Whether you shop online (and we hope you do) or visit your local garden center, finding the perfect garden planter, plant materials, soil etc to create lovely flowerpots to decorate your home or garden area is easy to do. Lot's of choices, colors, textures that when put together can make a look that adds color, beauty and life to your garden decor.
However, keeping those potted containers looking nice all summer long when the heat and windy weather can beat them up pretty good, is another thing. We want to give you some tips that may help you over come the garden planter blues.
Start by selecting the perfect container. Make sure the size is correct for the plants that you are putting in the pot. Too small and roots are crowded, too large and soil stays too moist and you have fungal issues. Make sure the pot has drainage. No plants like to sit in standing water.
Next get a plan on what you are going to plant. Don't go to the local nursery and buy impulsivily. Choose plants that will thrive in your area and add some foliage to pots to fill them out when you are planting flowers. Try to buy a plant to place in the center of the pot for height. This really adds a focal point for deciding what to plant around it.
Get good potting soil. Don't ever use the ground soil and don't use old soil that has been sitting in the garage for a few years. If you choose to reuse soil from a spent container make sure there are no spores, fungus or mites and other unfriendlies can live in long after the plants are gone.
Presoak the plastic nursery pot in a tub of water to loosen and relax the roots before knocking the plant out of the pot. Just fill a shallow basin, or wheelbarrow with water, sit the pots in so the drain holes are covered and let them soak for 30 mins. Then knock the plant out and repot in your decorative garden container. The roots will be pliable and soft and they will thank you for this, presoak. The after the pot is complete make sure to give everything one last drink.
Don't underestimate how important it is to keep up the grooming of the finished planter. Deadhead spent blooms, cut back straggly stems and replace anything that just isn't doing well. This little weekly step makes a big different in how your planters look all season long.
And finally, fertilize. Purchase a slow release fertilizer or better yet every two weeks water with a liquid fertilizer to keep everything looking it's best all season. Every time you water a pot till there is water coming out the drain hole you loose valuable nutrients. These need to be replaced.
Terracotta pottery is the uber material for healthy plants. They keep the soil moist, insulate plant roots and breathe because they are porous clay. Unfortunately that means that when you water for fertilize those containers, you will have the white lines that start to show up on the outside. It is the calcium, minerals & salts from fertilizers and water that become trapped.
When the moisture evaporates these salts are left behind. Many people like this look and even try to turn new clay flowerpots into aged pot by applying product to the outside of the pots to get this look. But, for those who don't here are a few tips to help get residues off.
The best way to start cleaning terracotta pottery is to scrub the outside and try to loosen as much dirt as possible. Use a dish scrubber, a textured sponge or nail brush.
Once the planter looks as clean as you can get it - it is time for a bath. Submerge the pot in a solution of water and vinegar. 1 Cup of white vinegar to 4 cups of clean water. Put it in a bucket. Let the vinegar dissolve any build up.
Go back to step on and after 20 mins or so take the brush to the pot again for one last try. If there is still build up soak for a bit longer and keep testing till you think you have the pot as clean as it's going to get.
End off with a really good rinse. Make sure that all the vinegar or any soap you have used comes off before filling with fresh potting mix and fetching plants.
It's cold outside and everything looks barren. Your garden containers are sitting empty and look sad. You need a pick me up and it starts with your winter flowerpot containers. When you look outside the window it's so much nicer to see container brimming with color, berries, branches, evergreens & decorative lights & art. Here are a few tips to help bring your winter garden pottery out of the winter blues slump!
Beautiful, colorful berries. Jewels of the winter landscape, long lasting berries are a delight to wildlife and humans. While some shrubs produce fruit that is consumed as soon as it ripens, other plants produce persistent fruit. It may not be the first choice of wildlife but this time of year when food is scarce they are happy to have that option
Winterberry or holly dominates winter with its showy berry display. Unlike evergreen holly winterberry sheds its leaves each autumn. Leaving a luscious red berry. Perfect for filling in your garden planters.
How about Firethorn? Bright orange berries adorn this plant in winter and are its best attribute. Its leaves may turn brown in fall and winter but the berries are outstanding.
Filling your planters with evergreens and filling in with colorful twigs, dried perennials and cedar sprigs will add color, detail, decoration and wonderful scents. Begin by filling the flowerpot with sand. Walk thru the woods or your yard to collect items.Sink the stems into the sand and your container garden is ready for winter. NO watering is necessary.
Do you have a birdbath that you can't fill with water because it will freeze. How about decorating it with evergreen boughs, and plastic outdoor ornaments. Make those lonely little birdbaths come to life.
Cactus and succulents are appealing, dramatic plants, best shown off in containers. Collecting them can be addictive - many a sizable garden has been inspired by the purchase of just one whimsical looking cacti. With rare exceptions, every cactus is a succulent. Cacti are distinguished from other succulents by areoles or well defined areas on the plant's surface from which sprout tuffs of spines, bristles or hairs. Cactus flowers always bloom from these areas also.
Planting Tips: You can buy a special soil mix for potted cacti at garden nurseries and center. Or you can make your own. Just combine one part leaf mold, one part peat moss soil mix and two parts river sand or fine gravel.
Pot Tips: Cacti will thrive in almost any style and type of garden planter. There is where you can become creative and choose round bowls for combinations of cacti and succulents. Choose colorful containers to add some brightness to the basic green of most cacti. Go with deep or shallow pottery because these types of plants have very short root systems. Make sure if you go with ceramic or poly resin that you don't over water.
