Container Gardening Basics

Container gardening allows anyone to garden anywhere – yard, patio, balcony, indoors. Here are suggestions to help you succeed.

• It starts with suitable pots. Choose types that look good together, because you’ll want to show them as a group. They must have drain holes, and it’s best to “go large” when choosing (12-, 14-, 18-, 20-inch and larger containers).

• The potting soil you choose for your container garden is the foundation of your success. I prefer a soil that is 50-60 percent Canadian peat, 25-30 percent pine bark, 10-15 percent perlite and 5 percent expanded shale. That’s the mix I have in Neil Sperry’s Texas Best Premium Potting Soil, but it’s also a recipe if you want to mix large amounts yourself.

• Choose plants that excite you for your container garden. If they’re going to have to stay outdoors in summer or, especially winter, remember that they’ll be a lot more vulnerable with their root balls exposed as they’ll be. I use primarily tropicals and annuals, but I have a few of the smaller types of woody plants in pots, too.

• Final of our brief container gardening suggestions calls for regular care and attention to your container plants. They’ll need to be watered much more often than their counterparts in the ground, and they should be fertilized more frequently, too – especially if you’re using a high-nitrogen, water-soluble food. Perhaps every time that you water.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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