and a hose or watering can, good fertilizers, suitable to the plants, pruners or scissors, mulch, and wire or string. These tools may not all be necessary depending on what you choose to plant, but for seasonal care these are the most useful.The most important ingredient for keeping healthy and happy plants is water. Plants need to be watered regularly, but they also need to have good drainage. In the hot summer months, watering may need to occur twice a day, especially in a drought. Be sure to saturate the soil thoroughly, not just around the edges of the plant. Watering your plants regularly helps to keep them healthy; this is one step that should never be forgotten!

Plants that are packed closely together into a container often quickly deplete the soil of all nutrients, especially if they are fast growing plants. Plants need to have plenty of nutrients to survive and grow. It is a good idea to mix in a slow-release fertilizer with the soil. Throughout the season, it is also a good idea to add a water soluble fertilizer when water every other week at least. Follow the direction for the fertilizer according to its packet.Flowering plants often need to be deadheaded during the summer months. Doing the regularly will help the plant to continue to blossom throughout the season regularly. It is also a good idea to prune back leggy stems, as these can create eyesores; this rule goes for off colored or browning areas as well.

Container gardens should be changed out seasonally. As plants begin to fade, growing past their prime, it is often time to change the arrangements. You can keep your container gardens beautiful by using annual flowers in the containers. Grow a succession of plants, like bulbs for spring planters, annuals in the summer, and pansies or mums in the fall. By changing the planter per season the planter will never fade in beauty, and add appropriate decoration at all times!The last major maintenance concern is winter care. Many pot and containers should not be left out during the winter, whether they are planted or not. Some planters can be brought in, and the plants can be wintered through. However if you have emptied your containers, it is best not to leave them out during the freezing season. This can cause them to crack and break. These pots are best stored in an unheated basement or garage that does not freeze.

Container gardens are a beautiful addition to your landscape, process, patios, and homes! With these easy maintenance suggestions you can keep beautiful planters full of bloom after bloom for the entire growing season!

By: Susan Soler of the Team