Container Gardening with Flowers

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Container gardening with flowers is a great way to instantly introduce color, fragrance, and beauty into our lives. It makes flowers part of any landscape—even on a deck, patio, porch, or balcony. See our tips.

Container Gardening Tips

  • Be sure that any container you use has drainage holes.
  • Avoid small containers. They often can't store enough water to get through hot days. Large pots also insulate roots better.
  • Clay pots are usually more attractive than plastic ones, but plastic pots retain moisture better. Consider a plastic pot inside a larger clay pot. Cover rim with soil.
  • New lightweight containers, such as those made of fiberglass, plastic, or foam composites, also make moving pots easier.
  • Use soil-free potting mix; not only is it light, but the fluffy blend provides roots with more oxygen and nutrients.
  • Geraniums, nasturtiums, and petunias are classic, colorful container plants.
  • Plant pansies in pots outdoors in early spring.

How to Plant

  • To plant, place the container where you want your flower to grow. Be sure it receives enough sun.
  • Add a one-inch layer of fine gravel, horticultural charcoal, or clay pot shards to the bottom of the container so that water doesn't collect.
  • Fill the container 2/3 full with soil-free potting mix.
  • With your hands, make a hole in the potting mix about the diameter of the pot.
  • Knock the flower out of its pot, spread its roots slightly, and place it in the hole.
  • Add more potting mix to bring the level up to 2 inches below the container top.
  • Water gently, press the mix to reduce air pockets, add more mix if necessary, than water again.
  • Feed container plants at least twice a month with liquid fertilizer, following the instructions on the label.
  • Keep the planting medium moist. The container plant is totally at your mercy for water.
  • As winter approaches in cold climates, you'll need to store the container flowers inside.

Perennials for Pots

Astilbe, bee balm, bergenia, bleeding heart, coneflower, evening primrose, hosta, hybrid daylily, Maltese cross, speedwell, and tansy

Annuals for Pots

Begonia, browallia, dusty miller, fuchsia, lobelia, marigold, morning glory, portulaca, snapdragon, statice, sweet alyssum, and sweet pea

See our individual flower pages for "how to" advice on growing and caring for the most common garden flowers.

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Comments

are metel containers suitable

By cathey finger on March 31

are metel containers suitable for potting flowers?

The benefits of metal

By Almanac Staff on April 2

The benefits of metal containers: strong and non-porous (so it will hold moisture). It's not natural, but we do like the weathered look. The downside: metal conducts heat, exposing roots to rapid temperature fluctuations. This is more of an issue for vegetables than flowers; you can always line the pot with plastic.

I live in a ground floor

By darhopevan

I live in a ground floor apartment in Reno, NV, zone 7, (I believe), my neighbor cut down the large shrub that was shading my west wall, I can only plant in a long, narrow container (about 12 to 15 inches wide and five feet long). Any suggestions for the hot summer sun to shade my west wall? (I do not want to grow a really heavy vine, as I do not have a really good way to support it). Thanks, Dar

Hi, Dar, This is a puzzle. In

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Dar, This is a puzzle. In fact, the circumstances of your situation—the space configuration, the potential height of a shrub or tree, and more—cause us to be a little hesitant to advise you of any particular plants, but instead to suggest that you visit a local nursery or garden shop, perhaps with a photo at hand, and see what the experts there would recommend. There might be some local "exotic" plants that thrive in your climate that we are not aware of.
But we are curious! If indeed you do this, please tell us what your local resources recommend. Best wishes!

Try scented geraniums. My

By Martin Hauser

Try scented geraniums. My favorite ones smell like a walk through the forest, but you can also get varieties that smell like lemon, mint, nutmeg, apples and roses. Speaking of which, miniature roses are good in pots. Rosemary is another herb that you must have. I am growing a big patchouli plant which gives off its famous scent, especially when it's watered.

I love scented geraniums!

By anita sparks

I love scented geraniums! Where did you find a patchouli plant? Can I get a cutting?!

any ideas for fragrant

By barbg

any ideas for fragrant perennials for pots?

 It depends on your climate

By Catherine Boeckmann

 It depends on your climate but here are some suggestions: Fragrant Echinacea (Cone Flower) and Heliotrope, Sweet William, Lavender, Creeping Jenny, Forget-Me-Not, Phlox, Primrose, and Creeping Thyme. Have fun exploring what works for you!

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