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Gardening Tips: 10 of the Best Plants for Your Container Garden

Posted by ECOgardener on

Looking for gardening tips for your container garden? Container gardening is a method of growing plants in containers as opposed to planting them directly into the ground. This gardening practice is a great way to add pops of color to a variety of outdoor spaces like the patio, balcony, yard, etc. If say, you are working with a small space for a garden, this gardening technique allows you to grow a broad range of garden plants even if you have little room to spare. Container gardening is quite versatile; it is suitable for small spaces and sizable yards alike.

Factors to Consider Before Building a Container Garden

Speaking of plants, not all plant varieties thrive in containers. To grow your garden successfully, you have to select the right plants.

Choosing the right plants for your container garden is just the beginning. To make this project a success, you have to prioritize good drainage. Exposure to excessive moisture is worse than under-watering your plants. Always check your planters, make sure that they have drain holes at the bottom so the plants won’t drown.
 
If you are unsure about a certain plant’s growing habits, etc., do not be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your local nursery employees and seek expert advice from experienced gardeners. Do your research to know what types of plants thrive in your local climate and micro-climate. Check if your garden is receiving direct sunlight and plan the plants to get accordingly.

Apart from giving providing helpful gardening tips, we will also outline our top picks for your container garden:

Top 10 Plants for Your Container Garden

Coral Bells

This striking perennial plant is known for its broad palette of foliage colors. The leaves have a unique look to them and the colors range from dainty peach to deep burgundy. Coral bells are suitable for a container garden because they do better in pots as opposed to being planted into the ground. This plant is so easy to grow so it's a great starter plant for people who are new to gardening.

Just a couple of gardening tips: Coral bells thrive in sunny or shady spots although the leaves will burn from too much sun. This plant hates standing water so always check the soil for moisture before watering.

Begonia

Begonia is an easy to grow, low maintenance annual plant that's perfectly suited for container gardening. It will not take over your garden; rather, the begonia plant will enhance the look of your outdoor space thanks to its beautiful blooms and fabulous foliage. Begonia blooms come in a full spectrum of colors, ranging from pink, red, yellow to pristine white! Just like Coral bells, begonias hate standing water so water this plant with care and use well-drained soil. This plant performs best in warm environments and semi-shady spots.

Angelonia

Also known as Summer Snapdragon, Angelonia will add color and life to any container garden! Angelonia is also known for its unique blooms. Each flower is shaped like the open mouth of a dragon, hence its name. Its delicate blooms come in vibrant shades of blue, purple, even white and red! The best part? This plant produces flowers all summer long. Angelonia will keep blooming with no deadheading required.

Angelonia loves spots with good airflow so do not crowd the plants. If set in a shady spot, Angelonia won't produce a lot of blooms. This hardy perennial loves dry environments but it can handle humidity with relative ease.

Euphorbia

Euphorbia is an easy-to-grow annual plant with pretty, frothy blooms. This drought-resistant plant can withstand intense heat and severe weather conditions. Best of all, Euphorbia has the uncanny ability to ward off a variety of critters including rabbits. Euphorbia is best displayed in an arrangement because its baby's breath-like effect will enhance the look of other potted plants!

Do note that Euphorbia secretes a milky sap that can irritate the skin. This is the reason why Euphorbia is able to ward off nibbling animals. This plant requires moderate moisture and regular pruning. Euphorbia thrives in a semi-shady spot but it can handle the full sun with ease. This plant is not fussy about soil conditions either; it can tolerate long periods of drought.

Nemesia

Nemesia is the perfect addition to any cool-season container garden. It's an annual plant although it's best grown in milder climates. This is a great plant to grow if you want to add a dash of color to your garden. Its colorful and fragrant blooms last all season long! The blooms come in an array of colors to choose from, including shades of cranberry, yellow, orange, pink and purple!

This plant is quite sensitive to moisture so plant it in a well-drained soil. Use light potting mix if you're adding Nemesia to your container garden. This plant needs more water during the summer. For maximum bloom production, set the Nemesia in a spot that gets the full sun.

Hydrangea

This flowering shrub can flourish in a container garden too! Hydrangea is known for its clusters of pink, blue, and white blooms. Depending on the Hydrangea variety, this plant does not grow too large at all so it's a great plant to get for a small container garden.

Hydrangeas are a little tricky to care for but the effort is well worth it once they start blooming! You’ll love the explosion of colors.

Some varieties love the full sun, others prefer semi-shady spots. The Mopheads variety is quite sensitive to soil pH while the panicle isn't affected by soil pH at all. This is the kind of plant that requires more maintenance so do not be shy, ask your local nursery employee for gardening tips.

Roses

Roses are available in different varieties and each variety has different growing habits and needs. This is a no-brainer but choose the variety that suits your climate. Some rose varieties thrive in warm, humid climates, other prefer the milder weather. Some are more disease resistant, others have to be coddled and coaxed to bloom. But when well taken care of, roses will reward you with colorful and fragrant blooms!

