Planters Etc Planting Guide: 10 Helpful Tips and Planting Resources

©Jay Scotts planters at The Dalmar Hotel, Florida

There are many different kinds of plants in the world. However, when you’re not an expert, it can be a little hard to know how to plant them, care for them, and which plants will work best for you. That’s why we created this planting guide to you make the right decision!

1. Important planting locations

The first thing to consider before buying any plant, or their seeds, is where you’re going to put it. Plants growing in the ground require a lot of extra supervision, while those indoors might not get enough sun and too much water with an overzealous owner!

Growing plants in the garden

When planting in your garden, you need to check if you have enough space. Planting anything too close together will mean water and nutrients won’t reach all the roots properly so think about spacing before you start digging holes.

If you’re planting in a shady area, sun-loving varieties may struggle and vegetables such as spinach and lettuce might bolt (go to seed) prematurely.

Ornamental plant growing on plots in the garden.
Ornamental plant growing on plots in the garden @ start08 / Getty Images

On the other hand, if the area you plan to plant in gets too much average sun, an unsuitable plant will get too dry and won’t survive.

So make sure you get the right types for your planting area. There are varieties that suit any climate.

Growing plants in containers

Growing plants in containers is generally easier because you can control their environment better. All you need to do is make sure that your container has proper drainage holes and enough soil.

Tomato plants planted in wooden containers
Tomato plants planted in wooden containers @ darekbphotos / Canva Pro

Almost any type of plant can be grown using a container. Gardening with containers is also great for keeping your plants indoors every year during the winter to escape the frost, or during the summer to shelter from the sun. They can be brought inside at a moment’s notice to avoid the worst weather conditions.

They can even be used to decorate your home or your garden with ease!

2. Three things you need to know before planting

Whether you plant indoors or in the garden, if your plants don’t have the right space, light, and water they’ll never thrive.

There are a few different things you should keep in mind before you start planting.

Soil tips

Potting soil mixture should be used in any/all planters when planting live plants. Potting soil is specially formulated for planter and container gardening. It consists of a mixture of soil, hummus and peat, but can vary from brand to brand. To ensure you are using the correct type of potting soil, check the packaging to determine if it is the right soil for your plant type.

Gardening Scoop and soil
Gardening Scoop and soil @ Free-Photos / Pixabay

Soil additives can be used to improve the quality of your soil. For example, perlite offers better prevention of root rot. While other soil amendments like peat moss support the growth of roots and hold moisture. On the other hand, sand can be used to improve drainage and ensure dry conditions for your plant.

Organic fertilizer can be used to maintain natural environmental health and still produce results.

Sunlight tips

Most plants will need between 6 and 12 hours of sun per day. Though some plants prefer indirect sun, others prefer to be scorched.

Low-light plants

These like shade or indirect sunlight. They include aloe, bromeliads, begonias, and coleus. Full sun will often cause low-light plants to wilt and eventually will kill them.

Medium-light plants

These will grow well in bright sunlight but also perform in partial shade. They include African violet, hosta (plantain lily), impatiens, and begonias. Most perennials fit into this category.

tree leaves and bright sunlight and lens flare.
Tree leaves and bright sunlight @ letty17 / Getty Images Signature
High-light plants

These like full sun and are usually plants from the tropics or areas that have hot climates. They include Peace Lilly, ferns, rubber trees, and philodendrons.

Spacing tips

Small potted plants and shrubs need at least 12 inches of vertical space, while herbs need only a few inches. Larger plants and some flower varieties can extend upwards to 6 feet or more.

Plants need at least half an inch of room around them in their container. Plants and flowers in the garden need more space as they will be competing for water.

Green growing garlic planted in a peat container at home
Green growing garlic planted in a peat container at home @ Mariana-Rusanovschi / Getty Images

Finding the right location really makes a difference. If you planted them too close, the foliage of one plant might be casting shadows over the rest. This might be good for seedlings that need a little tree cover but bad for others that need all the sun they can get.

3. How to plant your new plant

We highly recommend using a container for planting mature plants or even seedlings. When planting, we recommend the following:

  1. Insert a layer of landscape fabric.
  2. Add a layer of gravel.
  3. Our best practices tip: rinse the sediment off the gravel prior to installing.
  4. Insert another layer of landscape fabric.
  5. Optional: use foam to build up the pot to the desired height.
  6. For commercial installations, higher altitudes, and roof decks – consider adding more rocks (like lava rock), instead of foam, to achieve desired plant height and to increase the weight of the planter so it doesn’t blow over.
  7. Once the desired height is achieved, insert a drop tray; this will ensure the planter maintains some water to continue to feed the plants without building up.
  8. Our best practices tip: for seedlings, a grow bag can be used instead of a nursery pot. Grow bags should be the same gallon size as the nursery pot. This ensures no unnecessary air gets in the soil and roots.
  9. Once in place, use filler around the nursery pot/grow bag to stabilize your plant(s) in place.
  10. Our best practices tip: we recommend rubber mulch to keep away weeds.
  11. Optional: top with river rock, moss or another decorative plant finisher.
  12. Sit back and enjoy the view!
plant a new plant
Planting a new plant @ StockRocket / Getty Images

4. Choosing the right season for planting

Plants and flowers, whether they are seedlings or mature, grow best when planted in the optimum season. However, the greatest threat to plant survival is big drops in temperature before the plant or flower has reached maturity.

