Tips for Testing the Soil of Your Container Garden
62. Use a pH Meter: Acid-loving plants like blueberries, azaleas, and gardenias prefer pH lower than 6. Alkaline-lovers like clematis, crocus, and geraniums need a pH higher than 7.5. Learn how to check the soil pH at home here.
63. Amend Soil pH: Add aluminum sulfate to lower the pH, and lime to raise the pH. Learn more here.
64. Do a Soil Test:
Avoid testing when it’s wet or recently fertilized. Find the remaining instructions here.
65. Check the Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the soil temperature is 60°F at least.
Tips for Fertilizing Container Plants
66. Feed at the Right Time: Depending on the plant and its fertilization needs, add fertilizer at an adequate time. It can be at the time of planting, middle of the growing period, fruiting, or depend on the season and growth. You know it’s time to fertilize when you notice abnormal and widespread yellowing of the leaves and slow growth.
67. Supplement Monthly: Watering container plants flush out soil nutrients, so it’s a great idea to add in small amounts of liquid feed intermittently, usually once in every 3-4 weeks.
68. Adjust Dosage Accordingly:
Fruit vegetables need more fertilizer than ornamental plants. Using organic fertilizer is critical when you’re growing edibles. Most of the vegetables and herbs can grow productively with the application of one-third of compost or aged manure at the time of planting and another application during mid-growth.
69. Water Soluble Fertilizer vs. Slow Release Fertilizer: Slow-release fertilizers are easier to use, but the former is cheaper and gives you more control, especially when you’re dealing with picky plants.
70. Fertilizer Numbers: If you’re ever confused about the fertilizer numbers and NPK ratio for your plants, use any balanced fertilizer with numbers like 10-10-10 or 20-20-20.
71. Bloom Booster is a Myth: Plants need a balanced diet to produce blooms. Hence, bloom boosters loaded with phosphorous are of no help unless your soil is phosphorus deficient. Plants will only use as much phosphorus as they need. This article at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will help.
72. Under-Fertilizing is Better than Over-Fertilizing:
Fertilizer diluted to half its strength works best for herbs and other low fertilizer requirement plants. Follow the instructions on the label when you’re using a slow-release fertilizer.
Tips to Keep Your Container Garden Alive in Summer
73. Water Regularly: In summers, water regularly but slowly and deeply. If your summers are hot and windy, always keep the growing medium slightly moist.
74. Layer with Mulch: A layer of mulch on the topsoil enhances the retentive quality of the soil, thereby compensating for the water lost through evaporation. Use organic mulch like leaves, bark, or wood chips. Inorganic ones will absorb heat.
75. Move your Containers Indoors: If summers are particularly hot where you live, it’s better to transport your containers indoors.
76. Use Sealant for your Pots:
If you live in an arid climate, applying a sealant to the inside walls reduces water loss through evaporation, helping plants make it through the hot, dry weather.
77. Fertilize at the Start of the Month: A balanced fertilizer given at the first week of the season strengthens your plants to stand up to the rigors of summer. Fertilizing late will only do the damage, especially in hot climates.
78. Renew & Replace: Annuals and perennials tend to give up by late summer. Don’t try to revive them; instead, replace them with fresh ones.
79. Eliminate Dead Blooms: Deadheading or removing old blooms triggers the development of flowers and new growth. Prune species like geraniums and shear back one-third of the plants for smaller annuals like alyssum.
80. Clean Up:
Toss dead annuals into your compost pit and clean your containers. Sowing leftover roses and perennials in the garden bed can be seen as a final attempt at saving them.
81. Choose Heat-Resistant Varieties: Tough varieties like lantana, angelonia, pentas, Mandevilla and salvia don’t mind the heat much and provide color all through fall.
Tips for Controlling Pests in your Container Garden
82. Start with Clean Plantings: Use high-quality transplants, seeds bought and potting soil from a reputed nursery to make sure your container garden remains free from pests and diseases since from the beginning.
83. Clean Containers before Planting: Scrub the pots with liquid detergent and warm water. Soak infested pots in 10% bleach solution before reusing them.
84. Clean the Foliage:
Clean the leaves of container plants using a soft cloth with a mild detergent in water often. Dirt on leaves affects photosynthesis. Doing this will also prevent fungal infections.
85. Don’t Reuse Contaminated Soil: Using fresh soil for potting helps eliminate pest infestations.
86. Isolate Infected Plants: Infected plants serve as easy launchpads for pests to contaminate healthy plants in the vicinity. Keep them isolated!
87. Ensure a Healthy Environment: Space out plants for proper air circulation, always water after fertilizing and use foliar spray sparingly.
