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New Gardeners Guide to Planting a Container Garden

Apr 1, 2008
Container gardens give those people who don't have yards or room for a "regular" garden a way to grow the gardens they crave. Now, they can have a garden on a deck, patio or in a window box or even inside their houses. All types of plants can be grown: vegetables, shrubs, roses, annuals, perennials. The list is endless.

Containers filled with colorful foliage and flowers can really brighten the home, indoors and out. You can have any color scheme that you wish, with colors that harmonize or contrast with your existing home colors. Even just having plant foliage without flowers can liven up a drab house.

When you are choosing plants for your container garden, think about the height of your plants in relation to where you plan to put them. Planting a tall plant or shrub in a window box could block the view from inside a window. Flowering plants should have a long blooming season so that you don't have to change them out too frequently.

The containers that you choose also make a difference in the feel of the finished garden. You can be creative and use everything from terracotta pots to large dishes to old oaken buckets. You are only limited by your imagination. Pay attention to the material that the pot is made of. Some materials (such as terracotta) may need to be sealed or painted so that they don't leach all of the water away from the plants.

If purchasing pots for indoors or deck and patio use, you will need to have saucers or plates for them to set on. Otherwise, you will have water and dirt stains on your floors. I have even seen some decks that have rotting wood because of water damage from potted plants.

Never, ever use garden dirt in your plantings. It is essential that you use a high quality potting mix. This will guard against the pests and diseases that you would get from garden soil and will ensure the best possible performance from your plants.

Do you know where you will be locating your plants? Make a plan about where your container garden will be, and then purchase the plants and containers to fit into that area. You also need to determine whether the area is shady or sunny before you purchase your plants. Shade-loving plants will not do well in direct sunlight and vice-versa.

You should also pay attention to the root size of your plants. Those that have a large root system will not be suitable for growing in pots -- even if they are large pots.

You may not have much room for plants in the front of your home. However, you can still place a couple of medium-sized flower pots on both sides of the door or front steps. The flowering plants will make a beautiful statement about your home. The plants and flowers don't need to match exactly. In fact, it's better if they are of differently varieties. This will give the front of your home more character.

If you are grouping plants in an area, it's best to group them in odd numbers. You should also vary the height and type of plants. You can unite the dissimilar plants by placing them in similar pots and by adding stones or rocks that are alike in type and color.

By using creativity and common sense you can grow a beautiful garden even if you don't have the normal outdoor space that a normal outdoor garden requires.
About the Author
For more information on Container Gardening visit GuideForGardeners.com, a website that provides tips and information on all types of gardening.
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