Table of contents:
- Hanging baskets
- Balcony boxes
- Tubs and trays
- Cultivation bags and other flexible containers
- Unusual containers
- What to grow?
- Watering and feeding
- Watering on holidays
- How to plant plants …
- Helpful hints and tips:
Video: If You Have Chosen Container Gardening
Container gardening offers unique opportunities to express your personality in the garden. These days, containers are available in a variety of styles and tastes - from traditional terracotta to space-age metal - something special, not for everyone! An endless array of shades and designs, from historic and rustic styles to ultra-trendy clean lines, provide an incredible selection. You can create your own pots and baskets from disused materials such as cans, old boots and shoes. All you need is a little imagination.
The selection of hanging baskets has grown dramatically in recent years. The once common wire baskets and plastic containers with plant pockets are excellent and still widely available, while wicker baskets today come in a variety of natural materials and designs. This type of container is ideal for rustic and romantic style ampels. There is a large selection of metal and ceramic hanging containers - this is a really tough choice!
Things to keep in mind when choosing hanging containers:
- Wire and metal hanging baskets should be lined with moss, coconut fiber, or similar material. It is good to place a plastic liner inside, which would retain water and prevent overdrying. Regular watering is required. A tray and adding hydrogel crystals to the substrate will help keep the soil moist longer.
- If there is no plastic insert included with the wicker hanging basket, it must be added, otherwise the basket will quickly become unusable. As with all hanging containers, the soil should be light, with the addition of compost, long-acting fertilizers and hydrogel granules.
- Plastic models are simple and convenient to use, often have ready-made pockets for plants, and better retain moisture. However, they look rustic until the plants grow enough to completely hide them.
- In ceramic and clay containers, the soil dries out as quickly as in wire ones, and needs frequent watering. They require very strong wall brackets as they are quite heavy. However, juveniles and other succulents that require less moisture and attention will grow well in clay containers.
- For all hanging containers, the brackets must be made strong as their weight increases significantly after watering.
- Don't forget that there are wall-mounted containers that open up new possibilities for vertical gardening.
- A cheap and fun hanging basket can be made from light wood shavings or an old colander.
These long, narrow containers are ideal for decorating your home with flowers. Among the many materials and styles, you can easily find one that matches your home. They can grow seasonal annuals, bulbous, compact vegetables. The kitchen window can be a source of herbs and salads for your table. Don't forget about safety, especially if the windows are high - check the strength of the fastening and add a pallet to protect the walls from moisture.
Tubs and trays
Large pots, planters and trays can play an invaluable role in a spacious formal garden, as well as in a tiny patio or balcony. Most plants will grow successfully in this container, including small ornamental and fruit trees. There is a wide selection of containers in all kinds of materials, colors and styles to match your idea. Using old containers will add personality to your garden and allow you to get by with little money.
Good drainage is important for such containers. If there are no drain holes, they should be made (but be careful with fragile ceramics). Raise the container above ground level to improve water flow, place it on stones, or buy special stands that are no less diverse than the pots. Whatever you use, make sure the drain holes are open. Add long-lasting granular fertilizers and hydrogel to the soil to improve the supply of food and water to the plants. Keep in mind that soil dries out faster in clay pots than in plastic pots, so it is advisable to water it 2 times a day.
Cultivation bags and other flexible containers
Cultivation bags have been used for growing tomatoes for many years, but other vegetables can be successfully grown in them. They are simple, cheap, portable, ideal for confined spaces. Equipped with drainage holes and handles for increased mobility. There are foldable flexible patio containers for easy winter storage. They are good for growing strawberries, salads, herbs, tomatoes and other vegetables, even including potatoes. Usually such containers are accompanied by instructions on what can be grown in them. It is a convenient and economical way to get your own vegetable production with minimal maintenance.
What do rubber boots and old tubs have in common? Both can be used to plant plants in the garden. Pots, cans, sinks, and waste water tanks are just a few of the potential containers for plants.
What to grow?
Bulbous plants (planted in the fall) are favorites of container floriculture. They are planted in a mixture with yellow flowers, pansies and primroses that bloom a little later. If you add evergreens to the composition, the delightful "traveling holiday" will begin in early spring. In the future, these pots can be replaced with others filled with plants of later flowering dates.
The "two-tiered" planting allows to extend the flowering of bulbous plants. Daffodils are planted deeper, above them are tulips mixed with crocuses, snowdrops, erantis or other early small-bulbous plants. This mixture can provide flowering for 3 months. Ideal for container planting of low growing varieties of daffodils and tulips, they are less exposed to winds. Joyful spring combinations are obtained by planting bulbs, pansies and ivy together.
Summer bulbous *
Bulbous plants planted in spring are also important container plants. Lilies do well in pots and can grow in containers for several years. They are excellent for placement against doors and windows so that scent can penetrate inside. Lily pots are placed in a mixborder, exposed in a prominent place during the flowering period. Suitable for pots and exotic - agapanthus, calla lilies and cannes, which can be used to decorate the patio during the flowering period, and then set aside. Traditional container plants are begonias, among which there are ampelous ones. They are gorgeous hanging basket plants and their impressive flowers and vibrant leaves look good in compositions with other plants or on their own.
Herbs have been grown on windowsills for centuries. When the area is not sufficiently cultivated to grow normally, plant the herbs in containers that can be placed anywhere. You can mix different herbs in the same pot, but it makes sense to grow them separately - mint, for example, grow quickly and overwhelm competitors. Of course, you want to have lush thickets of several herbs in one pot, but you can also make a composition of several pots attractive, in each of which herbs of the same variety grow. When growing different herbs together, light and nutritional needs must be considered - for example, rosemary and thyme need full sun and well-drained soil, while parsley and basil need less light and moist soils. Place them near the kitchen door,where it will be convenient for you to cut herbs for kitchen needs, and the light aroma that you feel when you touch or just pass by will serve to lift your spirits. Note that most herbs will grow well in containers, with the exception of long-rooted herbs such as horseradish or angelica **.
