While most people appreciate the beauty that plants bring to a home, not everyone may have space or the patience to become a master gardener but almost anyone can appreciate the joy of container gardening.
Top Tips for Container Gardening
Once you get the hang of it, you might find yourself becoming a little obsessed with adding more and more pots to your collection.
Choose Your Container
– Be aware that your container plants will need to be re-potted every other year, allowing for a gradual increase in pot size to accommodate root growth. The minute you notice roots escaping the drainage holes, it is time to re-pot.
– Choose containers with good drainage holes.
– Keep in mind that a tall, narrow pot will be less stable than a wide, low one.
– Avoid narrow-necked pots as it can be difficult to get the plant out to re-pot it once the roots spread.
– Don’t have much to spend? Choose containers from second-hand stores or create your own from recycled items.
– Have a formal entrance? Choose large containers in classic shapes.
– Healthy plants should be transplanted from nursery pots to containers that are a few centimetres wider and deeper.
– Any pots you want to re-use must be cleaned and sanitised first.
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Good Drainage is Paramount
When container gardening, drainage can mean the difference between life and death for your plants. If the soil becomes too wet, the roots of the plants can rot, causing the plant to die. Many bought containers simply don’t have enough drainage to begin with, so it is paramount that you increase the drainage capacity by drilling, punching or carving out bigger holes in your containers. More holes are always better than fewer holes.
It’s important to note that adding gravel, pot shards or stones to the bottom of your container is not considered a drainage solution unless you are willing to be the world’s most attentive gardener and trust in your ability to apply the perfect amount of water required by each plant.
Container shrubs should be watered a couple of times a week in summer, especially on hot and windy days when they will dry out faster.
Evaluate the Light
Before you decide on any plants, you will need to know how much sunlight your containers will be exposed to. To work this out, place your containers where you want them and then time how long the sun hits them directly during the day.
Prepare the Soil
Container gardening is highly dependent on soil quality as the plants depend on it for ongoing nutrients. While potting soil is most preferable for container plants because it provides the best drainage, the soil itself doesn’t contain any nutrients.
Make your own potting soil by using fermented food waste from your Bokashi Bran system. Mix 1 composter of Bokashi Bran food waste with 5 composters of old or new potting soil. Put this all in a plastic bag or sealed container and place it in a warm spot, out of direct sunlight for about 4 weeks after which you will have created the perfect nutrient-rich potting soil for your containers.
To continue providing your plants with the nutrients they will need, the best fertiliser you can give them is Bokashi Bran tea, always making sure to use the correct ratio of bokashi tea to water. Depending on the plants you choose, contained shrubs need monthly fertilising during the growing seasons of spring and summer. Keep plants well mulched and top up the soil as needed.
The success of container gardening stems from creating gardens that will work with your lifestyle. Don’t like to water? Grow succulents or other drought-resistant plants.
Not all plants will grow well in containers. Shrubs often stay smaller in a pot than they would in a garden but are a good choice in that they have non-invasive roots, are easy to prune and generally have more moderate water needs.
Before you head to the nursery, do a little research based on what plants delight you, suit your lifestyle, will fit well into your chosen containers and will also be able to successfully thrive in your particular environment and within the parameters of available sunlight.
If you are planning on choosing a variety of plants to share the same container, make sure they will play well together, and all require the same amount of light and moisture.
Take a list of your favourite plants with you to the nursery, or even a few examples on your phone, and be sure to consult with one of the staff members who can guide you and provide alternative suggestions if necessary, considering all known factors.
Prune Your Plants
Pruning not only shapes a plant but also helps to limit and slow down root growth which is important for container gardening. Keep trimming long branches by using a slanted cut just above an outward-facing node. Always cut off any dead or dying stems and branches. Keeping only the strongest and straightest stems encourages the plant to dedicate energy to healthy growth and flowers.
Remember that there is no such thing as foolproof gardening and some plants will thrive and some will not. With a little experimentation and some experience, you should soon be on your way to enjoying the exciting, rewarding and endlessly interesting endeavour of container gardening.
Start Composting Your Food Waste with Bokashi Bran
Browse our website to find out more about how you can start a kitchen food waste recycling to compost program today to help your container garden flourish.