Growing flowers in pots is an ideal way to have a garden for people who live in rentals or small spaces, and potted arrangements also make a nice accent to your garden beds. Many garden flowers, herbs and vegetables are suited to container growing, giving you a great variety of plants to choose from. You can also be creative with the types of containers you use, from standard terracotta or plastic pots to old shoes and kitchenware.
Plan ahead when designing your flower pot garden. While it may be tempting to just go to the garden store and buy whatever strikes your fancy, a little forward planning will help you make the most of the space and create eye-catching arrangements. You should also take into account the light conditions in the place you plan to put your containers, and put plants that will thrive in low, partial or full sunlight.
Increase your flower pot garden space with shelves, window containers and hanging pots, especially if you're growing on a balcony or porch with limited floor space.
Plant your garden in containers your flowers will do well in. Make sure the containers are large enough to accommodate growing roots, and that they have drainage holes on the bottom. Terracotta pots are pretty and provide good air circulation and insulation for roots, but they're heavy to move around and they dry out easily. Wooden containers are also heavy and can rot after a few seasons. Plastic containers are light and easy to manage, but they use precious natural resources and aren't bio-degradable.
Use different sizes and different types of containers. Vary the height and diameter of the pots, and consider mixing regular flower pots with interesting containers like old cooking pots and tea kettles, used coffee cans, or old toys like dump trucks. Pots can also be placed inside baskets or bird cages for some variation in the garden. Place the containers on trays or plates to help contain the soil and keep the water from making a mess.
Consider the heights of plants you want to work with, their type and their color. Tall, spiky flowers like snapdragons combine well with some low-growing clumps of pansies or trailing ivy. Showy petunias complement herbs like lavender or thyme. Marigolds, calendula or nasturtiums are richly colored and attract beneficial insects. Plants can be grouped in pots by the color of their flowers for a classic effect, or mixed up for a rainbow of hues.
Keep your garden in bloom longer by using plants that flower in different parts of the season. Bulbs like tulips and daffodils come up in early spring and pansies, violas, and petunias will flower into the summer. Chamomile, feverfew and snapdragons will stay from summer into early fall in most climates, and flowering kale adds color to your fall garden when the other blooms have faded.
Fill your pots with a rich potting mix that contains some sand, organic material like peat moss or compost and regular garden soil. Wet the soil thoroughly before planting starts or seeds, and fertilize your plants once a week throughout the spring and summer.
Pay close attention to watering potted plants because they dry out much faster than garden plants. In the heat of summer, plants may need to be watered twice a day to keep them from wilting. Good watering will also help prevent pests, which tend to attack weak and wilted plants. If you go on vacation, get someone to water while you're away or put in a container drip system.