Murdoch's Guide to Container Planting
A container garden is a great way to grow vegetables and flowers in small places or anywhere you want to add a little personal flair and beauty to an outdoor space. Following these basic steps will help you get incredible results!
Pick the Location
You can start a container garden just about anywhere a selected spot has enough sunshine, has access to water, and is protected from pets and wildlife. Observe the chosen site to see how long it stays in the sun. Remember, shade-loving plants can handle the morning sun, but they will burn if exposed to the hot afternoon sun. Sun plants, of course, will need plenty of sunshine.
Choose your Plants
You can select all vegetables or flowers, or combine them to create an ornamental vegetable container. It’s your choice! Try to pick vegetables you like to eat and your favorite annual and perennial flowers. Certain plants can thrive in containers and others do not fare as well. A little research can help you decide.
Select the Perfect Container
The sky’s the limit when considering container options. Wash tubs, watering cans, plastic pots, hanging baskets, and terra cotta pots can all work. The container will need to be large enough to accommodate your plants. The seed packets or labels will let you know the height and width of the plants when mature. The container also needs to have adequate drainage through the bottom. Drill or poke holes as needed to provide drainage to keep plant roots healthy.
Soil is the most important foundation to ensure healthy plants. Pick quality soil for your plants by reviewing the ingredients, not the title. Consider using soils that contain live microbes and quality soil amendments. If unsure of what these include, ask a Murdoch’s plant professional.
Regular and thorough watering is important, but don’t overdo it. Too much watering can cause root rot, which can kill the plant. A moisture meter is a great way to control watering. Technique is also important. Avoid spraying the leaves. Water the soil near the roots, where water is absorbed. The easiest and most efficient way to water is with a hose and watering wand.
Plants need food, too! Many soils contain fertilizer but need more food to maximize the plant's potential. In fact, many soil fertilizers die after a couple of waterings. Consider using a slow-release fertilizer after planting to ensure that plants get fed a small amount at each watering. Using a liquid fertilizer will also maximize the plant's performance. Be careful not to overfeed the plants, as this can burn them. If this happens, feed them with clear water for several days, following it up with continued feeding.
Care for your Garden
A successful container garden requires care beyond soil, fertilizer, and water. First, pull weeds that sprout, watch for insects, and remove dead blossoms. Cutting off the blossoms is called deadheading, which will produce more blooms to replace the dead flower. The easiest way to deadhead is to use a pruner to remove the entire stem that connects the flower to the main stem.
Be sure to ask any questions that might arise with your container plants. Many diseases and bugs can affect your plant's health. A Murdoch’s plant professional is more than happy to help determine the problem or find a solution for you. Happy planting!
Available at Murdoch's
Murdoch's Guide To Grass Seeding
Mid-August through early October is the best time to seed a lawn...
Plants & Trees
Murdoch's Guide To Tree Planting
Take a step-by-step approach to guide you through the tree planting process...
Plants & Trees
Murdoch's Guide To Weed Control
We can’t control the weather or a plant’s readiness to absorb the chemical, but we can help you accurately...