A guide to planting in containers
People have the ability to garden almost anywhere. Gardening in containers allows us to accessorize and theme our personal landscapes by showcasing plants in their prime.
Gardening is all about seasons and nowhere is that more evident than in “potscaping” - the artistic arrangement of flowers and shrubs in containers.
In developing successful pot combinations there are a few points to consider to ensure success:
1 Use the right soil
Professional mixes are available at most garden centres. They are formulated specifically for container growing and are used by all commercial greenhouse growers. These soils absorb moisture, provide sufficient drainage and aeration that does not suffocate the plant roots.
2 Proper pots
One-gallon size pots and up are ideal since they will not dry out as fast and allow for plant growth.
Small pots can add detail to the landscape. Cactus, succulents and other drought tolerant plants prefer the warm hot dry days of summer and detest the fussiness of frequent watering and feeding.
3 Break the rules
The red geraniums and the spikes are passé. Look for the exotics, add perennials, plant dominant vertical elements off-centre in the container and try adventurous colour combinations.
Before a large planting, place the plants in the container as this will allow you to determine how full the planting may become and what combinations look good together.
About the expert
Michael Pascoe is is an award-winning professor and program coordinator of horticulture at Fanshawe College and the director of the Gardens of Fanshawe and the A.M. (Mac) Cuddy Gardens in Strathroy. Michael is a graduate of the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, the University of Guelph, the University of Sussex and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.