Short tomatoes and strawberries are ideal for creating “edible baskets”. Small cherry tomatoes and remontant strawberries form great ampels and provide delicious fruits. There are few types of vegetables that will refuse to grow under these conditions. Any containers will come in handy. Small ones can be used for salads - nothing is easier than growing salads on raised ridges built from wooden crates. Even potatoes and leeks can be grown in deep containers. There are a number of container seed mixes, such as legumes, green beans, green beans and peas, to provide you with fantastically delicious fresh produce for your culinary needs! Use specially designed containers and bags for them, and you will always have your own treat - fresh vegetables and berries.
In addition to the traditional container-grown geraniums (ivy and zonal), begonias, marigolds and lobelias, there is an endless variety of seasonal container plants. Use sweet peas, mimulus, nasturtiums, petunias, pansies, fuchsias, etc. Create compositions in cold or warm colors, classic or exotic mixtures. In recent years, the range has expanded with unusual plants in hot climates, cold-resistant enough for summer keeping in the garden. Rhodochiton (lofospermum), which gives beautiful verticals and backgrounds, the striking turmeric, nerine and hymenokallis (Peruvian daffodil) can be placed in the garden after the frost threat has disappeared, and returned to the premises for the winter.
By using a variety of plants, bulbs or seeds, you can create amazing combinations. Just select the height of the plants according to your idea. Mix colors or, conversely, stick to the same color scheme, planting begonias, nasturtiums, geraniums or rudbeckia. Nasturtiums are economically viable, easy to grow from seeds, but you can buy ready-made seedlings of new varieties. Ideal for hanging baskets and patio containers, sweet peas, especially undersized varieties. Its delicate flowers have a delightful aroma and must be present in the summer garden. Remove wilted flowers to prolong flowering.
Watering and feeding
Careful attention to watering and feeding is the key to successful container gardening. Water the plants regularly and feed them throughout the season. Follow the basic rules:
Water early in the morning or in the evening to allow the plants to absorb moisture before being exposed to direct sunlight.
- If the plants are planted under the midday sun, check that the soil is moist at a depth of about 1.5 cm, then the plants will restore turgor at sunset. If the soil is dry, pour directly under the root to avoid burning the leaves.
- Containers placed in direct sunlight will need more watering than shade.
- Small hanging baskets and pots will require more frequent watering - once or twice a day. Make sure the ground is well saturated with water.
- Never allow the soil to dry completely.
- In case of a long absence, it is useful to add a hydrogel to the substrate already during planting, which has the ability to retain an amazing amount of water. It reduces the need for watering and supports the plants during the holidays.
- There are many smart irrigation devices commercially available, from cheap dropper bottles to expensive electronically programmed automated systems.
- And, finally, you may have reliable friends or neighbors who will agree to look after the plants in your absence.
- Place the plastic insert in the wicker basket. If the basket is made of hard material, first fill the bottom with broken shards drainage. Fill the basket with wet soil to the level where you want to plant the first layer of plants (bulbs).
- Punch holes in the body so that you can feed into the root zone without compacting the topsoil or damaging the leaves hanging outside the pot (some containers already have holes or pockets).
- Plant the plants in the center of the basket, leaving 1 inch (2.5 cm) to the brim with no soil to prevent water from flowing out when watering. Water and keep protected until frost ends.
- If the planting material is dry, place it in a bucket of water so that the root ball is completely saturated with moisture.
- Fill the container with compost - damp but not wet. Do this near where the pot will sit, as it may be too heavy with the soil.
- Do not add the substrate to the top, leave 2.5 cm to the brim, otherwise the water will drain out of the pot without being absorbed.
- Plant the same plants or mixture of varieties, water.
- Place the container on a stand, stones, bricks, etc. so that drainage works well and does not cause waterlogging.
- Always water your plants with a splitter watering can.
- Make sure the clay pots are frost-resistant, otherwise they will have to be removed indoors during the winter.
- Try to use the largest containers you can afford. A large volume will provide room for the root system of plants and slow down the drying of the soil.
- Remove faded inflorescences regularly. By doing this, you will maintain a neat appearance of plantings, prolong flowering and prevent fungal diseases. Since plants in containers are too close together, they are more likely to get sick than in soil.
- Remember that clay pots are porous and lose more moisture than containers made from other materials.
Throughout the growing season, weekly feeding is required. Long-term fertilization during planting will ensure that feeding occurs with every watering. But you can also use specialized soluble or liquid fertilizers for specific groups of plants that you are growing.
Watering on holidays
This is one of the known problems that can negate all the work of growing container plants. Leaving plants for a while without watering, you risk losing them. Here are some ideas on how to deal with this situation:
If you are away for a few days, water the plants well and place them in the shade where the soil will not dry out as quickly as in the sun. This alone is usually sufficient.
How to plant plants …
… in hanging baskets:
Remove the chains and balance the basket on an empty flower pot or bucket.
… in tubs and pots
Fill with broken shards or other suitable material.
Helpful hints and tips:
It is better to plant too many plants than too few to achieve the greatest decorative effect. Just water and fertilize thoroughly to compensate for the large number of plants.
* In Europe, tuberous and tuberous rhizome plants are also referred to bulbous plants.
** In our country, angelica is practically not used as a spicy plant, while in England it has been cultivated for a long time, there are even vegetable varieties. (Ed.)
Material and photos courtesy of Suttons (UK)
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