Container Gardening – Make Your Own Planters

Early Spring Container small for webContainer gardens are an essential to every home and garden.  Pottery, pots, planters and window boxes filled with lush greens or flowers add charm and elegance to the home or outdoor living areas.  For homes with limited space or for individuals with limited mobility, they are perfect for nearly any kind of gardening.  Use them for fairy gardening and edible gardening as well as beautiful flowers. Gorgeous blooming combinations work perfect added to any patio, deck, porch, entryway, corner of a walkway or pool area.  Cluster flower pots for maximum effect or even add them into the garden or landscape.  Container gardening is easy with help from Atlantic Avenue Orchid & Garden!

Selecting a Container

containers 1 (2)Choices for planters and flower pots are nearly endless, especially at our garden center.  Take your pick  of containers of nearly every material and size.  Choose from concrete planters, ceramic pots, glazed pottery, terra-cotta pots, resin and plastic.  When selecting a container, consider longevity and choose one you love.  Plant designs could change over the years or throughout the seasons but a pot will be with you for a long time.  An outdoor planter must have good drainage.  Select a container with a drain hole or add your own carefully with a drill.  If you are concerned with soil washing through the hole(s), place a filter pad over the hole before you add soil.

Quality Potting Soil

Always use a high quality potting soil.  It’s lightweight, aerated and drains well – ideal for container plantings.  Never use soil from the yard or garden; it will hold too much moisture and plants will not perform well.  Don’t reuse your potting soil either.  Add it to garden beds or compost areas.

How to Design a Container Garden

First consider the location for your new container garden.  For optimal results, keep sun plants in the sun and shade plants in the shade.

Spillers like sweet potato vine "spill" over the side of a container.

Spillers like sweet potato vine “spill” over the side of a container.

The fail-proof recipe for great looking containers is thriller, filler, spiller.  Thrillers are tall plants to give height to the container.  Place a thriller in the center of the pot if it will be placed in a location for viewing on all sides.  Place it in the back if it will be up against a wall or railing and only viewed from limited sides.  Don’t feel limited to only annual plants.  Perennials and compact shrubs work fabulous in container gardens as well!  Fillers are full plants that will fill in the majority or middle of your container.  Spillers are plants planted all the way on the edge of a container that fall over the sides like training vines, creeping jenny and cascade vinca.

Planting a succulent container.

Planting a succulent container.


Containers can be filled with only blooming plants or only contrasting foliage – or a combination of both.  A combination of succulents make a unique and low maintenance combination. Your imagination is the limit.  Consider texture and color when selecting contrasting plants.  Remember to use plenty.  Select four, five or more different kinds of plants in a mix of thrillers, fillers and spillers.  Containers in a rainbow of colors work just as well as those that stick to just a few shades – it depends on your own personal style and taste.

Care & Fertilization

dramm wandOne of the most common questions we get from our customers is, “How often should I water?”  The simple answer is: as much as you need to.  There is no magical formula to how often to water your plants.  With each plant having specific water requirements, wide differences in container materials, variations in weather including rain, wind & sun, be sure to check your planter at least once each day.  If it’s windy in July, a container may need watering more than once.  In early spring a container in the shade could go a few days.  Water when a container is dry.  Go ahead and stick your finger in the soil to see if it’s dry or not – over watering can be just as detrimental to plants as under watering!

Container potted plants loose nutrients faster than plants in the ground.  Plants have limited soil in a container and frequent watering washes away the nutrients in the soil.

Container with evergreen perennials, and pansies for Fall to Winter.

Container with evergreen perennials, and pansies for Fall to Winter.

Supplemental fertilizer is necessary to maintain vibrant beautiful flower pots.

Keep it fresh!  Deadheading when necessary and removing dead leaves keeps planters looking their best.  Feel free to clip back plants that get larger than you’d like – trimming keeps a container looking great.  Replace dead plants with a new and thriving ones and change up your pots with the seasons.  Many annual plants have a limited life span.  Cool-season containers can be replaced with summer blooming plants and then with fall color and evergreens.  Keep plants that are looking great and swap them with new selections.

Container Accessories

Fairy garden with Adirondack chair, gazing ball and bird feeder.

Fairy garden with Adirondack chair, gazing ball and bird feeder.

To protect painted surfaces or wooden decking, use saucers under containers to catch water or pot feet to raise the bottom to the pot off of the surface and allow for air flow.

Consider garden picks and accessories for added color, texture and dimension.  Fairy furniture and accessories add charm to miniature landscapes in a pot.

Our Planting Service

Are you short on time or not up for planting your own container?  We offer a container potting service! Choose from one of our ready-made container or let our talented staff create a unique and beautiful container garden just for you.  Choose a pot, planter or piece of glazed pottery from our garden center or bring your favorite container from home.  We’ll help you choose the best plants based on the look and colors you want.  You pay just a percentage of the cost of plant material to cover soil, design and planting.  Call or stop in today!