Written by David S.
Spring is one of the most productive flowering seasons and using containers enables you to bring to life the areas of your landscape that you enjoy the most. It also means impressive flowering containers for:
- Your front porch
- Fence lines
- Outdoor living areas
- And along your driveway
The Recipe for Gorgeous Flowering Containers
Getting started with containers may be challenging, but the process is simpler if you follow a recipe.
The basic recipe for a beautiful container full of flowers is as follows:
- Choose a container that matches your landscape or decor. Green Thumb Nursery offers a range of containers from black pots to beautifully painted and fired containers in sold and decorative patterns.
- Choose the Plants – Choose plants with similar growing needs, such as water, nutrients, and sunlight. That process can also include color, height, and bloom time. It is important that the requirements for each plant be similar as you will need to build soil to meet those needs.
- Build the Soil – A container is an artificial environment, and you must build the soil to match the needs of the plants. Most plants like well-draining soil but not all. Some plants love a ton of compost and organic material, and others prefer poor soil with a small level of nutrients. The type of soil that goes in the container is determined by the types of plants you plant there.
Those three basic steps are the foundation for creating beautiful containers full of gorgeous flowers. You may notice that we have not gone into choosing plants by size or color. That aspect is more decorative rather than physical. To enjoy beautiful container gardens, you first must meet the physical needs of the plants that will grow there. The idea is to create a growing environment where each plant in the container will flourish.
Meeting The Needs of Different Types of Flowering Plants
We mentioned that some plants like soil that is well-draining and the truth is that different types of plants have very different physical needs. The easiest way to start the process of meeting the needs of plants is to start with basic soil structure.
The Basic Recipe for container soil is:
- 50% topsoil or potting soil
- 25-40% compost
- 10-25% aggregate such as perlite.
I prefer topsoil over potting soil as topsoil tends to hold water longer than potting soil. The compost component is all about nutrients, and you will notice there is a range there. If your plants love rich loamy soil, add more compost. If they are plants that are not fussy about nutrient loads, add less compost and more aggregates. The same is true for the aggregate. If the plants like dryer soil, add more aggregates. If the plants like moist soil, add less aggregates and more compost.
Different types of soil
The recipe for soil listed above creates a basic soil that most plants will love. There are different types of soil and plants will have various soil types they love. Those include:
- Sandy soil – fast draining and generally not a lot of nutrients.
- Soil for marginal plants – plants in flood zones where they may be submerged. These can include pond plants also.
- Water holding soil – for plants that need more water during hotter times
- High-nutrient soil for plants that are heavy feeders
The beautiful thing about container gardens is that you can mix various types of plants within the same landscape. The containers make it easy to create a specific growing environment where you can isolate plants with specific growing needs. The result is a dynamic and scenic landscape that is full of wonder and exotic blooms.
Container Plant Ideas
I love the surprise aspect of finding something unique hidden in a landscape. These are small containers – maybe a gallon or two, tucked in amid other vibrant plants. Here are some examples:
- One of the most beautiful options includes hardy tropical plants for a container garden. Pitcher plants – these are amazing plants that also trap insects. Most can grow in smaller containers and are often dotted in bright colors.
- Small ponds – Small barrel ponds under five gallons can also make a unique focal in a larger landscape. A few lotus flowers will create a dramatic and exotic surprise when they bloom. Small ponds also offer wildlife a place to find water and can make an excellent tool for attracting wildlife to your yard. Be sure to check out the kits at Green Thumb Nursery for ponds of all sizes.
- Bonsai – these small trees offer a stunning and artful aspect to your landscape. They require annual pruning but can become a focal point within a small space or nook.
Big and Bold
When I go to weddings and special events, I pay attention to the flowers. I am a big fan of big and bold statement containers that draw the eye and hold it. Here are a few examples of big and bold containers.
- Peonies – A dramatic and class bulb that is full of delight. The plants are large enough that you can fill a large container with them and be amazed at the result.
- Canna – are beautiful bulbs that come in an array of bright colors. The yellow, red, and orange are a favorite of mine and a mixed container with these colors is outstanding. Cannas are tall, so mix in border plants such as forget-me-nots, petunia, or even sedums that droop.
Front Porch and Patio Containers
For a front porch, a container with a mix of flowers is welcoming. If the container is large, start with a small vine, such as jasmine or wisteria. Add to the middle a beautiful bloomer such as Gerber daisies and in the front trailing plants such as sedum, thyme, or aromatics. That recipe gives beautiful height from the vine, a mid-level pop of color, and a little drama from the trailing plants. Mix in contrasting colors makes the container stand out from the porch.
Patios also benefit from containers. An idea for patio containers includes a pot of birds of paradise plants, which are sturdy, exotic, and produce gorgeous blooms. A mix of the traditional birds with those that are white creates an exotic display. You can also include vining plants for a patio such as a jasmine, trumpet vine, clematis, and even roses.
Designing with container gardens is a beautiful way to bring vivid colors and interesting mixes of flowering plants to your landscape. There are no real rules to designing containers so long as you start with plants that have similar growing needs.
Stop by Green Thumb Nursery to shop the beautiful containers, soil options, and of course the amazing selection of plants. Now is a wonderful time to start containers and to grow a beautiful landscape.
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