Containing the Situation

Container gardening is the practice of growing plants in some sort of receptacle rather than planting them in the ground. As long as you provide a healthy growing media and the proper amount of light, water and nutrients you can be a successful container gardener. And you hardly ever have to weed container plants.

An added perk: Anyone, from an adult to a child, can have fun container gardening and it is especially well-suited for anyone with physical limitations that may preclude yard work.

Another joy of container gardening is that almost anything can become a “container.” A terra cotta or plastic pot, a bucket or a box and, yes, even an old tire or toilet bowl (though your neighbors may take exception to some of those choices)—as long as a container is nontoxic, holds enough soil for your plant to thrive and allows water to drain away, you can plant in it.

What’s more, you can grow everything from herbs and vegetables to annuals and perennials to shrubs and trees in containers.

For example, a pot full of narcissus, such as the ‘Grand Primo’ and ‘Golden Dawn’ from the Southern Living Plant Collection, can be forced into an early bloom and bring a touch of spring color and fragrance into the house during the winter. All three Early Bird™ Crapemyrtles are stunning in pots as well.

A lovely combination can be any of the collection of Loropetalums, such as Purple Pixie® or Red Diamond™, planted alongside Little Bonnie™ Dwarf Spiraea and Southgate® Splendor™ Rhododendron.

'Black Ripple' Colocasia, Blush Pink™ Nandina and Rosalinda® Indian Hawthorne all can be used in containers for a diverse mix of purple-to-black and pink foliage colors. Looking for something green to add to your container landscape? Try Mojo® Pittosporum, Yewtopia® Plum Yew and 'Soft Caress' Mahonia.

Keep in mind that container plants usually need more frequent watering than those in the landscape, especially if they are planted in clay pots. Also, container plants that are left outside all winter may need protection from hard freezes or, if you’re planting something in a large pot that you expect to move inside for the winter, set it on a wheeled base of some sort for easier moving.

The list of possibilities for beautiful, even fanciful container gardens is unlimited…use potted plants as living flower arrangements, accent plants in garden beds, on porches and patios or to add a lushness to any interior space.

No need to contain yourself. Just have fun!