” Low Maintenance Container Gardening”
Gardening is one of my favorite spring activities. I get a feeling of anticipation and excitement waiting for my flowers to bloom. I get so much pleasure from watching them grow, each one as individual as the stars in the sky. Maintaining a garden can be a very mindful way to spend time. I always experience a feeling of accomplishment. Focusing on the colors, smells, and the variety of flowers is very uplifting. However, gardening can be a lot of work with weeding and keeping plants looking their best. Planting in containers takes some of the labour out of gardening.
Planting in containers is the way you can enjoy beautiful flowers with low maintenance. You can fill your container with small plants purchased at a local nursery. In as little as 2 – 3 weeks you can achieve full and mature looking plants. Weeding is not required if you choose plants that require little or no deadheading. Overall maintenance is minimal.
You can select containers that sit on your porch or deck, mount as window boxes, tall urn type planters, baskets or hanging baskets…..there are many styles and shapes you can choose from. Many gardeners use items from nature or anything you think is ornamental and appealing to you. Let your imagination be your guide.
Once you select the containers the next step is to make sure your plants have good drainage and nutrition in order to produce beautiful blooms throughout the entire growing season.
Each year I select a different color scheme, whatever appeals to me at the time. I make sure all my plants will match and create a beautiful flow of color and variety. My favorite combination is red, purple, white and yellow. For more interest you can add Dusty Miller or Artemisia to your pot it provides a gray color which acts as a neutral.
These plants will provide a perfect contrast to all colors with their powdery gray color. Also, adding a spike in the center of your standing pots is also a good way to provide height, interest, and greenery to your creation.
Make sure the containers have 2 or 3 holes in the bottom for proper drainage. Putting some rocks in the bottom of the container will provide the root system to grow freely as well as keeping them from rotting due to water accumulating in the bottom of the pot.
Next, I amend my soil. I prepare my own mix of black soil, peat moss, perlite, and fertilizer. The peat moss and perlite absorb water to help keep the plants hydrated in hot weather and it also keeps the black soil from packing down and killing the root system. The fertilizer helps to establish strong roots.
The easiest way to prepare soil is in a wheel barrow if you have one, or you can purchase soil ready to use. Miracle grow has a good quality soil I’ve used and have had great success.
After you plant your containers give them a good watering. It is a good idea to add a scoop of miracle grow or another kind of plant food to encourage large and gorgeous blooms. Make sure you take into consideration the amount of sun your plants will receive in the location you choose to place it and plant accordingly.
It is recommended to water your containers daily unless they feel damp to the touch. Plants do not like having their petals and blooms wet so be sure to water the soil directly whenever possible. When the petals and blooms are wet it is easy for the sun to scorch them.
Adding plant food to your water at least every two weeks will keep your blooms beautiful and vibrant. Also, deadheading or picking off the dead blooms will encourage new blooms to open.
A few plants that have very little deadheading are begonias, geraniums, fuchsia, and lobelia.
Be creative and enjoy your garden!