Container Gardening 101

Container gardening is really pretty simple. Most of my gardens are perennials, but then I supplement them with container gardens of annuals. That way, when the borders are going through their mid-summer slump, I’ve still got a zap of color going on.

I’ve put together a basic recipe to follow in planting a container garden. It’s an easy recipe to follow, especially if you feel insecure with containers. Once you gain confidence in the process, feel free to experiment.


  1. Plants. First choose the flowers that you are going like. You will be living with them all summer. Put flowers together that prefer the same conditions – sun or shade. Choose a variety of  heights – pick at least one type of tall,  some medium and short heights and at least one trailing plant. You can also go with different shaped foliage: heart- shaped leaves; frothy, airy plants and sharp grass-types.   P6051285 P6051286
  2. Containers and soil. You can use anything for a container, as long as it has some kind of drainage at the bottom. If you have a large container, you may wish to add a small garbage bag of Styrofoam peanuts at the bottom of the pot before adding potting soil. It keeps the pot lighter and easier to move and saves a little money by using less soil.  Smaller containers: add broken pot pieces or even coffee filters placed over the drainage hole to keep the soil from leaking out the bottom. Soil: I always buy a potting soil mix with a slow release fertilizer.      P6051287 
  3. Putting it together. Start with the taller plants and work down to the shorter plants. If the containers have a back and front, put the  tallest plants at the back and plant towards the front. If the container can be viewed from all sides, plant the tallest in the middle, then plant outward. P6051288 P6051289 When taking the plants out of their pots, root-bound plugs should be loosened up before planting. container gardening 

Placement. Here is a diagram showing the placement and heights of plants. I’ve included a list of what I planted in this particular pot, starting with the tallest: 1 purple fountain grass – 36-60″; 1 lantana sunrise rose – 15-20″; 3 purple salvia -14-16″; 2 dwarf red salvia – 8-12″; 3 petunias flash blue – 10-12″; 1 marigold disco yellow – 10″; 2 ageratum – 1-hawaii royal 1 blue – 6″; 1 potato vine marguerite. The main color scheme is purple with a touch of red and yellow to add a little zip to the arrangement. I tend to like an asymmetrical look but it can be symmetrical as well. One pot of flowers by itself always looks a little odd, two pots can work, but 3 or more pots grouped together create a picture. Try to use odd numbers and different levels. You can use different types of pots but tie them together by using the same color combinations, with at least one flower repeating throughout the design. P6051290 


I’ll be working on more containers this weekend and post

The Many Colored Pots of  Jill-O, later.


About Jill-O

a girl who likes lakes, trees and critters; making an attempt at living the artistic life.
This entry was posted in container gardening, flowers, gardening, gardens, Seasonal, summer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Container Gardening 101

  1. Catherine says:

    Great tips. I like the coffee filter over the drain hole! Your containers look very pretty, can’t wait to see the rest.

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