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How to Plant in Containers Sunken Into the Ground

wooden barrel image by Jorge Moro from

Container gardens provide the perfect option to create a living oasis both inside and outside the garden bed. Permanent containers installed into the landscape or sunken into the ground require extra planning to promote good drainage. Another concern lies in the large volume of soil required to fill a large container. This landscape alternative also allows gardeners to shelter plants such as perennials, protecting roots during winter months.

Remove all soil from existing container gardens using a bucket, trowel or whatever means possible to clear all soil from the pot. Dispose of the old dirt properly in the compost pile or yard waste collection.

Rinse out the inside of the container with clean water and scrub mineral deposits with the scrub brush. Allow water to completely drain from the pot before planting.

Fill larger pots one-third full of crushed aluminum cans or pine bark mulch to add bulk to the container. Large volumes of potting soil are expensive and this option limits the need for excessive soil in the planter. Exclusively using potting soil works fine too.

Fill the planter two-thirds full with new potting soil. Pop each plant out of its container by squeezing the plastic pot on all sides. Grasp the plant between your thumb and pointer finger right at the soil level. Gently lift the plant out and place it into position in the sunken container. Use this method to remove all plants from transplant pots. Use pruning shears to clip away plastic pots for plants that don't freely pop out of the container.

Fill in around each plant with loose potting soil. Press gently on the soil to secure the plant in plant. Draw the soil up to 2 inches below the pot rim and smooth it flat with a trowel or your hand.

Water the sunken container garden using a watering can or a light trickle from the garden hose. Aim the spout or sprayer at the base of each plant. This method deeply waters the soil in the planter. Water the planter regularly since container gardens lose moisture quickly.

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