How to plant container gardens
Creating your own container garden can be easy and affordable. Just follow a few simple steps:
Pick your spot: Where do you want the containers to go? Beautiful container gardens in Chicago make your home especially inviting when they flank your front door. You can also use larger, rectangular pots to create a division of space, such as separating your back yard from your patio. If you have specific plants in mind, your top consideration is determining where that plant will get the adequate amount of light and how much depth you need to support its growth.
Find your pot: If you don’t already have containers, you can purchase them pretty much anywhere these days, from Big Box discount and grocery stores to high-end retailers. Make sure the container you choose coordinates with the style of your home and fits the locations you’ve chosen. If you can’t dedicate time to water the pots frequently, consider an urn with a self-watering feature. Make sure you allow at least 12 inches of planting space for the flowers and eight inches of depth for annuals (more for shrubs or other perennials). Consider adding materials to the bottom of a larger container, such as rocks, broken pots or even packing peanuts, to encourage drainage.
Get dirty: Even if you have leftover dirt from another project, it’s best to start fresh. Garden soil may make your plants flourish in the ground, but once its put in a container both drainage and aeration will suffer. “Soil” made specifically for containers isn’t actually soil at all, but rather it includes alternatives such as peat moss. An option that’s gaining momentum is coconut coir (Learn more here). The coconut coir and other options ensure your containers have plenty of aeration and moisture, while still being well drained.
Choose your plants: There are a few considerations when choosing your plants, such as what kind of sun exposure they’ll get and how much space you have to work with. Beyond that, get creative and have fun! Try to mix and match your flowers so you have a variety of heights. Consider colors that either complement or contrast your home. Choose multiple shades of one color or pick a palette that uses multiple colors. Add a variety of textures and leaves to create depth and interest. Plant spikes in the middle of a round urn or ivy to hang over the side of a window box. Want an edible container? Plant a large rosemary or lavender bush, or mix and match herbs and lettuce. Not sure where to start? Some of our favorite container plants include pansy, acorns, nemesia, ranunculus, stock, Ivy, vinca vine, and blooming branches.
Get planting: Start in the middle with the tallest or largest plant and work your way out. Keep the soil level throughout the pot with the top of the soil remaining below the top of the container. Check the soil level after a few days and add more if needed. Water, water, water! If your container is small, you’ll have to water more frequently. Fertilize regularly, but check the label of your fertilizer for specific directions.
Finally, don’t forget to take the time to stop and smell your flowers!