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Container Gardening

Container gardening is popular, and it's here to stay!

Some great ideas to help give you inspiration are:
  • decorative containers with colorful plantings shown nestled within a garden-bed planting scheme
  • a group of planted containers as a major eye-catching focal point on a deck
  • massive containers planted with tall tropicals
  • colorful hand-painted pots accenting the garden here-and-there
  • planted containers mounted as accents on previously bland garden walls

The list can go on and on.

Years ago, “container gardening” merely seemed to be a solution for those wishing to have gardens but were restricted due to very limited backyard space or because they were an apartment dweller, for instance. In these situations, a visually well placed and easily accessible container or two of annual plants were normally recommended.


Plants in containers will use up nutrients rather quickly. Because water drains rapidly from good quality potting soil, the fertilizer is slowly washed out as you water.

Fertilize Often
I use a granular water soluble mixture and get great results. Other gardeners prefer liquid fertilizers, such as fish emulsion. Whatever your preferred fertilizer, just follow the feeding instructions on the package.

How Much Fertilizer?
Some experts recommend diluting any type of fertilizer to ½-strength for containerized plantings. Personally, I have always mixed my fertilizer full strength and have always had healthy plants. I have not had a problem with excessive salt build-up, either. You make up your own mind on this one!

How Often To Fertilize?
Most container plantings have to be watered at least once a day in hot weather. And because of this, fertilizer requirements normally increase. I have found I really ought to fertilize my most demanding/heavy feeders about every 7-10 days, like my Brugmansias. I'll admit that I sometimes go longer than that (shame on me!). The Brug's let me know if I've been lax … I can tell by the color of their leaves.

But you know what, even though I've read many articles stating that container plants need almost weekly feedings, I've not always found that to be the case. I've  got some plants that have lived in containers for years, and I fertilize them once a month during the growing season. They are quite healthy and robust.

You know ... I'm no specialist when it comes to fertlizer requirements, but I'll tell you, I do have years and years of experience with growing all kinds of plants in containers. I really think you just need to pay attention to what your plants look like and if they are or aren't flourishing.

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