Planters: Tips and Tricks for Starting Planters!
Many gardeners love container gardening throughout the summer, and plant annuals, herbs or vegetables. Going to your local greenhouse is exciting, and it can be lots of fun picking out colorful annuals or tasty herbs to fill your containers at home. There are a couple of things you should be aware of when picking up your plants, and when preparing your pots for planting. We’ve put together a few pieces of advice to help kickstart your new planters!
Picking the Right Plants & Soil for Planters
Before buying your plants, take a look at the area where you want to place the pots. Assess the amount sunlight that the target area will typically get in a day. This is important because you do not want to pick out your plants only to find that your area doesn’t get enough sunlight. Full sun is considered to be 6+ hours of direct sunlight. Annuals that will thrive in full sun include: petunias, marigolds, geraniums and cosmos. If the area receives less than 4 hours of sunlight a day, it is considered full shade. In these areas fuchsia, impatiens and begonias are some of your best choices for these areas.
It is important to pick a soil that will retain moisture as well as provide nutrients to your plants. Do not use topsoil or the soil currently in your garden because there can be a high content of clay and it is too heavy for your container. We suggest using BigYellowBag Black Garden Soil, as it provides the perfect growing environment for your potted plants.
Preparing Your Planters for Annuals and Herbs
Before you plant, you should prepare your pots. The pot should have proper drainage, so the root systems are not constantly sitting in water. Proper drainage ensures that adequate air is reaching the roots, and few plants will tolerate sitting in water, as their roots will rot. To avoid this issue, use a pot with a hole in the bottom so that excess water can flow out freely and your plant will be properly hydrated.
If you already have your pots and they don’t drain well, you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy new pots. With plastic pots, an easy solution is to drill holes in the bottom. For ceramic planters, drilling can cause damage, so use one of two methods to create drainage:
- Overturn a small plastic container and set it in the bottom of your pot. Then surround with Styrofoam or newspaper to prevent the container from moving around. It should look similar to the image below. Fill a large plastic pot with soil and set on top of the overturned container. This will provide your plants with proper drainage and ensure that they are not sitting in a pool of water.
- Alternatively, add a drainage layer at the bottom of the pot. An easy way is to fill the bottom of the pot about 2-3” high with stones or a similar medium that will provide your plants with more drainage. Also keep in mind that you should be more careful with watering if you’re using this method.
Have Beautiful Planters!
Preparing the pots and picking the right annuals are integral to the success of your planters. If you are unsure of which plants to choose, ask someone in the greenhouse for suggestions. This will ensure you are picking plants that will work for your area. Picking the right soil gives your plants the best possible growing environment, and your planters will beautiful year round.