Container Gardening: Choosing The Best Springtime Plants

Container Gardening is a hot gardening trend and creating a unique showpiece is a confidence builder. Plant these in spring but expect best bloom times in summer.

Whenever you plan to container garden it is best to have the location in mind first. If you want two containers to flank your front door, your best bet is to go with showy and big. Big as in a pot 18-24" inches wide across the widest part of the pot. This size pot will allow for maximum creativity and leave enough space for the plant's roots to grow.

Now you have location and pot size covered it's time to go shopping. You can always get ideas from books, magazines, and the Web but you still need to check out what your local nursery has available. Go to a reputable nursery with a nice variety of offerings and healthy plants. Because different plants require different amounts of light/shade you'll need to determine whether these will be by the front door under a covered porch or in the blazing sun for a minimum of six hours per day. Determine your planting zone, all gardening books can supply you with this information and your nursery will know this information. The zone will also guide you as to what plant's can survive your climate and local conditions.

Your nursery guide has led you over to the springtime annuals and here¡¦s what you need to buy to create an eye-catching container that will be interesting for springtime. Once the cooler weather has passed and summer approaches, you may want to swap out some of the plantings for more heat resistant plants.

Here's what you'll need to make three Gorgeous Spring Containers:

18-24" wide pot, at least 16" deep

1 bag of potting soil (I like the Miracle Gro brand)

1 container of Osmocote (slow feed fertilizer)

4 English Ivy plants (or other plain ivy will work too

6 assorted pansies (that come in a six-cell pack)

1 purple fountain grass

Mix the potting soil with a teaspoon of Osmocote beads. Mix close to the top so the roots of the plants will benefit immediately. Tap out the purple fountain grass and place in center of pot. Next come the pansies, alternate the colors around the fountain grass. Keep the ivy plants around the edge so that when they grow they spill over the pot.

Pack soil around the plants and water deeply.

* Come summer replace the pansies with petunias.

Option #2:

18-24" wide pot, at least 16" deep

4 Bacopa plants (White flowers)

3 profusion cherry zinnias (deep pink)

2 white Angelonia (white orchid-like flowers)

The angelonia is placed in the middle, with the zinnias around the Angelonia, and the bacopa trailing over the edge of the pot.

Option #3:

18-24" Wide Pot, at least 16" deep

3 Dusty Miller plants (Silvery Foliage)

3 Helichrysum trailing plants (silvery foliage)

4 Larkspur plants (Blue) when it gets hotter, you can replace the Larkspur with Angelonia (Purple)

The Larkspur is placed in the middle, with the Dusty Miller alternating in the middle, followed by the Helichrysum around the edge.

These options beat the solo container of geraniums and they¡¦ll inspire you to try something new and different. You can also try digging up a piece of a favorite perennial to cultivate in a container. If the right one is chosen, like a Black-eyed Susan, your color impact will last two months or more. You can replant the Black-eyed Susan until next year when the season is over, too.

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