Container Gardening

Is your outdoor space a balcony, a terrace, or perhaps just a windowsill?  There are many plants you can choose to create your own green space, no matter how small.

A few practical considerations first:

If you have a balcony, weight is an important factor.  Consider using lightweight pots and compost.  For balconies and windowsills make sure that planters are secured so they can’t fall off.

Think about the amount of wind the space gets – for a particularly exposed spot consider installing a windbreak, or choose plants suited to exposed coastal conditions.

Look at the amount of sun the plants will get through the day and make sure you choose either shade-loving plants, or plants with silvery foliage to reflect sun and avoid scorching in a sunny position.

Plants in pots generally require year-round watering.  Make sure that pots have drainage holes to avoid roots sitting in water.  Also, pots made of porous materials like terracotta will dry out quicker than materials like plastic.

Herbs are great to grow in pots as they tend to stay quite compact.  Sage and thyme like a sunny position; parsley and mint will be happy in a shadier spot.

Fruit and vegetables can also be grown in container or bags – try strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, radishes or potatoes.

Consider including a small evergreen shrub in the centre of a pot to create a focal point in a display as seasonal plants come and go through the year – Euonymus and Skimmia work well.  You could include ornamental grasses for foliage contrast in a sunny spot.  For containers in shade, try using Hostas, ferns or Heuchera for foliage interest.

Summer perennials like Nepeta, Salvia and Agapanthus will provide a great display in full sun or try Geraniums and Verbena in shade.

For a splash of instant colour try adding some bedding plants for summer – Pelargoniums for sun, Begonias and Impatiens in part shade.

If you have a reasonable size of space, consider including a tree to create height interest and provide some privacy and shade.  Many varieties of Acer and Magnolia grow well in containers, as do Prunus or Malus.  Or perhaps consider a topiary specimen like clipped Photinia or holly.

Finally, when the Summer perennials have finished flowering, pop some bulbs into the pots so you’ll have plenty of colour again next Spring.

Photos courtesy of Pinterest:
Housebeautiful.com; hgtv.com; hamptonsgarden.squarespace.com; midwestliving.com; commonground-do.com

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