Today, more gardeners are utilizing gardening in containers.
One of the reasons is having a small outdoor space like a balcony or small patio or just to use a spot of color in a landscape. Other reasons can be lack of sun or shade or poor soil conditions.
I have lived in my home for 34 years. We started with a beautiful oak tree under which I planted sun loving annual plants. As the years went by the tree grew and its lovely branches provided much needed shade during the hot summers in Florida and the tree roots grew and spread to eliminate any plantings under the tree.
Enter gardening in containers.
Why use containers?
- It is possible to move the container to get the optimum sun and/or shade for the plants in the container. Not only can you do this on a daily or weekly basis, but you can utilize it on a seasonal basis. Sunny and shady areas do move throughout the day throughout the year.
- If you have an area of established landscape shrubs that are that traditional shade of lush green, add a planter or two of brightly colored flowers to the area to add that colorful area of interest. Add containers of plants to the landscape without digging out the established shrubs and dirt to make an in-ground garden.
- If you have poor soil conditions you may want to just garden in containers rather than doing the time consuming task of improving the soil. Soil for containers can be purchased ready mixed or the gardener can make their own special soil mixtures for various types of plants.
Is container gardening just for flowers?
- Plant vegetables in containers. You can have a great tasting tomato plant on your balcony or patio. During the cooler months plant a salad garden for fresh greens through the winter and early spring.
- Shrubs and even trees can be planted in containers. The containers can be placed anywhere to obtain optimum growing conditions or add height and interest to a garden area. Try to match the mature size of the plant to the size of the container.
What are the requirements for the container?
- Containers come in many styles and materials. Selection of the style and material is important. Do not just stop with one! Groupings of containers create impressive displays. However, do not use a mis-matched assortment of containers and plants. Be sure to unify groupings.
Next month we will focus on container styles, the various available container materials, and the selection of soil for the container.
For more information see https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/EP326
Written by Annette Stafford, UF/IFAS Extension Clay County Master Gardener Volunteer