Choosing Plants for Container Gardening

Container gardening is a simple way to add décor just about anywhere- inside the home, or even the backyard patio. Since containers vary in size and shape, they’ll fit in your indoor or outdoor areas with ease, making container gardening a great option for apartment dwellers, and those working with small spaces. However, the success of container gardening often depends on choosing the right plants for your containers. For the best results, keep the following considerations in mind when choosing your plants.

Container Size – The size of your container is one of the first things you should consider when choosing plants. The container should be large enough to allow for adequate water drainage, and root growth. Always choose plants that are smaller than your container, so they have room to grow into it, and can be trimmed if they grow too large.

Container Shape – The container shape and the plants you put in it is less important than the container size, but still something worth considering. If you have a very narrow container, you need to make sure that the plant you choose can thrive in a narrow space, not one that spreads outward. You should also consider the container’s base, and ensure that it has enough room for soil, pebbles, or other substrates that your plant will need. Containers with very narrow bases may not be able to accommodate plants that require a substrate, for instance. For these containers, you may consider air plants, or plants that do not have roots, and, therefore, can live on glass or a light layer of decorative marbles.

Soil Requirements – You should also consider all of the plant’s soil requirements when choosing a plant. Container gardening is attractive to many gardeners because you have the ability to easily control the soil environment, allowing you to select plants with particular needs that may not do so well in your garden beds. Most container plants need only basic potting soil, but you can create a better environment for these and other, more picky plants by using soil amendments. Soil amendments can be used to change soil environments within your container, providing the ideal environment for flourishing plants. For example, our Fast Acting Lime can be used to adjust the color of your potted hydrangeas. Other soil amendments can help acid-loving plants to thrive (Fast ActingTM Sulfur), or provide extra calcium (Fast ActingTM Gypsum). When used correctly, these soil amendments help provide your container plants with the right micro-environment for optimal growth.

Combining Plants – It’s often desirable to combine different types of plants in one container. This can provide stunning color and texture combinations, all in one pot. However, when combining plants, you will need to be careful to choose plants with similar water, light, and nutrient requirements. Choosing a desert plant and tropical plant, for instance, will create watering discrepancies, causing one plant or the other to struggle.

Container size, shape, and plant growth factors are all practical aspects to consider when choosing plants for your container gardening projects. Once you’ve looked into all of these factors, however, you should also consider aesthetics, or how you want your container to look.

Most container gardens contain a variety of different plants in order to create a more aesthetic appeal. The plants included in a single container often have different shapes, sizes, and textures, dramatically enhancing the garden’s visual appeal. When choosing plants, try playing around with different combinations; find some that are tall, some short, and combine plants with different leaf sizes, shapes, textures, and colors (of course keeping in mind that all of your plants will need to be able to live in the same soil environment, with the same soil amendments, sunlight, and water conditions). Some common container plants include small succulents, cacti, moss, spider ferns, starfish plants, and nerve plants, for example. Mixing these and other plants, along with decorative pebbles, rocks, or small figurines will help you create a beautiful container garden unique to your style and tastes.

If you consider these practical factors, you’ll be able to choose plants that thrive in any container garden. Additionally, as gardeners mix various plants with containers, they’ll also enhance the aesthetic value to their displays. For more information on container gardening, contact us today!