Container gardening is one of the quickest ways to add color to a drab outdoor area. The instant color welcomes Spring with open arms and keeps delivering throughout the warm weather seasons.
Use container gardening to spruce up your main entry and usher guests to your front door. Consider placing them on decks, patios, porches, along walkways, up stairs, and around any outdoor living areas to add interest that is easier to maintain than flower beds.
Garden centers provide ready-made planters filled with a selection of seasonal flowers and plants that you can easily purchase and place, or create your own for a more personalized touch.
A salvaged chimney topper disguises a plain, plastic planter for a more decorative, substantial appearance.
There are so many types and styles of containers and planters that you will surely find one that strikes your fancy. Prices range drastically depending on the size and material of the containers you choose.
When deciding on what type of containers
or planters to purchase, consider these tips:
View some of the container gardening photos below
for additional ideas and examples.
I bought these discontinued planters at a discount during an end-of-season sale. I purposely bought three different sizes for my grouping and threw in one with a varying pattern and design to compliment the group.
Glazed pottery planters can get pricey so snag them when you see a good sale to stock up for next year's container gardens.
Use shallow plant stands to elevate your planters and containers. This allows water to drain properly and minimizes staining on your porch, deck or patio.
Old, mismatched planters placed on their sides (lower right) create focal spots among landscaping. Leave them empty or have flowers spilling out.
Molded concrete planters are substantial yet inexpensive and can be found at most major home and garden centers. Consider the Grecian urn styles for a more formal look.
(above) Torenia, a care-free shade annual, spill from a concrete planter. They are available in shades of purple, pink and blue.
Many who are familiar with container gardening have heard the terms "thrillers, fillers and spillers". These terms are referring to plant or flower characteristics to use in combination when container gardening.
A thriller would be a large, bold, focal plant or flower with major presence in the planter. They are typically centered or can be placed at the rear as they should be the tallest of the bunch.
Fillers are just as the name suggests; plants that help build up the mass of the garden by complimenting the thriller chosen. Consider foliage type plants such as Coleus, Dusty Miller or Spikes. Coleus come in many variegated color combinations from greens to purple-reds.
Spillers are plants or flowers with trailing, hanging or falling characteristics. They "spill" over the edge of the container adding more dimension and visual interest. Consider the bright green leaves of Creeping Jenny or the deep plum of Sweet Potato Vine, which also has a bright green variety. Torenia produce flowers in varying shades of purple, blue and pink coupled with white detailing. They have a tendency to mound and fall nicely, adding extra color and appeal to your containers.
Concrete planters placed at the base of this entry are filled with Impatiens (the thriller), Coleus (the filler) and Torenia (the spiller).
Small containers of Torenia are mounted on the insides of the stone columns. A cascade of color will appear as they mature.
Flower and plant vendors are becoming hip to the concept of "thrillers, fillers and spillers" and actually have them sectioned into such categories. Manufacturers are even adding these terms to the plant care inserts and labels to assist the container gardening enthusiast.
Note: Look for plants and flowers that have similar light and water requirements when combining them.
Repurpose that old birdbath into a pedestal. Consider it a fancy plant stand. Do you have an old birdbath that has become rusted? If it's too far gone to use as a safe water source for our feathered friends, REPURPOSE IT.
A rusted birdbath (center) was spray painted copper and placed in an entry corner. A hanging plant within creates visual impact.
Tuberous Begonias, Fushias (seen above) and Ferns are great choices.
Note: Drill holes through the bowl of the birdbath
to allow proper water drainage.
Another old birdbath is inverted rather than drilled. The decorative base is now at the top for the planter to sit on. Water easily drains with no modifications in this case.
The verdigris finish fit the current decor and a bold-colored Tuberous Begonia was the perfect compliment. River rocks are placed around the bottom of the pedestal to disguise the former basin of the birdbath.
Impatiens and Creeping Jenny among a trio of planters
Another Repurpose Idea
As seen earlier, a chimney top was salvaged and used as a decorative planter. In the background, an old, wrought iron gate was reclaimed. Its rusty patina provides wonderful interest as a piece of vintage, architectural decor on this back deck.
Other Container Gardening Tips
If you have a large or deep container or planter, place some large rocks or stones in the base to help take up space and reduce the amount of soil required to fill it.
Consider adding fertilizer to your container gardens weekly as rain and regular watering will often strip the soil of nutrients as it flows down and out.
Containers dry out quickly, especially in the heat of Summer. Container gardens and planters should be watered daily to reduce the risk of soil drying out. Plant quality and appearance will suffer if a cycle of extreme drying followed by intense re-soaking begins.
Hanging baskets dry out even quicker so extra care should be taken to check soil conditions during Summer's extreme heat and dry spells.
Try to water them early in the morning and/or in the early evening after the hot sun has begun to set.
Keep watering cans outside, pre-filled with water so they attain air temperature. Plants enjoy cool water when temperatures increase, but cold water can shock their roots.
Use dehumidifier water to fill your watering cans and/or consider purchasing a rain barrel.
Hopefully I've provided some ideas and information to get you started with your container gardening projects. Remember to select plants that compliment each other and have similar needs. Play around with your container and planter arrangements and groupings. I place mine differently each year for a new look.