Read Dawn Pasco’s first post on how to start a container garden here.
Choosing the Right Plants
Selecting plants for a container garden can be overwhelming. There are so many choices and beautiful flowers that it can be hard to decide what to choose.
I usually start by narrowing it down to those plants that work within my sunlight conditions. Will your pot be in full sun or part shade? I also narrow it down to perennials or annuals? It’s okay to mix them up. Perennials will come back every year and annuals typically last one season.
Arranging Your Container Garden
My friend Miki who is a Master Gardener has a process she uses when putting flower arrangements together. She shared the following information from the Johnson County Extension Master Gardener’s program.
- Start with your largest plant first and place it in the back or towards the center of your pot. This is what’s called the thriller. Examples of thrillers would be: ornamental grasses, salvia spikes, flowering shrubs and hibiscus plants. Thrillers could also be an urn or lantern. A general rule of thumb is that thrillers should be at least the height of the container or taller.
- Second add your filler plants. Fillers do exactly what their name says. They are plants that fill in your container and surround the thriller. Examples of fillers would be liriope, coleus (this is a personal favorite), geraniums, zinnias ,dragon wing begonias and pentas
- Lastly add your spillers. These are flowers and plants that will trail over your pot. Some examples are: sedum, lantana, petunias, vinca vine, sweet potato vine, creeping jenny and bacopa
Have fun and think outside of the box when putting your arrangements together. Consider adding river birch tree limbs, willow branches, curly willow and moss or vine balls to your pots as well. I love how Miki used curly branches as a thriller in the above photo. Her pot flows nicely with the exterior and style of her home.
Now that you have your pots planted this next step is the hardest part for me. As I stated in yesterday’s part one post on container gardening, I like to plant succulents. By about mid July, I’m tired of watering. However, watering is a necessity if you want to keep your plants alive.
- To ensure that plants are thoroughly soaked water slowly. You should have a small trickle of water come through the drainage hole.
- Deadhead– pick off old blooms to prolong blooming and keep plants neat.
- Prune– pinch back plants that get leggy to encourage bushy growth and more blooms.
- Groom– remove dead leaves and stalks to keep plants attractive.