Growing Plants in Container Gardens

 

Growing Plants in Container Gardens is a great way to use limited space.You can enjoy a variety of flowers, even though your free time and growing space is limited. Just plant a container garden. Container gardens can vary from 10”-wide bowls, to over 3-feet wide pots. Containers can be placed on the windowsill, by the backdoor, on the balcony or patio and around the garden. You can re-create almost any type of environment and select plants for it—from sun, shade, to aquatic. You can choose containers from a great variety of colors, textures, forms and sizes. For best results, select plants for optimal performance depending on the seasons, cool-loving plants for Spring and Fall gardens, and heat-loving plants for Summer gardens. Because you are working within a limited amount of space for best results you should try to adhere to some basic design principles.

The first design principle is focus. You need to draw the eye toward the center of the garden and let the other plants complement and ‘flow’ around this center. The second design principle is balance. This can be accomplished using symmetrical or asymmetrical design. A third design principle is form. Each plant in the design has a growth habit, or form. Some plants have a strong upright habit. Others have a sprawling habit, while a third type grows as a mound.

A fourth design principle is texture. Various plants have different textured foliage. Some have linear leaves, like grasses. Others have rounded leaves, like the ornamental potato. A good design will use a variety of textures to make ‘a feast for the eye.

A fifth design principle is rhythm. Rhythm is achieved by planting same or similar-looking plants at repeated intervals. A sixth design principle is proportion. To keep plants and container in proportion and achieve a balanced appearance, the height of the plants should not exceed more than 2/3 the height of the container. Mix plants with at least three textures of foliage to make a container garden interesting. Use plenty of plants that are foliage plants, with no flowers, because foliage color, leaf shape, and texture are just as important as the flowers.

For more information on horticulture, contact Grantly Ricketts at UF/IFAS Extension in Osceola County at gricketts@ufl.edu or by phone 321-697-3000.

 

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