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Plantland Home & Garden

Prince George, BC, Canada

Gardening Tips

What you Need to Know When You Don't Have a Green Thumb

Container Gardening

Growing Orchids
Container growing continues to grow in popularity. Growing flowers in containers is a quick, easy way to add instant colour to a deck, patio, walkway etc. They are perfect for those smaller spaced areas where there might not be enough room for a flowerbed, and also are easy to care for, as they are raised, making them more accessible. To grow a beautiful container to last the season, there are a few things that should be done.

The first thing is choosing the container. Containers should be at least 30 cm large or larger. Larger containers will allow more space for plants to grow, as well as less watering as it is able to hold more soil and moisture. There is a huge assortment of containers to choose from. You can choose pots made of ceramic, plastic, clay, wood, metal, in a huge assortment of colours and styles. You can also try something different and use an old watering can, wheelbarrow, wooden crate or other container that is unique, it just needs to have drainage. If you are placing the container on a surface that could be wrecked by water, place a large saucer under it to catch the access water.

A good quality, growing medium is extremely important in ensuring a plants healthy growth. Don’t dig out soil from the garden, instead use a bagged growing mixture. Fill the container with growing mix, leaving enough room to add the plants. Mixing slow release fertilizer into the growing medium will help feed plants throughout the growing season.

Choosing the right plants for the location will ensure a healthy, happy container. If the container is going to be in an area that only receives early morning and late afternoon sun, choose plants for shade. Containers that will be placed in a location that gets lots of afternoon sun should have sun-loving plants. Container plants are now available at the garden centre and will have the growing preferences listed on the label.

When choosing plants for the container think of Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers. The Thriller is the centre point of the container. This is the plant that is in the middle of the container and grabs the attention. They tend to be tall and large with interesting foliage and or flowers. Canna’s, grasses, dracaenas, tropical plants, evergreens etc all work well. The next plants will be the fillers. These are the plants that will be planted around the thriller to fill in the planter, and are between the thriller and spiller. They tend to have an upright, mounded growth habit and compliment the thriller. There are many different plants and varieties to choose from and don’t forget to look at perennials and herbs for something different. Last but certainly not least is the spillers. These are the plants that are planted around the outside edge of the container and spill over the edge. You can choose plants such as ivies, Sweet Potato Vine, Creeping Jenny, or Silver nettle for their foliage or verbena, supertunia, lobelia etc, for flowers.

When creating your container, have fun with it. Play around with texture, colour, style etc. To keep the container looking good, fertilize it weekly with a flowering plant fertilizer such as 12-36-12. Keep it watered and remove finished blooms before they can set seed pods. It is too early to place planted containers outdoors but if you have a heated greenhouse or a space with lots of light, you can start your container now. This way it will be large and blooming by the time it is ready to go outdoors in mid/late May after all threat of frost has passed. Before putting it outdoors harden plants off by placing the container outdoors during the day and taking it in at night for a few days, so plants get used to the outdoor temperatures.