Container gardens serve utilitarian and aesthetic purposes in the landscape. You can create a container garden with any container that holds soil and has a drain hole so excess water does not accumulate around plant roots. Gardening in containers solves several challenges such as poor soil, extending the growing season, and small spaces. Containers dry out more quickly than soil however and need water frequently in hot weather.
Herbs make great container plants for the patio or balcony. A collection of pots in a visually pleasing arrangement or a large container such as a half barrel can grow a wide variety of herbs with complementary colors and textures. According to Alan Toogood in "Container Gardening," annual herbs that grow well in containers include parsley, cilantro, basil, dill and sweet marjoram.
A perennial herb garden container might contain several varieties of thyme such as lemon, common and variegated. Chives, fennel, bay laurel, oregano and rosemary perform well in containers. Mint should always be grown in containers as it becomes invasive in a traditional garden. Do not forget to try some less common herbs and spices in your containers like ginger, salad burnet, stevia or garlic chives.
Grow most garden vegetables in containers as long as the pot size is sufficient for the root growth of mature plants. A large container can grow entire salad worth of vegetables like lettuce, mesclun, spinach, carrots and spring onions.
Plant summer vegetables that require large growing areas in individual containers. Make sure these plants receive at least six to eight hours of full sun each day. You may grow summer squash, tomatoes and a variety of different peppers in a vegetable container garden. With the addition of vertical support, you can grow cucumbers and pole beans.
Creating a flower-filled container garden provides the opportunity to exercise your creativity and artistry. Many flowers grow well in containers such as daisies, petunias, daylilies and geraniums. To achieve the look you want in your flower container, follow a few basic principles of design suggests the horticulturists from Texas A&M University.
Choose a focal point where the viewer's eye goes first. Achieve focus by using bright colors, interesting textures and size. Radiate out from the focus with contrasting colors, size and textures to create balance. Repeating colors or color shades establishes a rhythm for the container or container group. Color ties together several containers to create a feeling of unity. For visual effect, an odd number of flowering plants in a container or an odd number of containers in a group work better than an even number.