Ornamentals, vegetables and herbs can be grown in containers. This gardening option is ideal for people who live in the city or in apartments. Planted containers are also a wonderful accent for homes and patios. Typical containers include planter boxes, barrels, window boxes and hanging baskets.
Choosing A Container
- Think big: Small containers will restrict root growth. Select containers that have wide openings. Containers should have bottom drainage holes about ½ inch in diameter.
- Line ground containers with newspaper so that soil will stay in when water drains out. Line hanging baskets with sphagnum moss so they will hold moisture.
- Glazed ceramics with drainage holes in the bottom are a safe choice. Avoid plastics and be careful of wood, which may rot (exceptions are cedar, redwood, teak and other outdoor-friendly woods).
- Do not use wood that has been treated with creosote and other toxic coatings that can harm plants.
- Clay containers can work, but because they dry out quickly, check moisture levels often.
- If you live in a hot region of the country, select containers that are light in color.
Planting A Container
Always set containers on blocks so they can drain. The soil in your containers should retain moisture but should not become soggy. If drainage is a problem, you may want to add a little sand.
Use potting compost to create an optimal growing environment. Potting soils are usually not ideal for container gardens.
Fill the container to within a couple of inches from the top edge to leave room for a thin layer of mulch.
Unlike houseplants and in-ground plantings, container plantings drain often and profusely and thus may require frequent fertilizing. Consult with your GRO-WELL retailer about the right fertilizer for your planting.
- Containers dry out faster than soil in the ground. Some plants in some locations may require daily watering.
- The same rules apply to container placement as to in-ground plantings: Select a location based on the plants in your container, remembering that different varieties require differing amounts of sunlight and shade.