The popularity of container gardening has shot through the roof like a well-groomed plant in recent years, and we’re not surprised. It’s a perfect hobby to take up for all nature-craving city dwellers, even if you’re only able to give up a tiny bit of your apartment for it. Flower pots are also a great alternative for backyard gardens and the like, offering fresh, creative solutions in terms of both plant arrangement and plant care.
And no, it’s not hard – certainly not as hard as some people may tell you! It’s a skill, and as such it will require some effort as well as some consistency on your part, but if you can muster a bit of both, you will surely find the whole endeavor very rewarding. Before you dig your green fingers into potting soil, however, make sure you know what you’re doing. Read these seven time-saving tips and find out how to grow plants in pots for prettiest, lushest and most enviable results.
1. Read up on the plant before you buy it
While pretty much all plants can grow in pots, don’t just take it for the granted that your desired plant will grow where you plan to keep it. It’s all about the right plant in the right place, and there are a few things you should look at before making any commitments.
Start with plants known for their efficient indoor reputation if you plan to grow your plants at home, and get to know their specific requirements. If your space is limited, consider compact plants – mini-cultivars and dwarf varieties of many popular plants.
2. Analyze how much light you can provide
Probably the most crucial factor to consider before buying any plant, the amount of light at your disposal will either make or break your plant. Use a sun calculator if you would like to determine your sunlight time.
Most plants will flourish if you provide them with 15-16 hours of light every day, but if you’re not sure about this then buying grow lights may be a good option. Remember that photoreceptors in plants only absorb specific wavelengths of light, so your regular bulbs won’t be of any help here.
3. Choose the right planter size
Generally speaking, the size of your plant’s root system determines the size of a planter it needs to grow big and stay healthy. If the container is too small, it will prevent the plant from developing properly and what’s more, you will need to water the plant more frequently.
If you’re into tall plants, put them in a square, bulky container so they don’t catch wind in the open air. On the other hand, plants with a contained root system, like succulents and orchids, fare better in smaller pots, so make sure you know your plant before you get a planter for it.
4. Get a container with drainage holes
Make sure your containers come with at least one or two holes at the bottom when you buy them. You can also drill drainage holes on your own, although we wouldn’t recommend experimenting with pots too much if they’re ceramic or terracotta.
Soil becomes soggy and oversaturated when there is no exit for excess water, and oftentimes that leads to premature plant death. So by all means let water flow out freely, just give it some place to run to prevent unsightly mess under the planter!
5. Use potting mix for container plants
Garden soil is generally too heavy and may come with seeds of weeds, so using a special potting mix is definitely recommended. Using soil-less mix cuts down on weight but you will need to remember to fertilize your plants on a regular basis.
Soil-less mix for container gardening can be both bought and made. Common ingredients include coconut fiber, clean sand and peat moss, among many others. It takes around three pints of soil or mix for a standard six-inch pot.
6. Boost your potting mix with nutrients
Remember that potted plants require special care as they have no access to natural nutrients or moisture available freely in the open ground; it’s your responsibility to provide them with both. If there are no nutrients in your potting mix, compensate this by fertilizing your plants.
Different fertilizers and different regimens will be required for different plants, so as always start with targeted research for your specific plant. Organic fertilizers are considered the best, especially slow-release ones. Expect to fertilize your plants every 2 weeks on average.
7. Understand how much water your plant needs
Regular watering is essential for container plants, but the key here is to get to know your plant’s watering requirements as both too little water and too much water can be lethal for your green friends. Don’t let the plant’s media dry out; you will find it hard to re-wet it.
Plants in small pots, hanging plants as well as plants with a lot of foliage require a lot of water. Be aware of the changing weather and water your plants twice a day when it’s hot. And if that’s too often for you, consider installing an automatic drip-irrigation system.
These are just the basic things to keep in mind if you want to start your gardening adventure on the right footing, but our top piece of advice on how to grow plants in pots successfully is this: research your plant before you start growing it! Container gardening gets much easier as soon as you get to know your plant’s specific preferences. If you’re looking for a good place to start your research, here’s one: our practical beginner’s guide to gardening in pots.
Other than plants themselves, the other fundamental element of container gardening is obviously a good flower pot. Our fiberglass planters are both durable and lightweight, on top of being pretty, so why don’t you also take a look at our planter collection?