88. Plant Insectary Plants:
Plants like cilantro, thyme, oregano, dill, and marigold attract good bugs that combat regular garden pests like mites, spider and aphids.
Tips for Designing Your Container Garden
89. Blend Multiple Textures: The thriller-filler-spiller combination works best. Use a tall, bright plant as a thriller, bushy plant as filler, and a cascading plant as your spiller.
90. Foliage & Flower Power: For an impactful, multi-layered look, use varieties that form an interesting contrast with their leaf and flower color.
91. Less is More: Don’t go overboard with colors. Two-toned blooms create far more impact than multi-colored blooms at times. Plant purple and white petunias or pair up white verbenas with blue lobelias.
92. Group Plants:
Don’t plant sun-lovers and shade-lovers in the same pot. Read the labels carefully to understand their light requirements. Top sun-loving annuals are verbena, geraniums, petunias, and calibrachoa. Shade-loving annuals are begonia, Torenia, impatiens, and caladium. Herbs and vegetables require full sun.
93. Use Complimentary Colors: Colors opposite each other on the wheel always complement each other. For example, yellow Bidens with purple calibrachoa.
94. Contrast Light ‘n’ Color: For shaded areas, use varieties with deep-colored foliage and/or purple or white flowers, and for sunny patios, choose plants with colorful blossoms, preferably in yellow or red.
95. Complement Your Landscape: Incorporate surrounding colors in your container garden design. You can use peach calibrachoa to echo the color of the wall fence. White verbenas can mimic the elegance of your French windows, and purple petunias could contrast with the variegation of the surrounding grass.
96. Grow Fragrant Plants:
Intoxicate your senses on multiple levels by incorporating fragrance in your container garden. Alyssums, lavender, jasmine, mint, rosemary, hyacinths, plumeria are good options. Learn to make a fragrant container garden with the help of this article.
Also Read: Best Scented Flowers
97. Go for Easy Maintenance: Plants like begonias, agave, and aeoniums are low-maintenance and look great all year. Having plants that thrive in the sun and shade ensures a consistent look.
98. Make Use of Contrasts: Grow light and dark, and cool and warm varieties together to put up a stunning show. For example, yellow and purple violas. Pay attention to the plant size though; you don’t want one to outcompete the other.
99. Stick to One Color: Go monochromatic by creating a focal point with a single colorful plant. Accentuate it with different shades on the periphery. Let lighter colors surround a dark center. They’ll reflect light, giving the illusion of space and contrast.
100. Welcome Planter Diversity:
Group tall, short, round, square, thick and thin planters for a whimsical arrangement that speaks for itself.
101. Invite Pollinators: Plants like Bidens, bee balm, marigold, cosmos, sunflowers, Alyssum, and lavender will attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to your container garden. Learn to make a Butterfly Garden in Containers.
Fruit Container Gardening Tips
102. Choosing a pot: Get a big enough pot for growing fruits trees. You can select a pot that is one or two sizes bigger than the rootball of the plant and then transplant it into a bigger pot once the plant becomes root bound.
103. Plan: Since many fruit trees can grow big or have thorns, plan out where and how you are going to plant that tree before buying one.
104. Buy from the nursery:
Never make the mistake of growing fruit trees from the seeds as they take a lot of time for growing big and fruiting and sometimes they don’t even fruit. Always buy a healthy grafted tree from a reputable plant nursery to save your time and efforts.
105. Choose the right types of fruits: Be sure to select the fruit trees according to your zone and planting conditions. Check our list to find out the best fruit trees you can grow in a container.
Container Vegetable Gardening Tips
106. Use the Vertical Space: When growing vegetables in containers, not only use the floor space but vertical as well. In hanging baskets, grow herbs, cherry tomatoes, dwarf chilies, lettuce, and strawberries. Install railing planters for your balcony and deck, you can grow vegetables in ladder planters as well.
Also Read: 12 Ideas to Grow Vegetables Vertically
107. Grow Vegetables from Transplants: If you’re growing vegetables for the first time, instead of sowing seeds, buy young herb and vegetable plants from your nearby garden center.
108. Size of the Pot: Large vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cabbage require at least 5-gallon pots that are 10-12 inches deep. Grow small root vegetables like radishes, carrots, beets, ginger and leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, bok choy, and other Asian greens grow best in wide but shallow planters.
109. Maintain the Spacing: In containers too, maintain proper spacing. Check out the seed packets for instructions and search the web to thin out the seedlings correctly.
110. Do Succession Planting: For a continuous harvest, plant your crops every 2 weeks.
Also Read: How to Have a Productive Vegetable Garden
11. Buy Quality Seeds: Avoid sowing seeds from the vegetables you eat and buy quality seeds.