Do’s and Don’ts of Container Gardening

Guide to container gardening in Mori Gardens Creative Space

Are your annual planters lacking flare? Use these tips by Mori Gardens’ Creative Space to design a planter full of colour, texture and interest.

Before you start, consider the container that will frame your arrangement.

  1. What is the desired effect you want to create, such as modern, rustic or Zen?
  2. Are you wanting to use shrubs, perennials, annuals or tropicals?  Some plants will require larger pots for rooting space.
  3. How much space do you have? Pots should be proportional to your space.
  4. Will the pots be remaining outside for the winter?  Porous pots such as terra cotta and concrete may crack if left out for the winter.
  5. What kind of drainage do I need?  If pots are going to be sitting directly on a hard surface, they should be raised 1”-2” for proper drainage.
Mori Gardens Creative Space

Now that you have the right container, ask yourself the following questions when selecting your plants. 

  1. How much sun does the area receive and at what time of day?
  2. What are the wind conditions or any other environmental conditions?
  3. What is the desired effect – Tropical, English Cottage, and Formal etc?
  4. What mood would you like to create? Cool colours (white, purples, blues) are relaxing and tranquil, while warm colours (red, oranges, yellows) are vibrant and add excitement.
  5. Are my plants’ proportions matching my container? Plants should not be more than twice the height of the pot or more than 1 ½ times the width of the pot.
  6. Does my planter have interest and texture?  Bold flowers and large leaves can be appreciated from a distance.  To achieve a balanced look, make sure that there is a good mixture of bold and delicate flowers and foliage.
Mori Gardens Creative Space

Other Helpful Hints

  • Remember proper watering is key.  Plants in containers will dry out quicker than they would in the ground and therefore needs to be watered more frequently.
  • Water frequency depends on the size and type of pot, the type of soil used, the type of plants used and the location of the container.  A small container in a hot, windy location will dry out quicker than a large pot in a cool shady area.  So, you will have to look at each container separately to see when it needs to be watered.
  • Don’t forget to Fertilize – Since you are watering containers more often, they also need to be fertilized more often (fertilizer is leaching through the pots quicker).  A good, slow-releasing natural fertilizer, such as A heavy blooming plant will require more fertilizer. Acti-sol Hen Manure is recommended.
  • Try deadheading – By removing spent blooms you will increase the number of new blooms.
  • Remove unsightly, diseased or insect-infested foliage as soon as it appears to stop the spread of insects or diseases.  Isolate any infected containers until the problem has been taken care of.
  • If plants are becoming too leggy, pinch back stems hard to create a more compact plant.

Mori Gardens’ Creative Space is available to assist with your custom container planters for all 4 season, with plants, hands-on assistance and private workshops for home and business.

Create a beautiful custom container
for any spot you want to enhance with colour, interest and life.

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