If you want to plant outdoors, watch out for frost during the coldest weeks of the year. Use a planter because you may need to bring your plant inside to protect it!

How do I calculate my planting dates?

If you are growing from seed, make sure you know the proper time it takes for your plants or flowers to reach maturity. Then calculate backwards from the estimated first frost. Give your plants enough time to mature before the temperature gets too cold or they won’t survive.

Check with a local nursery for professional tips if you’re not sure about these things before going forward in planning your planting schedule. But here is some general planting advice based on the calendar:


Summer is a good time to plant flowers, vegetables, and herbs because they need lots of sunlight and harvesting them in the winter is a delight. However, avoid planting any plants that are sensitive to high temperatures or take a long time to mature.

Spring is great for flowers and evergreen plants. This is when the air tends to be the most humid. Planting vegetables in the Spring will give a yield before winter.

colorful seasonal leaf
Colorful seasonal leaf @ Ignitius / Getty Images Pro

Winter is not an ideal time to plant anything. But some things, like fruit and nut trees, can withstand lower temperatures and can go in the ground as early as 6 weeks before the last frost.

Fall is a good time to plant bulbs like tulips and daffodils. During Fall there is a decreased level of average sunlight. They need less sunlight than other plants and you don’t have to worry about the temperature as much. Mild winters will be no problem and they can even withstand a little frost.

5. Helpful resources including zoning maps and charts

A zoning map can be used to see the average temperature range over the calendar. It is used by gardeners to determine which plants are suitable for their location and which areas are susceptible to frost.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture produces a map that shows precisely which zones each state is in. You can use these zones to judge the growing conditions of your gardens.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map @ USDA Website

6. The benefits of planting seeds indoors

In order to start your gardening season early, some gardeners choose to plant their seeds indoors. There are many benefits for gardeners when seeds are planted indoors first including the cost-effectiveness of starting with a pack of seed rather than an already grown starter plant. Gardeners can also start gardening early in winter and they don’t have to worry about the weather!

planting seeds indoors
Planting seeds indoors @ bgwalker / Getty Images Signature

7. When to transplant your young plant

If you’ve grown a plant from seed, there will come a time when it’s big enough to transplant in a larger pot or directly in the ground. But how do you know if your little seedling is ready? A good sign is the number of true leaves on your plant The growth of around 3 -4 mature green leaves means that your plant is likely ready. The first set of leaves often look different – these are called cotyledons and they store food while the plant grows – focus instead on counting those 3-4 mature ones!

transplant young plant
Hands transplanting young plant @ sirichai_asawalapsakul / Getty Images

8. Where to buy plants from

Some of the best places to go for plants are garden supply stores, nurseries, or even garage sales. There, you can find a wide variety of different types of plants and seeds that are great for the garden or indoors. You should also look at online plant businesses, as they sell rarer plants that are hard to get your hands on.

Customer buying plants on garden shop
Customer buying plants on garden shop @ FG Trade / Getty Images Signature

9. The best types of plants for beginners

The best types of plants for beginners are the ones that grow quickly – from as little as just a few weeks. Some vegetables include tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers. You should avoid plants that tend to take a long time to yield results such as ginger, peas, onions, and corn. Potted plants that grow quickly are much better than the ones that take forever.

shovel in the soil with vegetable plant in pot for planting
Shovel in the soil with vegetable plant in pot for planting @ sanddebeautheil / Getty Images

10. Why our planters are perfect for your plant

Choosing the right planter is just as important as choosing a good plant! It should be big enough and made of durable materials that will help support your plant properly without causing it any damage or disease.

potsdam fiberglass planters
Potsdam fiberglass planters @ Planters Etc

We offer a variety of planters that are perfect for any size plant, interior or garden design, and budget. They will make your plants grow faster and stronger. Made from fiberglass, they also last longer than other materials.

How we can help you decide your next planter

We understand that it can be hard to choose a planter, especially when you don’t know much about them. That’s why we are always a phone call away to help you choose one that suits your needs. It will make the process easier and less stressful and we can even give you some fantastic design and decor ideas too.

We even publish an expert-led blog every week that covers the most important topics in interior design and home gardening.

If you’re ready to start decorating your home, now it’s time to check out the colors we offer, including how to use them!

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