Container Gardening Tips

Container gardens only require a little room, and can be placed just about anywhere (inside or outdoors). Container gardens create lovely gardens of flowers, herbs, vegetables, trees or shrubs that you can grow on patios, roofs, balconies or other locations. Remember some important gardening tips when caring for your container garden to ensure all your plants flourish.

Container Tips

Containers used for container gardening come in all sizes, shapes, colors, materials and prices. Select containers depending on the size required for the specific garden plants you desire to grow. Shallow-rooted plants, such as herbs, numerous annuals, lettuce and peppers grow best in containers 6 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep. Deep-rooted plants, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, or trees and shrubs grow best in larger containers. Some of the common containers used in container gardens include various types of clay pots, plastic pots, window boxes and hanging baskets. Do not restrict yourself to using only the "typical" containers in your garden. Remember, anything that can contain soil and permits drainage can be used in your container garden. Do not use a container that held toxic materials to grow your garden. Match the containers with the surrounding décor to blend it in, or use a dramatic container to create a focal point.

Soil Tips

Soil provides the much-needed elements for all types of plants to develop and thrive. Growing container gardens requires the use of the best type of growing media you can supply, since it is the only source the plant draws from. Container plant soil's key components include good air circulation, well-draining conditions and sufficient moisture preservation. Use high-quality potting soil or "soil-less" mixtures produced specifically for growing plants in containers. Or, mix your own soil using 1 part builder's sand (or perlite), 1 part garden soil and 1 part peat. Add a layer of mulch over the top of each container to maintain moisture in the soil longer.

Fertilizer and Watering Tips

Use soil with slow-release fertilizers, or add your own during the growing season. Fertilizers supply critical nutrients that wash away from the soil with each watering. Use a basic fertilizer, such as 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 (two times monthly), or one for the specific container garden you have, such as tomato, palm or citrus fertilizer, and so on. Follow the directions on the fertilizer label for amounts needed. These fertilizers come as water-soluble that you mix with water, or granules that you spread around each plant. Most are available for monthly applications, or in timed-released formulas good for three or more months. Check your garden containers daily for watering needs. This is especially important during the heat of the summer, for any containers located in direct sunlight and for all small-size containers. All of these circumstances cause the soil to dry out sooner. Check the first inch or two of soil and water when it is dry. Add enough water to each container until you see it draining from the bottom. Never allow the container to sit in standing water for long periods, which can harm the roots.

Keywords: container garden, growing container gardens, container gardening

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.