Generally, roses hate the full shade but there are rose varieties that thrive in partial shade. This plant requires regular watering, about an inch of water every week during the growing season.

Pansies

Roses are available in different varieties and each variety has different growing habits and needs. This is a no-brainer but choose the variety that suits your climate. Some rose varieties thrive in warm, humid climates, other prefer the milder weather. Some are more disease resistant, others have to be coddled and coaxed to bloom. But when well taken care of, roses will reward you with colorful and fragrant blooms!

Generally, roses hate the full shade but there are rose varieties that thrive in partial shade. This plant requires regular watering, about an inch of water every week during the growing season.

Cosmos

Cosmos is a beautiful annual plant that yields daisy-like blooms all season long! This plant variety is a great addition to your container garden because it's easy to grow, it doesn't need a lot of room to spread, and it's best mixed with other plants!

Caring for the cosmos plant is simple; avoid adding too much fertilizer so the foliage won't spread all over. This is the kind of plant that can tolerate drought and moderate heat. If your container garden is compact, we highly suggest getting the dwarf varieties such as Cosmos sulphureus or Cosmos bipinnatus.

Geranium

Rounding up our list of the best container plants for your garden is the classic garden favorite, geranium. Geraniums make the best plants for borders, flower beds, and container gardens because of their striking foliage and delicate blooms. Geraniums are often grown as annuals but they are perennial plants in some zones. Most geraniums varieties love warm and dry conditions and they will hold up nicely during the summer season.

Traditional geraniums are easy to grow but the regal types are fussier so here are some gardening tips. Geraniums are prone to water retention, the leaves hold more water than they can handle. So water the plant only when the soil is dry and water regularly when the weather's hot. Regal geraniums cannot tolerate the hot climate and prefer the milder weather.

Gardening Tips for Your Container Garden

Plant According to Your Zone

Before going on a shopping spree at the local nursery, choose the right combination of plants that thrive in similar conditions. For instance, if your zone gets a lot of sun, choose plants that thrive in warmer weather. This way, your garden will always appear lush and blooming despite the punishing heat.

Points of Interest

Looking for the perfect spot for your container garden? We highly suggest a spot that’s in dire need of color, texture, and character. Plants add color, texture, and character to any space, particularly bland, naked outdoor spaces that are crying for a makeover.

Planters

When it comes to choosing planters for your container garden, you are spoiled with options. You can buy traditional planters from your local nursery or make your own using recycled wood, half barrels, unused tubs, etc. One thing to keep in mind, however, is the size of the planter. A petite planter won’t work for a spreading plant. The planter should provide ample room for the plant to grow.

Plant Care Requirements

Always read and keep the plant tags so you can collect different plants with similar care requirements. If you are unsure about a certain plant’s growing habits, consult an expert gardener or ask a nursery employee for help.

Watering with Care

Did you know that overwatering plants is worse than not watering them at all? Some plants hate excessive moisture and other plants, like geraniums, hold more water than they can handle so water your plants with care. Always check if your planters have drain holes in the bottom. If they do not have drainage holes, use a drill and drill the holes at the bottom of your planters to avoid standing water.

Perfect Pairing

Don’t get plants randomly just to fill a space. You have to think the plant pairings carefully to perfect the look of your container garden. For instance, geranium works well with asparagus fern, pineapple sage, and Cosmos. Always choose plants that add contrasts, texture, and shape to your outdoor space. You want to thrill onlookers with the scent, color, and texture of your garden so never be afraid to layer plants in different heights.

Keep Your Tools Organized

Put all your gardening tools in one place. This will help reduce clutter while also making your container garden even more space efficient. By designating one area for your gardening tools, you will spend less time looking for things you misplaced and more time upgrading the look of your garden.

Nutrients for Your Plants

You have to enrich your potting soil with nutrients if you want to maintain the lushness of your garden. To do that, you have to add fertilizer to the soil. To add fertilizer to your potting soil, mix a slow release fertilizer into your potting mix in a bucket. You can also add the appropriate amount of fertilizer straight to the pot and mix with the potting soil.

You can use chemical fertilizer although we recommend using organic fertilizer because it’s more eco-friendly. It’s cheaper too, you can use kitchen waste as composting material for your organic fertilizer.

Dealing with Dying Plants

Even the most experienced gardeners deal with dying plants. The more plants you grow, the more plants you will kill, it’s inevitable. But don’t give up! If a plant is starting to look unhealthy, you can cut the yellowing or browning leaves, give it enough water, and then monitor it until it becomes healthy again. If the plant is showing signs of a serious disease, remove it from the garden and quarantine it to contain the disease. Throw the plant if it’s beyond saving. If the plant didn’t pull through, replace the dead plant with another plant in its place.

A container garden is the perfect gardening style for small spaces. The method requires the same level of work and dedication as tending a large garden. As long as you keep these gardening tips in mind, you can build a beautiful garden that you’d be proud to show off! Keep it here for more gardening tips and helpful resources. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the best eco-friendly resources straight to your inbox.


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