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Container Gardening

Containers and the plants they carry can change any outdoor space and take the garden cheerfully from summer to fall, from the tiniest city balconies to the largest suburban backyards.

The container garden can be as flashy or elegantly understated as you wish, and matching the pot or planter to the desired plant impact is a lot of fun.

Why containers?

There are numerous advantages to using containers for producing annuals, tropicals, herbs, or anything else. Plants in pots extend the landscape and garden's presence to the patios, terraces, and paths immediately surrounding the house. In addition, you may add color and texture to otherwise empty spaces by adding sculptural focal pieces where they're needed. Container plantings attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators and enliven the outdoor living environment in general.

For individuals living in urban areas, the container may be the only method to bring colorful plants, such as herbs and vegetables, into their lives. If your outside space is a raised balcony, ensure the containers are secured, and weight limits are met. Always keep in mind that the correct container can project a sculptural aspect that lends an air of refinement to a place in terms of size and shape.

Types of containers

Pots and planters come in various materials and shapes, but they all follow the same rules. First, because soil moisture and temperatures are more evenly distributed, the larger the container, the less stress on the plants. Second, unless you're growing pond plants, the container must drain. Also, resist the desire to put a saucer under a pot; this will result in damp soil and root rot.

Larger pots are more difficult to work with and cost more than smaller ones. A single giant pot, or a grouping of three, on the other hand, will have a presence that a jumble of little pots would not.

Mass-produced terra-cotta pots are inexpensive and attractive. Plastic versions keep moisture longer, although you may feel that the world has enough plastic. If you're planting with a color scheme in mind, glazed clay pots can help.

Soil mixes

Always remember to don't use garden soil in pots. It's too dense and will become soaked, causing root rot. Peat moss, limestone to buffer the acidity of the peat moss, humus, and perlite are common ingredients in potting mixes. Peat-free mixtures are available since the collection of sphagnum peat moss from bogs has become an environmental concern. You can also make your mix by combining finished, screened compost, sharp sand, and garden loam. Some gardeners use fine pine-bark mulch and chicken grit.

The amount of potting mix required grows exponentially in proportion to the size of the pot, and larger pots can easily consume entire bags. Seasonal plants don't need very deep soil. You can save money by filling the bottom third or half of a large container with something else instead of potting mix. Don't forget to leave an inch or so between the soil line and the container's rim; this is for you to have a more efficient watering.

Plant options

Elephant ear, coleus, lantana, calamint, rudbeckia, and echinacea, among our prominent summer annuals and perennials, all have a place in the container garden.

It's a good idea to study the light conditions in the area where your container will be placed. Partially shaded plants get some relief from the hot afternoon light (and reduces watering needs).

Herbs are a natural choice for containers because most of them prefer hot, dry summers. They do better in free-draining pots than in garden beds, but they still need to be watered regularly.

Many veggies may thrive in containers with little care and are pretty appealing. Swiss chard, parsley, trailing and bush tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are examples of these.

Feeding care

What are the cost of all this mobile and quick beauty? Watering. During the hottest weeks of the year, most containers will require a daily deep drink. When water drains from the bottom of the pot, it means it has been thoroughly soaked. Water the soil rather than the leaves, and do it before the plants begin to show signs of wilting.

Even if it's raining, water your pots. Even in summer deluges, nature does not adequately represent water containers. The finest tool for determining soil moisture is your finger, followed by your eye; watch for drooping leaves.

Container plants develop in a controlled environment and require nourishment to stay healthy and productive. When planting, many gardeners use a granular, slow-release fertilizer at the prescribed rate, then follow up with a synthetic or organic liquid feed after a few weeks. Don't go overboard.

With pruners, you can keep your container garden looking lovely. Deadheading faded flowers encourages future flowering while maintaining well-groomed plants. Stems can be softly trimmed or cut back harder as needed during the season. To maintain a fresh appearance, remove aging leaves as soon as they become yellow or brown.

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