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The Container Garden made Easy

| Photography

| Photography Tanek Hood

Begin with a clean pot that provides good drainage. Choosing your container is the fun part—there are so many beautiful vessels from all around the world! You can also get creative: use an old basket, boot, or tin.

To enhance drainage, place rocks, shards from clay pots, or even small plastic pots turned upside down at the bottom of your vessel. Next, use a lightweight soil mix with a slow-release fertilizer to cut the feeding frequency. If water or wind presents an issue, other products help retain water—the most important part of container gardening. Most container gardens will need watering at least once a day in the heat of summer. When you water, make sure you soak your plants. It is hard for a plant to rebound after it has dried out. If that does happen, remember, you can always replace just that particular part of the container, and make it look beautiful again.

Wind is always an issue when you are by the shore; if possible, choose a spot with some protection.

When searching for your plants, also keep the sun requirements in mind. Favorites for a sunny location would include petunias, million bells, lantana, scaveola, and portulacca, to name a few. Shady plants include coleus, non-stop begonias, caladiums, lobelia, and impatiens.

Selecting plants that are in proportion to your pot makes a huge difference. A tall pot will look better with a grass or upright tropical, such as hibiscus or mandevilla, or with a palm in the center surrounded by colorful annuals. Low-growing plants such as sedums and succulents look fabulous in a squat, wide pot. Look for plants that will cascade over the side, such as potato vine, to give your container the finishing touch. Making sure to plant your flowers to the right height is key to success. Cover your plants just at the crown, and leave a few inches so the water does not overflow.

A visit to a garden center offers great inspiration in designing the perfect container. Our designers at Reynolds have a wide variety of container-gardening samples presented for you. We often recommend using our hanging baskets, which are made up of established plants that grow well together, to plant right into your container; then, simply add in a few standout plants, and you will have your very own masterpiece.

Remember to include herbs and vegetables along with seasonal plants in your containers. When you are feeling sad that your summer plants are finished, start again with beautiful fall mums, cabbage, and kale. Add in a few pumpkins and gourds and your harvest container will be wonderful. In winter use fresh greens cut from your yard or purchased at a garden center, twigs, and pine cones, and your winter pots are ready.

Container gardening is easy and rewarding. You are always welcome to stop in at Reynolds, where our knowledgeable and creative staff is ready to help!

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