It’s crucial to make sure your container has good drainage. Plants will not survive in standing water. If there are no holes in the bottom of the container, drill a few so that water drains out easily.
Next use a good potting mix with fertilizer or compost to get your plants off to a good start.
Think beyond annuals and add bulbs and perennials to your containers. Save money by digging some up from your garden and potting them. Try to combine plants with large leaves and plants with grassy leaves for a good contrast. Add small plants around the edges to fill in the gaps and drape over the sides of your containers.
In spring, combine spring flowering bulbs such as miniature daffodils, crocus, iris or hyacinths with pansies and primroses. These all come in the traditional spring colors of yellow and purple. You can also try Lenten Roses, aka Hellebores, with spring flowering bulbs. Another classic combination is pink tulips with blue Forget-me-nots.
For the late spring and summer, try Alchemilla mollis or Lady's mantle with its large, lime-green leaves and yellow flowers, with small Nemesia or lobelia peeking out around the edges. Or add Sweet Williams, blue and pink Cornflowers and Canterbury bells.
Another idea would be to plant Nemesia with Alchemilla mollis and pinks and dot a few violas at the front. If you want to add height, use willow branches to make a support and train sweet peas, morning glory, or roses up them. Add some short plants around the bottom to fill in. Feverfew looks good grown in smaller pots but grouped together for massed effect. The Swan River daisies (Brachyscome) look good with pot marigolds. In autumn, remove any flowers that are starting to slump, and add some chrysanthemums or asters.
Containers look best in groups of three or more. Experiment with different sizes of containers for maximum interest. Place the bigger ones in the back and make sure you can reach them for watering and deadheading.
Most containers should be watered daily until the water runs through the drainage holes. Deadhead the flowers as they fade to encourage more blooms.
Follow these tips and you’ll have containers that will be the envy of the neighborhood.
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