Raise your hand if you're guilty of buying an overpriced prearranged flower pot in your lifetime? You know, the plain plastic pots filled with purple petunias that line the garden section of your store. As you walk in, they call out, “Buy me, you can’t do this yourself!”
Yes, we've all fallen prey 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 flower pot. My rule of thumb is nothing over $30. Sound cheap? That’s because it is and believe me, 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.
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.
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, I’m bored with any one look, so I simply take my containers from previous years out back. The array of pots is amazing placed throughout our multi-tiered deck. Another idea is to place your flower and herb gardens amid 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 and 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.