Growing flowering plants in containers is a popular alternative to growing plants in the ground. This is because containers take up less space, are easily accessible and the plants are easily changed if they fade or decline. If you are growing plants that are intolerant of freezing temperatures, the containers in which the plants are planted can be moved indoors or protected during cold weather. Almost any type of flowering plant can be grown in a container if the container is the right size. A container with a single plant can make a dramatic statement as well as a mix of flowering plants in a balanced design.
Consider the location of your flowering plant container. This is important when it comes to choosing the flowering plants for your container. Some plants grow best in full sun, which is six or more hours of sun each day, while other plants prefer part shade. In most cases, flowering plants in containers will do best if exposed to morning sun rather than the hottest afternoon sun because containers dry out easily.
Choose the container you would like to use for your container flower garden. A variety of attractive containers is available at a typical garden center. However, you can make a container from other material such as a bucket or old wheelbarrow. The most important feature that a container must have is good drainage. Drainage holes may already be located in the bottom of the container. If they are not, you'll need to drill enough holes in the bottom of the container so water cannot stand in the container for any length of time. The root systems of plants sitting in warm water will quickly rot and the plants will die.
Choose the flowering plants you would like to plant in your container garden. If you are growing more than one plant, choose plants with different textures but the same light and moisture requirements. For example, in a full sun location, you may choose an ornamental grass for texture and a mounding flowering annual such as a low growing variety of zinnia. For an added touch, you can add a trailing plant such as verbena to cascade over the rim of the container.
Place the container in the desired location and add a 1-inch layer of pea gravel in the bottom of the container. This is to facilitate drainage by preventing the drainage holes from being plugged by plant roots and potting soil. Add enough potting soil so the plants are placed into the potting soil, leaving a 1-to-2-inch space between the top of the plant's root base and the rim of the container once the plants are added.
Place the flowering plants into the container depending on how the container will be viewed. For example, if the container is viewed from one side, place taller plants in the back of the container, medium height plants in the middle and lower or trailing plants in the front. If the container is viewed from all sides, the tallest plants are planted in the middle with the lower growing plants are planted around the edges of the container.
Add potting soil around all plants while slowly adding water to the soil to remove any air pockets that may form around the plants' root systems. For a decorative touch, add a 1-inch layer of mulch around the newly planted plants.