How to Start a Container Garden

How to Start a Container Garden

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  1. Overview

    Plants, flowers, vegetables and herbs thrive in containers. Container gardening is a useful tool for those not able to garden in the ground, and for those that simply don’t have the space. Container gardens add instant impact and color to front and backyard landscapes.


    Before starting a container garden, decide where you’d like to place your containers. Next, determine how much sunlight the area receives. Does is receive full sun, partial sun or shade? This helps determine what types of flowers and plants to purchase. Most flowers have an identification marker indicating light requirements.


    Two widely used flower containers are plastic and clay (also called terre-cotta).   Plastic pots weigh less than clay pots.  Clay pots help absorb excess moisture from the soil, where plastic pots tend to hold water in the soil longer. Either pot must have drainage holes in the bottom to prevent the flower roots from becoming waterlogged. Container flowers are susceptible to diseases caused by waterlogged roots. If your flower pot doesn’t have a drainage hole, drill one in the bottom.


    Container grown flowers have different soil requirements than flowers grown in the ground. Use a soil with a high nutrient content to make up for the lack of nutrients in the container. Confirm the bag of soil indicates it’s designed for container gardening.

    Fill the containers with potting soil, leaving one inch from the top of each container. Dig a hole as wide and deep as the flower and roots are. Gently place each flower in the container, filling in the extra spaces with dirt.  


    Water container plants regularly in order to thrive. However, take note of each plant’s watering needs.  Avoid planting flowers with a high watering need in the same container as flowers with a low watering need.


    Some potting soils come with fertilizer already mixed into the soil. However, some gardeners choose to add additional fertilizer to help increase flower blooms. If desired, choose a fertilizer designed for container gardens. To avoid over-fertilizing container gardens, follow the application rate recommended on the label.

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