Friday, February 21, 2014

Container Gardens and Color Bowls

Planting Container Gardens and Color Bowls

This year let’s start a new gardening project to renovate your landscape, patio, deck, or balcony with container gardens and color bowls. Container gardens and color bowls can be easily made by the gardener. The containers and bowls can be made of ceramic, clay, cedar, or wood, and come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes. Container gardens and color bowls are planted with a gardening theme or style such as: shade tolerant plants, sun tolerant plants, plants with bold colors, heat tolerant plants, drought tolerant plants, herb plants, vegetable plants, butterfly plants, hummingbird plants, just to name a few container garden themes; or you can have a combination gardening theme such as herbs and vegetables, butterfly and hummingbird plants. Before we start our gardening project here are a few components to take into consideration such as location, container size, and soils to use.

Location(s): To start you need to decide the location or if you are planting more than one garden or bowl locations. Depending on how much sun or shade the location receives will determine what container garden theme or style to use. 

Container Size(s): After deciding the location of your container garden you need to choose a container size because the size of the container will determine what type of theme Cedar Planteror style of garden to proceed with. For herbs and vegetables theme gardens choose a container 18 inches or larger and for color bowl theme gardens use a 12 inch bowl or larger. Hibiscus and More has a fine selection of cedar containers to renovate your landscape, patio, deck or balcony; and make an excellent choice for container gardening. Click to Order.

Soil: One secret to success with container gardening is the potting soil that you use. There are several potting soils on the market and choosing one is a matter of your gardening preferences. Some of the choices are inorganic verses organic, with moisture control or without moisture control, with timed-release fertilizer or without fertilizer. Some potting soils are especially formulated for the type of plants that you choose such as herbs and vegetables potting soil or soils that are formulated for annuals and perennials; these would make an excellent choice to use for your container garden. 

Fertilizer: Fertilizers are the vitamins or the essential elements that a plant needs. The soil, atmosphere, and water usually provide the plant with these essential nutrients; but there are times when the soil is generally nutrient deficient and in this case a fertilizer is essential. There are sixteen essential elements to plant nutrition. These elements are separated into two categories, macronutrients and micronutrients. The macronutrients are: oxygen [O], carbon [C], hydrogen [H], nitrogen [N], phosphorus [P], potassium [K], Calcium [Ca], magnesium [Mg], sulfur [S] and are required by the plant in large amounts. Oxygen, carbon and hydrogen are provided to the plant by the atmosphere and water. Nutrients required by the plant in small amounts are the micronutrients: iron [Fe], manganese [Mn], zinc [Zn], baron [B], copper [Cu], molybdenum [Mo], and chlorine [Cl]. These elements are the building blocks to plant nutrition. There are several fertilizers on the market and choosing one is a matter of your gardening preferences. Some of the choices are water soluble, granular, time-release, slow-release, organic, or inorganic. Choose a fertilizer that is formulated for the plants you have chosen. Most gardeners agree in using a combination of time-release fertilizer and a weekly or bi-weekly feeding of a water-soluble fertilizer of your choice. I highly recommend Osmocote 17-6-10 or Osmocote 18-6-12, which is a time release fertilizer that will last up to four months and the next time to feed my containers I put on the calendar.

Insecticide(s): When growing plants in containers, you may want to consider an IPM (Integrated Pest Management) approach method to control insects on your plants and using an IPM approach involves a two-step method approach, inspection of the plants, and what type of control method you are going to use. The first part would be scouting, observing, and inspecting your prized plants for insects or chew marks on the leaves. Constantly scouting and observing daily for any insect or worm that would start eating your prize plants, and when one is seen, you can simply dispose of the insect. However, sometimes these critters multiply overnight and when this happens it is advisable to spray with Safer Soap or Horticultural oil. Using Safer Soaps or Horticultural Oils on all your plants is an organic and an IPM approach to container gardening success. 

Watering: Of all the ingredients that have been mentioned for Container gardening success, water, is the most important to a successful Container gardening. The soil for your plants will need to be consistently moist at all times, but not soggy wet and the water source should be city water or treated water especially when growing herbs and vegetables in containers. This is one of the reasons of Salmonella outbreaks on produce; the herbs that were recalled received Salmonella during either the growing process or the production process. Due to all the current recalls of produce, more gardeners are starting to grow their own herbs and vegetables this year versus last year due to the recent outbreaks in store-bought produce. Just another reason to start growing your own herbs and vegetables, you supply the water, you supply the insecticide, and you know exactly what ingredients went into your herbs and vegetables. For states that are currently under water restrictions, you can water your food crops, personal food garden, or personal herb garden without penalty. Always wash all herbs and vegetables before eating or cooking, whether home grown or store-bought.

Designing the Container Garden: The retail garden centers markets some of the plants for container gardens as: spillers, thrillers, and fillers to give the gardening consumer an easier way to choose plants for their container gardens or color bowls. Spiller plants trail down the sides of the container and are consider a trailing or vine type of plant such as: English Ivy, Wave Petunia, and Sweet Potato Vine. The spillers will be planted along the edges or in the corners of your container. Thriller plants will be an upright plant or plants and will be taller than all the plants in your container garden which is placed in the center of your container. Thriller plants can be ornamental grasses, salvias, upright rosemary, snapdragons, and stock. Filler plants are just like the name describes and fill the middle of your container garden. These plants are upright in nature and will be shorter than your thriller plant. Filler plants could include the shorter salvias and snapdragons, dianthus, marigolds, zinnias just to name a few.
After choosing your spiller, thriller, and filler plants arrange the plants as how they’re going to be planted in the container or bowl. I do this on a flat surface and by doing so you get an idea of how the plants will look before they’re planted in the container.

Here are a few tips and questions the gardener needs to decide before starting their container garden or color bowl project.
·         Decide the location of the container or bowl, the location decides how much sunlight the plants will receive.
·         The sunlight will determine the type of plants you will use, sunny or shady plants.
·         Decide your container size. This will help determine how many plants to use and it is not a gardening crime to overfill your container.
·         The size of the container and the soil you choose will determine how frequently the container will need to be watered.
Cedar Planter 
Hibiscus and More has several cedar planters for your container garden. Click Here To View The Selection.

Any questions you have about your container garden or color bowl can be answered at the Ask the Horticulturist link:

Let Cheryl at Hibiscus And More Plant Your Container Garden For You This Spring. Now Serving the Marietta, GA Area. You May Contact Her Directly by email at

Spring is just around the corner...with, or without all of this snow!   It's the perfect time to add a bit of early color out there in your Coe Steinwart Cones in Pinkgarden with one of Coë Steinwart's bright and colorful garden flags! Click to Order.

All photographs and digital images are ©Cheryl Ann Meola 2014. All Rights Reserved. All photographs and digital images displayed in this article are for viewing purposes only and cannot be duplicated. ©Cheryl Ann Meola 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment