Container gardens could be stressful for some plants, but it’s one of the best ways to get a good healthful garden irrespective of your space or experience.
You don’t need years of experience to start a container garden. The six tips we’ll share in this article will you give you a step-by-step guide to get you started.
A container garden will leave you with an unlimited supply of fresh flowers and simple greenery, without the hard-work of a full-scale garden.
So how do you start your container garden?
1. Choose your pot(s)
In the absence of plantable land, pots are the next best thing. If yours is a cramped city house or flat in an urban setting like Lagos, then pots are your only option.
When choosing your pots, the material of the pot isn’t really important. They can be ornamental or regular pots. Choose what works best for your aesthetic leaning, convenience, budget and anything else you factor in when making household choices.
What is very important, though, is the drainage. Drainage is the allowance in your pot that lets excess water out. The drainage is possibly the single most important factor if your container garden will thrive or die. Plants need just the right amount of water. Too much water in the soil and you risk your plant getting root rot. Too little water and you risk your plant drying out.
But whatever pot you get, you can add more holes, if you want, by drilling or hammering them in. It is in rare cases that pot holes are too big, but when they are, you can close a few of them up using putty.
To stop the mess the excess water will create on the floor, you can place a water collector under the pot. This way, your floor stays dry and your plant is happy.
2. Factor in sun and air draught when arranging your pots
Most plants that are suited for a container garden can survive in shady spots in the house. Often time, direct sunlight can dry them out. Same thing happens when they are placed at locations with sudden air draughts – like by the air conditioner vents or doors.
When situating your pots. keep them away from parts of your house with direct sunlight and sudden air draughts.
3. Get your soil
There is only one rule when choosing your soil – the soil needs need to be fast-draining but moisture retentive.
If you have a neighbour with a vegetable garden or a patch of land where plants are growing, ask them for some of the soil.
If you need help getting the perfect potting soil, give us a call.
When you’ve got your soil, fill your pots with soil leaving a headspace between the top of the soil and the top of the pot. Don’t pat your soil down, because that will block air space within the soil that your plant needs to grow.
4. Choose your plants:
Most neighbourhoods in Lagos have a horticulturist with plant nurseries. Visit one of those to pick up plants you’d like to plant in your container garden.
Flowering plants like the Bougainvillea or Palms like Areca Palm and Golden Palm are great container plants. Ferns are also great container plants. So also are edibles like basil, mint, tomatoes, parsley, pepper, lemongrass and Aloe Vera. Ask for recommendations at your neighbourhood horticulturist or give us a call.
When you’ve got your plants, be very careful when transferring them from their nursery pots into your pots.
Don’t just grab the plant by the stem and pull out. That would often kill the plant before they get into the container. Instead, try pushing the plant from out of their holder from the bottom. Alternatively, you can cut around the edges of the holder with a knife.
When the plant is free of its holder, rough up the roots by rubbing before placing them into your container. This will ensure that the root grows freely and not in a circle.
5. Get creative with your garden
One of the many advantages of a container garden is that you are absolutely free to move your plants around. You can arrange them in whatever manner suits you, such that your container garden is not just a garden, but an artwork.
An extension of this is in the selection your containers. You can use pretty much anything that holds water to house a patch of your container garden.
Use old wellies like this one at our office (photo) or old shoe organizers. You can use old containers, teacups and mugs.
With your plants in the containers and thriving, you are free to make them into anything you want. So go ahead and be creative.
6. Care for your garden
Like the outdoor garden, your container garden needs love and attention. Keep it watered, but not overwatered. Keep the weed away. And pick out insects and slugs. Learn more about how to maintain a garden here.
A container garden is easy to plant. If you can make coffee, you can make one. All you have to know are all we’ve outlined in this article.
- Find pots that meet your aesthetic demands
- Get a fast-draining and moisture-retentive soil
- Keep your garden away from direct sunlight and draughts
- Choose your plants and transfer them carefully
- Get creative with your garden
- Care for your garden
Need help starting your container garden? Let’s help you get started. We design, plant gardens and teach you how to take care of your garden. Contact us and let’s get started.