Many people would love to have a garden but lack the space to have one outdoors. Limited space doesn't have to mean you can't have beautiful flowers—because you can use containers of all shapes, sizes and colors to place on your steps, your deck or patio. You can also utilize plants that vine or grow downward, and hang them in spots where you can enjoy them all summer long. When the weather turns cool and the days become shorter, many potted plants can be brought inside as houseplants.
Easy-To-Grow Plants for Sunny Areas
Sunny areas are a boon to container gardeners; the sunshine not only helps the plants grow and thrive, the sunshine makes the colors pop. You can group your pots by color or size or whatever is pleasing to your eye. You also should know that potted plants need daily watering. Watering the plants at night allows the plants to absorb the water, not giving it a chance to evaporate in the bright afternoon sun.
Here are some sun-loving to partial-shade plants that offer lovely blooms with little care: geranium, angel's trumpet (poisonous-use caution with children and pets), bellflower, lobelia, candituft, celosia, marigold, nasturtium (don't fertilize or it won't bloom), phlox (the annual type), salvia, snapdragon, sweet alyssum, petunia, balloon flower, blanket flower, bee balm, ornamental peppers, African daisy, sweet pea, verbena, vinca and zinnia.
Easy-to-Grow Plants for Shady Areas
Some plants simply cannot tolerate the too much sun. They tend to wilt and stop growing—and all the fertilizer in the world won't help; they just need a shadier location. Shade-loving plants include: impatients, coleus, begonia, fuscia, pansy and lisianthus.
To make your containers even more eye-catching, use a variety of textures. You'll want spiky plants like ornamental grasses, and types of celosia or gomphrena. Don't be afraid to experiment. Also consider the pots themselves; you could set a pot inside a wooden box or a basket to give a unique impression.
Hanging containers should contain plants that drape, such as black-eyed Susans, sweet potato vines, iresine or wave petunias. Hanging containers generally need plenty of water, and make sure to dead-head spent blossoms to encourage new bloom growth.
Bring Plants Inside
Many plants can be brought inside at the end of summer, but you should spray them with a pest spray so that you don't bring bugs inside. You may need to repot them if they seem crowded in their current container. If so, line a larger pot with a coffee filter before adding a few inches of dirt. Place the plant inside and fill in with more dirt, all the way to the top. Tamp the dirt for a better connection with the roots.
Plants that do well inside include: geraniums, marigold, ornamental peppers, fuschia, impatients, coleus and begonia. They may not be the lush plants they were outside, but with some fertilizer and bright light, they should do nicely.