I love container gardening. After much trial & error with my plants, I have discovered some tips for better container gardening I’d like to share with you.
I do all kinds of container gardening. I have house plants in pots, a raised container garden, and veggies and trees in pots outside. Using containers is not messy. They are very easy to keep weed-free. It’s easier to keep the soil at optimal drainage and looseness and, best of all, the container plants are easier to move around so I can find the perfect place for them to do their best.
So, here are a few tips for better container gardening.
Raise them up!
I got a start of a Christmas cactus about 5 years ago from my mother in law. It was a 1″ long piece of stem with 1 leaf. It has grown magnificently over the years and now the delicate branches are drooping over the side of the pot so much that they are getting mangled on the shelf and breaking off.
It didn’t really need to be re-potted – it has plenty of room (and I LOVE the owl pot it’s in), so I snagged one of the extra sprinkler head doughnuts from the garage (shh, don’t tell my hubby) and put the pot on top. Perfect! It gave the pot some more height and now the branches can grow down over the shelf much better. Easy fix!
In the first picture, I have the pot scooted all the way to the edge of the shelf, so it doesn’t look like the branches are too bad. Normally it sits farther back because the shelf is near the sliding glass door. I am always afraid the branches will get broken off or the whole plant will get knocked off the shelf.
See what a difference it makes when the pot is higher?
Keep the birds and squirrels away with chicken wire.
We are very lucky that Florida is one of the biggest strawberry-growing regions in the U.S. They are ridiculously easy to grow here. We have a long plastic planter for our strawberries right next to our container garden. If you’ve never grown strawberries, they send out “tentacles” and start new plants very easily. We didn’t really want a zillion plants in the big raised garden, so we have found that using this long container is perfect.
Anyway, we are not the only ones that like our strawberries. The squirrels and birds do, too. So, an easy fix for that is a cage my hubby made out of chicken wire. Nothing fancy. First, he just cut it big enough to cover it – with several inches to spare all the way around it to keep grabby little paws away. Then he simply wired the ends together and it just sits on the ground. Finally, he used u-shaped bent wire to anchor it and now the strawberries are protected from hungry critters. Well, except for snails and slugs. So we set out a peanut butter lid of beer for them…
Create a fast and easy herb garden.
Sometimes I am not a patient person with my plants. I don’t want to always start things from seed. So, in the spring, I found a self-watering container tucked away on my gardening shelf that was just calling out for something to be planted in it.
So, I picked up a few herb plants (basil, parsley, cilanto, and rosemary). They were in peat pots. I love that you can just plop the whole pot right in the ground, especially with delicate young plants that might not have a good root system yet.
I put about an inch of potting soil in the bottom of the pot, added the 4 peat pots, and filled in around them with more potting soil. Easy – peasy! They are growing happily on my porch and require very little maintenance. So, if you are a little intimidated about growing herbs, try it this way. It really is easy.
Here’s a close up. The peat pots fit nicely in the big pot.
As I have mentioned before, my favorite place to shop for plants is the clearance aisle of Lowe’s garden section.
That’s where all the Charlie Brown-type plants are put. The ones that got too dry or wilty, or are otherwise not looking too good. Most of the time these plants are perfectly fine. They thrive once they are in good soil and in the right location. And the discounts on them are significant! So, as a cheapskate with a tender heart for plants, I have to buy them and give them a second chance. I’ve only had a few over the years that didn’t make it, so it’s been a fun challenge!
So, this is my latest Charlie Brown container plant challenge. An orchid.
I love orchids but I’ve always thought they were difficult to grow. My sister lives in Jacksonville and she has hers out on her back porch and they do great. She has big trees so it is shady. I am in Tampa, and even though I have a covered porch, it is hot here. So, I found this poor little orchid for $3 on the clearance shelf. No flowers, very dry roots, and droopy leaves. The “nice” ones that were inside the greenhouse area were blooming, healthy, gorgeous and $12. How could I resist the challenge? As my hubby pointed out, I won’t feel nearly so bad if this one dies. Gee, thanks, dear…(but, he’s right).
So, this is my latest challenge. I have hope for it. See how I potted it here. I’ll keep you up to date on my progress with it. And let me know if you have any good tips to share with me about successful orchid growing, please!
So, I hope you enjoyed my container gardening tips, and thanks for listening about my orchid 🙂
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