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.