Container gardens are the latest homeowner landscaping rage. Instead of buying prepared container gardens from nurseries, homeowners have chosen to create their own floral displays for half the cost. Every container starts with the empty planter. This beautiful container can become the home for a variety of different plants. Annual flowers provide the easiest choice for container gardens with a wide variety of flowers and foliage. These plants also provide color throughout the growing season.
Check the bottom of the container to locate drainage holes. Spacing should allow at least 4 inches between holes along the pot base. If not, punch a few extra holes using a hammer and screwdriver. Most plastic patio containers have pre-punched holes to provide adequate drainage.
Select plants that suit the growing conditions. Determine where you want to place the container and match the choice of plants to the available sunlight. Each annual features a label designating the requirements for successful care. Don't attempt to pair full sun and shade plants in the same container. Group plants with the same growing requirements for best results.
Select three types of plants. Choose one type of medium height plant for a floral display. Select a second tall plant as a focal point. Tall foliage plants such as spikes or caladium add dramatic effect to the annual container garden. Choose a third variety of plant with a mounding or trailing growth habit to fill in around the taller plants. The blending of three growth styles uses all available space.
Fill the container with new potting soil about 4 to 6 inches from the pot rim. Pop each plant out of the transplant pot from the nursery by squeezing the sides of the plastic pot. Hold the main plant stem and lift gently. Rub the outside roots of each plant with your hands to loosen compacted soil and roots.
Place all the plants into the container in their proper positions. The top of the roots should lie about 2 inches below the pot edge. Position the plants based on the intended view of the plant. Containers visible from every side should have the tallest plant in the center with smaller plants arranged around the focal point. Place the tallest plant of a side view planter at the back and work forward in descending height.
Pour potting soil around the positioned annuals and tamp down lightly with your hands. Finished soil level should lie about 1 inch from the pot rim to allow space for watering.
Water the container frequently at the soil level to ensure even moisture throughout the planter. Poke a finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If the soil feels dry, water the container garden.