• Andrea

Container Garden Like A Pro

Raise your hand if you're guilty of buying overpriced premade flower arrangements


You are not alone!


I know them all too well--beautifully crafted and perfectly places all around the garden section of your local garden store. As you walk in, they call, “Buy me, becasue you can’t do this yourself!”


Yes, we've all fallen prey to this ploy at some point. I'm going to show you how to plant beautiful arrangements without spending a fortune, and there's no green thumb required -- guaranteed.


First things first: Buy a planter/flower pot


My rule of thumb is nothing over $30. Sound cheap? That’s because it is, and you’ll thank me later. There’s nothing worse than falling out of love with a container that you spent a fortune on.


It’s like staying together for the kids -- in the end, nobody is happy. Or worse yet, the darn thing breaks and you’re out hundreds of dollars. And there's the little matter of finding a replacement.



What kind of planter?


I like to go for hard plastic. It’s not much to look at, but after a couple of weeks, when your lovely flowers are pouring down over the side, no one is checking out the quality of the container. It’s also a great way to play with color, shape and size. It may take a few tries and a few seasons before you find the perfect match.

Here's a fun trick





Place plastic cups upside down (or the small plastic pot many flowers come in) to save soil space in your container. This is such a money-saver as potting soil costs are so high lately. Keep in mind the shorter the growing period, the less space you’ll need. For instance, if you have a really short summer in the upper Northeast, you’ll need less soil depth for annual roots to grow.


Try out a few arrangements at the top of the soil to see what looks great before you plant. Once they're in the potting mix you don't want to disturb the roots by making changes.




For annuals, don't fret too much about overcrowding, especially if you have a short season. Once all the plants begin to fill in, the look really comes together. You want them to mingle and make friends, not just stay cropped in a corner.


After a couple of years, when I’m bored with a look, I simply take my containers from previous years around back. An array of planters is placed throughout our multi-tiered deck. Another idea is to put your planters of flowers and herbs throughout your landscaping. They work especially well in bare areas or when tulips and other spring blooms die back.


I used geraniums, verbena, calibrachoa, garden asparagus, vinca vine, and a couple of miniature spike plants. This combination prefers full sun but will tolerate a touch of afternoon shade.


Last but perhaps most important, research the plants you love. I live for hydrangeas but I find they just don’t bloom as profusely in northern Indiana as in Virginia, so I sought out a good replacement. I fell in love with peonies and never looked back. They grow beautifully here! I still keep a few hydrangeas in a sunny spot out back, but my peonies run the show now.


It’s all about finding what works and old-fashioned trial and error.

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