Container gardening has grown rapidly in recent years and an increasing number of compact plant varieties intended to succeed in small spaces are readily available. Here we break down some of the reasons why so many people prefer container gardening and how to make the most of your potted arrangements.

What are the Benefits of Container Gardening?

By creating mixed plantings, herb gardens, or small seasonal arrangements in containers, gardeners have a lot more flexibility with the location, soil, food, and water they give to their plants. Everything from vegetables to annuals has a preference as to their nutrients, and separate containers allow you to customize this easily. You can also move containers easily around your indoor/outdoor space either to suit your taste or to allow for optimal sunlight.

What Soil Should I use for Potted Plants?

Start with a high-quality potting soil and fill your container with soil, leaving some room at the top of the container.   Some gardeners place material in the bottom of the planter when planting herbs, vegetables, annuals or perennials—plants with shallow root systems.  Adding “packing peanuts” can reduce the weight of very large containers.

With pots, you may be able to improve a less-than-sunny location.   If your containers do not have wheels, purchase a plant caddy (available in various sizes) to go under large pots, moving them into the sun in the morning and then moving again in the afternoon if needed.

How Should I Fertilize Potted Plants?

Feeding your container-grown garden is essential for success.  The easiest way to provide nutrients to your plants is to add a slow release fertilizer when planting.  Agriform® or Osmocote® fertilizers will provide the needed nutrition throughout the growing season.  Read the directions on your fertilizer package for specific application instructions.

How Can I Keep Potted Plants Watered?

A container gardener’s biggest challenge is watering.   Keep that in mind that soil dries out quicker in pots than in the ground.  “Self-watering" containers have reservoirs beneath the soil topped with a grid through which the roots can reach down to the water. You won't have to water as often, but you must keep water in that reservoir—and in the summer heat, you may need to fill daily.   A gardening aid for water retention is Moisture Mizer®   A teaspoon of this polymer placed under the root ball when planting will absorb and hold moisture for your plants when the weather gets hot and dry.  Mulch after planting to help retain moisture.

What Products can I Find for Container Gardening at Betty's?

Betty’s Azalea Ranch carries Earthbox® Growing Systems and Starter Kits for your container gardening needs.  In addition, we have an extensive inventory of large, colorful pots and/or containers for your project.  Containers should always have drainage holes in the bottom.