Annual Container Tips

Written by Chris Campbell

Here are a few tips for planting your spring containers:

  1. Rules? There are no rules! If you like what you have done, then it is perfect!
  2. Want to try something new? Try color blocking. J talks a lot about color blocking in his design and you can do the same thing with live plants as well. Try using a yellow pot with different shades of yellow flowers. Mix unique foliages, bloom shapes and sizes. Don’t like yellow? Try using a red or blue or orange pot and do the same thing with coordinating colors of flowers.
  3. Don’t forget about herbs. You can always plant an herb garden in a pot. It is actually a fun and easy way to grow herbs and contain some of those more “aggressive” varieties. Herbs have unique colors, fragrances and foliages; I suggest using them in your mixed annual containers as well. They add great interest to any annual container and don’t be afraid to cut the fresh herbs to use in your cooking.
  4. You can use perennials in your containers as well. If you find a perennial that would look great in your pot, use it! Let it grow in your mixed container through the season, then carefully dig it out of your pot in the fall and plant the perennial in your garden to winter it over. Remember… if you leave a perennial in your pot, it will not survive the winter above ground in colder climates.
  5. The tallest plant doesn’t always have to be in the center of your container. If your container is against a wall, in a corner or isn’t seen from all sides, try shifting the tallest plant to the “backside” of your pot. That way you have more room for medium height and trailing plants throughout the pot. And the lower plants don’t get hidden on the backside, where they won’t be seen.
  6. Don’t forget the fertilizer! Your local garden center should carry a slow-release fertilizer for containers gardens. Depending on the brand of fertilizer, it could feed anywhere from 4-9 months. What this means for you is, apply some fertilizer to the soil (as directed) while you are planting your pots and you won’t have to worry about fertilizing again. The slow-release fertilizer will feed your plants all season long! You can also add a product called ‘Soil Moist’. Soil Moist is small polymer beads that should be mixed in the soil when you are planting your containers. The polymer beads will retain moisture when you water your pots and then release it as the soil begins to dry out. This will require you to water less often.
  7. Most important… Have fun! Planting mixed containers (big or small) is a great way to spruce up any patio, deck, or sunroom. Visit your local independent garden center for plant suggestions or answers to your gardening questions.