Mother’s Day has come and gone, and now is traditionally the time to plant your flower pots. Each year I love planting flowers in pots, and placing them here and there on my deck, patio and front porch.
Having flower pots around your porch, deck, or mixed with flower beds is a great way to instantly brighten up your space.
Flower pots are also a great option for those who are just getting started with gardening and haven’t quite mastered the green thumb. Potted plants are generally pretty forgiving, and are easy to put together.
To get started with potted plants, you’re going to need a few things.
1. Pots– Find flower pots with drainage holes in the bottom, and in a size that you can handle. Don’t assume all pots have drainage holes. Most artistic pots don’t. If you have ceramic drill bits, you can create your own holes, but you also may crack your beautiful pot if not done correctly. Large pots get very heavy when filled with soil and water, so if you want large pots. Make sure to get gravel, packing peanuts, twigs or even better a plant insert, like this one to fill the bottom area. This lightens the load and give the roots much need oxygen.
2. Potting Mix– get more than you think you’ll need. Find one that is rich in nutrients and has fertilizers already mixed in.
3. Gravel, coffee filters, or screen– This is only necessary if you have large holes in the base of your pots. This keeps the soil from washing out when you water.
4. Plants– this is the fun part!
Choosing Plants for Your Pots:
Before you choose your plants you’re going to need to decide where your pots will live. This will determine whether you need to look for plants that thrive in shade, or those that need full sun. The best flowers for pots are found in the “annual” or “bedding plants” section of the garden center. While they only live one summer, they’ll bloom the entire season. Other plants, labeled as perennials, may lose their flowers within just a couple of weeks.
When choosing your plants, you’ll want to decide what style you’d like your pots to be. There are three basic arrangements for potted plants:
· Single Accent. This is a container that is full and lush with the same plant to create a big pop of color. This is a great option for plants like geraniums, pink impatiens, or trailing petunias. You’ll want two or three of the same small plant or one large plant to fill a container.
· Multicolor. You can always plant different varieties of the same plant together. This give you a uniform look with more color. Some plants may come packaged as a “mix” – but be sure you know what color you’re getting so you can arrange them evenly in the pot.
· Mixed: If you want to add variety to your pots, add a mixture of plants, colors, and texture. Choose one tall plant for the middle of the pot. A grass works well for this spot. Other options for tall plants are angelonia, geraniums, or coreopsis. Then, add bushy plants for width, a trailing plant to spill over the edge, and you can choose whatever colors you’d like. This is best for the largest pots so each plant has plenty of room to grow together.
If you’re overwhelmed with the variety of plants available, keep it simple. Choose one plant that you love. This is your focal point, your pop of color, your brightest and most diverse flower. Then, add two complementing plants. Stick with these three and buy enough to fill your pots. Keeping your plants to a few selections will create an intentional and cohesive look across all of your plants.
Planting your Flowers
Once you have your pots, flowers, and soil you are ready to start planting. It’s important to plant your flowers as soon as possible after purchasing them from the nursery.
1. If your drainage holes are larger than one-half inch, cover them up with some type of screening material, then fill the container with soil. Keep the soil 2” from the top. This ensure that when you water the plants, the water goes down instead of spilling out.
2. Place the plants in the container without removing them from their original packaging. This allows you to arrange them how you’d like them without disturbing the roots.
3. Once you have everything arranged how you’d like it, remove the plants from their pots gently. You can squeeze a little to get it out, but don’t yank or pull the stems. Nestle plants in the soil, adding soil in between plants as you go.
4. Make sure there are no roots showing and all the plants are in the soil at the same level.
5. Water the plant until the water runs out the bottom.
Caring for Potted Plants
You’ll want to water your containers every 2-3 days, depending on how quickly the soil is drying out. You can choose an all-purpose plant food every couple of weeks, but this is completely optional. Deadheading plants (removing spent blooms) is recommended to encourage more blooming.
Pots should have a purpose in your landscape, they should be clustered together and arranged in a way to create distinct spaces and collections. There are several ways to do this.
· Pots can be a great way to define garden space by clustering large and small containers together to create distinct corners around a garden space.
· Create great hallways throughout your landscape, whether you have an actual pathway through your property, or you’re creating the illusion of a hallway around a gate or up to the front door, pots do a great job of defining these spaces.
· Add interest by combining pots with sculptural plants or other strong shapes around your landscape.
· Potted plants can also serve as practical traffic control to avoid people from walking or gathering in areas where you’d rather them not.
One of the best things about potted plants is their portability. You can arrange your container garden anyway you’d like and move it around as your plants grow and mature. They also provide a great way to pair plants that don’t typically grow well together.
This living beauty is easily changed throughout the seasons. Pots are flexible and easy to please with proper prep and care.