Adventures In Pot Gardening

Have you ever, just before a summer party, wondered what you could do to dress up your terrace, porch, or front entrance with a few plants?

With a little forethought, you can have enough potted plants on hand for such purposes, and this is the time to start or buy them for use this summer.

Pot GardeningPin

The Values Of Various Potted Plants

Providing Structural Beauty

Plants in pots have a decided structural beauty.

Petunias, lantanas, fuchsias, begonias, or indoor plants, like gardenias, camellias, or oleanders, growing in the garden appear pretty differently when grown in pots.

Adding Character

No matter how small or large, every garden should have a few to add character at certain points near the house or in focal positions throughout the garden picture.

Potted plants are particularly desirable near the house—or porches or terraces—where they can be enjoyed at close range.

Offering Outlets

Pot gardening also offers outlets for your house plants.

The various foliage plants, like rubber plants, large philodendrons, schefflera, orange or lemon trees, or alligator pear, can be arranged with geraniums, heliotrope, or fancy-leaved caladiums to create pleasing pictures.

Providing Cheerful Pops of Colors

For cheerful colors, what could be better than annuals?

Pink and purple petunias, ivy-leaved geraniums that hang, annual phlox, verbenas, or ageratum can all be bright and colorful.

You can put in a few evergreens if you have a terrace or picnic area with plant boxes.

Use some of the larger annuals of bushy habits like flowering tobacco or snapdragons for color.

And where you have shade, what could be more pleasing than tuberous begonias, fuchsias, patience (Impatiens sultan), Madagascar periwinkle (Vinca rosea), and English ivy or tradescantia.

Ease Of Movement

Aside from the structural value of plants in pots, they have another desirable quality— that is, they can be moved about. Thus you can rearrange them every time you have a party.

Better still, you can discard those that are sickly or straggly and bring in fresh ones.

For example, pansies can be replaced with annuals that will flower later in the season.

Tips To Remember For Pot Gardening

Best Times To Start Pot Gardening

Pot gardening can be started or expanded any time you wish.

You can buy annuals already in flower, while seeds sown now of quick-growing kinds will give flowers in a few short weeks. These includes:

The idea is to grow them in out-of-way places and bring them in as needed.

You can also take cuttings of house plants that grow quickly and easily, like coleus, begonias, or geraniums.

Some can be taken early in the spring, while others can be made now for use later in the summer.

Ideal Pots To Use

What about types of pots?

The term itself, loosely used, refers to any container that will hold soil for growing plants.

Yet, pots should be attractive, and much of the fun is in building a collection to suit your taste and needs.

The traditional clay pots are always good. Wooden tubs or boxes are appropriate, but there are containers made of cement, iron, and other materials.

It is challenging to see what you can do with old kitchen utensils or other things you can dig up in attics or cellars.

Those who like to go rummaging in antique shops can find amusing kinds.

However, remember to shun anything gaudy or cheap-looking since it detracts from the plants.

Using Great Soil And Fertilizer

When growing pot plants, whether house plants, perennials, annuals, or even shrubs, remember the importance of good, fertile soil and proper drainage.

Humus is needed to permit an easy root run, allow air to get to the roots, and aid the soil’s drainage and water holding capacity.

An all-around soil mixture you might use can consist of two parts good garden loam, one part leafmold or peat moss, and one part sand.

Add one pint of complete fertilizer to each bushel of the mixture and two quarts of dried or rotted manure.

In addition, feed plants with a liquid fertilizer every week or so, particularly when they are growing or flowering actively.

Proper Way Of Planting Potted Plants

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  • Before planting, wash and clean the containers thoroughly, ensuring that each one has at least one drainage hole.
  • Cover the hole (or holes) with a piece of a broken flower pot with the concave side downward, and then put in a layer of broken flower pots, chips, or cinders.
  • Then place a layer of sphagnum moss or flaky leaf mold on top to prevent the fine soil from washing through and clogging the drainage openings.
  • After the plant is put in place, place soil around it, pressing it firmly to eliminate air pockets.

Remember to leave enough space for watering. This point cannot be stressed enough. 

We are all guilty of filling the pot to the rim and how annoying it is when watering to watch the precious water roll off down the side of the container.

Besides, plants do not get a thorough soaking this way, and they will require plenty of water in hot weather.

How often should you water?

It all depends on several factors, such as:

  • Size of pots
  • Kinds of plants
  • Percentage of sun they receive
  • The texture of the soil
  • The amount of rainfall

Keeping them moist but not wet is perhaps the best answer.

You might touch the top of the soil with your fingers to test for moisture, but with experience, every gardener learns to know when his plants are thirsty.

To let plants dry out in hot weather is harmful. When it is scorching, potted plants require water at least once a day, although in some cases, a second or a third watering will be needed.

As long as drainage is good, there should be nothing to worry about.

One point to remember is not to be deceived by rain. Only the heaviest all-day rains will soak the plants thoroughly.

This is particularly true of window boxes under eaves, pots near the house, or large trees.

It may be raining, but not enough to water your potted plants. So get in the habit of following a routine.