Outdoor Container Planting

Outdoor planters create interest, focal points and ambiance in your outdoor space. They can also increase your available gardening space. When a planter’s placement is well thought out, it can add a natural decorative touch to what may be mostly utilitarian areas of your home, such as along walkways or entranceways. If used on a back patio, for example, you can create a theme or add to an existing one by using planters that match colors or textures from patio furniture and other decorative items. Choosing the right plants to go with your décor and other patio features can create a custom, backyard oasis.

Container gardening allows for flexibility in what you plant, where you plant it, and when you do so. Containers can be easy to move, giving you the advantage of starting seasonal plants indoors for later movement outdoors, as well as the ability to rearrange your design for special events, or even everyday changes. Container planting also allows you to change up your landscape without having to plant and then later remove plants from the soil. Planting in containers also lets you use plants in your outdoor décor that may be invasive to other plants in your soil. A planter can contain an invasive species so that it doesn’t crowd out or otherwise damage other plantings in your garden.

There are many plants that are suitable for container growing. Bulb plants, annuals, perennials and even small trees and shrubs can be planted, and thrive, in a container.

Here are a few of each:

  • Bulbs – Flowers such as daffodils and tulips are good choices for container planting. They pop up year after year in the spring and require little maintenance as long as they get the water they need, outside of the occasional fertilization. Growing in a container protects them from other potential invasive species. Mix flowers that are compatible so their colors work together to complement and contrast each other. Flower arrangements work almost anywhere you place your containers, whether they are window planters or larger containers that give a small garden effect.
  • Perennials – Perennials are plants that live for at least a couple of years and come back year after year from their roots according to their specific bloom cycles. A drawback is they don’t all bloom for an entire season. Plant perennials that bloom at different times of the year in the same container for full coverage from spring until fall. You can plant perennials with annuals for seasonal coverage.
  • Annuals – Annuals grow for a season then their seeds restart new plants again the following year. The advantage of using an annual plant compared to a perennial is that they bloom for the entire season.
  • Trees and shrubs – Small species of trees and shrubs can thrive in containers. Larger species’ root systems can easily outgrow a container, so be sure you choose an appropriately sized plant for your container.

Note: There are species of plants that work best in containers and certain species that thrive better in specific regions, so visit your local nursery to buy plants and to get help if you are unsure which plants might be best suited for container planting in your area. Nurseries will also have plants prepared for taking home, with their root balls wrapped in a layer of burlap to keep them safe and ready for planting.

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