A few years ago we did a group post on container gardens. Now that I have moved twice in one year, I thought it was time to share my new container gardens. Let’s take a look at How to Grow Beautiful Container Gardens in 2022.
Containers are great for people without much outdoor space. When we lived in our rental in Salinas we planted nearly everything in containers so we could move our garden with us when we moved. They can also add structure and color to gardens with more space. I have had some that have done well, and some that have struggled. If you plant companionable plants, give them plenty of water and fertilizer for the most part they will thrive.
Here are my eight tips for growing beautiful container gardens.
#1 Use the proper soil
I use 3/4 good potting soil and 1/4 of my own native soil. I add the native soil for better water retention.
#2 Ensure that pots have proper drainage
If your container doesn’t have holes drill some. I put a couple of cups of gravel in mine and then line them with landscape cloth.
#3 Use a Thriller a Filler and a Spiller
The experts rule. The thriller is the focus plant, a filler is just what it says and the spiller does just that.
#4 Combine plants of varying heights, colors and textures
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
#5 Tie in the architecture and or color of your home
Your containers should echo the style and colors of your home.
#6 Choose interesting pots
Think outside of the box
#7 Fertilize Often
Many of the experts suggest using a timed-release fertilizer. I use good old-fashioned miracle gro about every three weeks. I have switched to the organic version (drives the animals crazy).
#8 Water often
Almost all of my pots are on drip irrigation now. One of the main reasons they are thriving
As I said when we lived in our former (soon to be a rental again) in Salinas, we planted the back garden area with pots that we could take with us. This big fountain surrounding by pots of iceberg roses and white lantana was the centerpiece of the back garden. You can read about my plan for that backyard transformation here in my post Backyard Town Garden Design. You can also read the full post Before and After Backyard Transformation as well here.
On the front porch of that same house, I filled dark brown pots with potato vine in chartreuse and deep red, begonias, and lobelia.
The table in the courtyard in Salinas had an aged Target planter filled with geraniums, verbena, yellow lantana, alyssum, ivy and I forget what the white plant is.
On the table at our former lake home I filled an old galvanized trough with succulents.
When we moved to Salinas I filled the same planter with adjuga, verbena and ivy.
In our new home, I have once again filled the planter with succulents and remnants of the ivy that I couldn’t bear to tear out.
Another favorite planter that we brought from Salinas is this old galvanized bathtub (from Patine) filled with an espalliered apple and underplanted with herbs. The herbs struggled in Salinas. They did great here before it got too hot in our courtyard garden. I have just recently cut them back and may have to transplant out with the tomatoes where there is more of a breeze.
Also in the courtyard are two espalierrred Meyer lemon’s that our son found at Costco. We placed them in pots that the former owners had roses planted in on the back patio.
Also in the courtyard in vintage galvanized planters from Atelier Campagne are limes planted simply.
Also in the courtyard are old portugese baskets, also from Atelier de Campagne planted with Asparagus ferns.
In the back all of the pots are newly planted. In the center are polka roses which will eventually climb up the posts. They are surrounded by petunias, coleus and yellow lantana.
Also on the back patio are large containers that we brought from Salinas filled with Standard Olives, underplanted with convulvus, ivy, red potato vine and lobelia. They don’t look like much yet as they are newly planted.
The former owners had three raised beds in the front of the grapes that they had planted with various vegetables and flowers. We transplanted their dahlias into a bed with hollyhocks (they look awful does anyone have luck with them?) and delphinium. We may adjust that one next year. One of the other beds is planted with cutting flowers. One of the spires that our friend Jim made is in the center.
The other is planted with tomatoes (I may add herbs) which are growing like crazy. The tomatoes will climb up tripods made from 100+-year-old fence boards from my brother-in-law’s property in Chualar.
BOOKS AND TOOLS FOR SUCCESSFUL CONTAINER GARDENING
LINKS ON HOW TO GROW BEAUTIFUL CONTAINER GARDENS
PLACES IN CALIFORNIA TO BUY INTERESTING AND VINTAGE POTS