Space-Challenged Landscape? Contain Yourself

David Abrego

Beyond just conserving space, container gardening also offers portability and creative freedom. Plus it makes light work of replacing summer selections with winter color.

Not everyone has yard space for a grand garden. But you can work with what you’ve got. A container garden is a great alternative for small spaces.

More than just conserving space, container gardening also offers portability and creative freedom. Don’t like the location? Changed your mind about the arrangement? Just move it! And, gardening in pots makes light work of replacing winter seasonal color with summer seasonal color. Plant petunias in place of pansies.

Before you get your garden in gear, familiarize yourself with the needs of the plants you’re considering, such as water and light requirements, growth habit, bloom period, etc. Selecting containers that best suit your plants will go a long way toward the success of your new garden.

Consider the pot material. Clay or terra cotta pots are popular, though they can be heavy and tend to absorb moisture. Plastic is lightweight and drains well, but may deteriorate in the sun. Biodegradable pots are ideal if you plan to transplant. Just be sure to get them in the ground before they start to crumble.

  • Sterilize pots with fungicide and fill with a good garden soil mix.
  • Ensure the container has drainage holes; recycle broken flower pot pieces by placing shards over the holes to promote drainage and prevent soil from washing away.
  • Combine plants with similar needs (water, light, growth habit, etc.).
  • Place the pots accordingly; dark-colored pots should not be in full sun all day.

Since your plants will be growing in a restricted environment – containers limit the water and nutrient reservoir – their needs will be different than a garden growing in the ground. You may need to water and fertilize more often.

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