When planting make sure and wear garden gloves to protect your hands. You can wrap folded newsprint around the plant so that you don't come in contact with the spines.
Plant suggestions & care: These types of plants are easy to grow and don't take much care. It's best to soak soil completely each time you water and then let it dry almost out completely before the next watering. Fertilize monthly during the growing season. Potted Cacti love direct sunlight so make sure they get some especially during the winter months. Once a year check to see if you need to re-pot into a larger container.
Here are a few of the favorite type to pot: Aconium - Agave - Aloe - Crassula argentea - Kalanchoe
Opuntia - Schlumbergera - Sempervivum tectorum.
Just when you think your done till next Spring you find out that there are lots of fun and easy things to do in your garden areas in December. Here are a few tips:
Decorating! Yeah that's right - decorating. Sometimes the best materials for holiday crafts are close at hand: twigs and bean pods that might be strewn around the yard, and evergreen boughs off the trees. You can use them to make decorative rustic wreaths or swags to use on the porch, patio or indoors. Pick up a metal wreath frame from any craft store and place your boughs in a decorative pattern, securing them with craft wire. Pick up pine cones or bean pods and decorate the wreath with. Fill empty garden pots with evergreens, pine cones and feathers. Don't leave your garden containers just sitting empty all winter long.
Shopping - You think the nurseries in your area are closed for the winter? No way. They have wonderful plants like corsican violets or pansies still available to fill your garden planters with. Consider the corsican violet for a blue purple viola that survives extreme heat and cold climates. This perennials is perfect for planters, or rock gardens. Look at your local nursery or order online. Pansies are cool season annuals that bloom from late fall through winter.
Select a "living" Christmas tree. It looks great indoors during the holidays and then you can transplant it from the garden container to the garden soil when finished with it. Arizona Cypress is silvery blue and attractive. The Blue pyramid grows in the shape of symmetrical pylon 25 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Just plant in full sun and provide ample water for the first season till well established.
Now is the time to adjust your watering schedule. Even if you have drip systems in all your decorative pottery, you need to increase the number of days between watering time. Make sure the standing water is absorbed and doesn't freeze or your pottery is going to crack. Lastly, you need to move cold sensitive potted plants under covered porches or below some kind of canopy. Don't water any cacti or succulents and protect the truck of any citrus trees with burlap or similar material.
We think that the most important feature of any plant container is the style of pot, what it is made of and whether or not it has a drain hole. Drain holes are so important because they make sure that water doesn't sit in the pot but drains off. Standing water in the bottom of the pot will cause the plants roots to rot and over time the chemicals in the water or fertilizer will damage the plant also. If water run-off is a problem because of the pot location then we have a couple of suggestions:
1. Use a saucer. Make sure that it is large enough to catch the amount of water it will take to saturate the plants soil. Too small of a saucer is pointless since it won't be able to do it's job of capturing excess.
2. Drop the pot that holds the plant into a larger outside pot that is decorative. This way when you water the inside pot the run-off water will drain into the outside pot and evaporate. Many landscape companies use this technique, especially when planting trees or large bushes inside office buildings.
If you need a pot that will breathe the Terra-cotta clay planters are the best. Unfortunately they will break down over time from the chemicals in the soil or fertilizer that is used. In order to have a planter that will hold up and not break down, it must be made of a clay that is glazed and high fired or concrete, poly resin, sandstone, or fiberglass. These materials repel water and do not let it absorb into them.
Choosing the correct container is the best step you can take to assure success when planting your landscape in pots.
Other tips to consider are:
Sun exposure: Make sure where you place the pots is where the plant materials in them can thrive.
Soil: Always use a lightweight, well draining soil mix with a built in fertilizer is the best way to start.
Watering: Know what the plants demand when it comes to water and make sure to provide them with their specific needs. It is ideal to select pots that require the same watering schedule but that is not always possible.
Plants for containers: Herbs, cacti & succulents, citrus, veggies and flowers are all great choices and they offer unique ideas for displays. Try blending them together for the most outstanding arrangements.
Whether you have a balcony, courtyard, or patio begging for some color, potted plants are sure to transform even the smallest of spaces!
Never thought of it like this before. It makes sense that with all the home troubles people are having they are looking at downsizing. When it comes to pots that makes great sense. Thanks
Arizona Pottery On-line Inc.
Garden Container Tips
4/6/2011 9:11:11 AM
Some advice on plant selection, soil, fertilizing and maintenance.
You may find that some container-grown shrubs come thru winter just fine, especially if they are in large planters with plenty of soil around their roots. You don't want roots to sit against a cold frozen pot. Some areas of the country are just to cold, so no matter how large the pot is nothing is going to help protect the root systems. If you move your pots to a protected area away from winter wind exposure that really helps.
Of course the best thing to do is sink the plants into the ground in the fall. The other thing is to move them into a sheltered location out of the wind and cold. Be sure the roots are well watered before soil freezes and lay a layer of garden mulch around the planter to help protect it from the cold.
When it comes to fertilizer choices it is always best to read the manufacturers directions on the package. Water soluble fertilizers last the least amount of time and need to be applied every two weeks or so. Time released fertilizers feed up to a couple of months and some will even last the entire season. When it comes to houseplants they should be fed during their growing season. All plants should be fed while blooming.
If a plant has a short root system they really don't require large pots. However you want to remember that the smaller the container the faster the soil will dry out and the more attention the plant will require. If you can afford the space and price the best thing to do is go for the larger size of planter. By starting with a larger planter than needed you will not have to re-plant the plant, bush or shrub as much. Every time you re-pot a plant it is risky business.