Creative Container Gardening in the City


Some of the most creative people live in large cities, but may think they do not have much room to grow colorful, creative gardens. Fortunately, even a small patio, porch or balcony can provide enough room for containers full of healthful veggies and beautiful ornamentals. Best of all for creative types, plants can be grown in almost any type of container, allowing for creative expression and inspiration.

Create Your Containers

How would you define your style: cute, glamorous, earthy, ethnic, quirky, sporty, modern, alternative? Almost anything can be used as a container. Take a tour around your home to collect an inventory of items that can be transformed into containers. Anything from a high heel to a baby stroller can be transformed into a container. Look for tins, cans, crates, old bowls and cups, baskets, colanders, kid’s toys, old furniture and drawers, coolers, reusable grocery bags, wagons, old musical instruments or anything else you can find that fits your style and may support your plants.

When choosing your containers, avoid those with narrow openings and consider the size, material and drainage that it will provide. Plants can be grown in any size container but will provide less room for nutrient rich soil and root growth, resulting in less water and nutrient retention. Plants with extensive root systems will also require larger containers. Containers made with cheap plastic, terracotta and clay may dry out quickly, while containers made with more organic materials such as wooden barrels or crates are susceptible to rot. Most importantly, make sure your container has adequate drainage. Drill holes in containers without drainage and line containers with too many holes with plastic screening or plastic bags, cutting holes in the bottom.

Add Life to Your Containers

Almost any plant will grow in containers. Consider space, watering and sunlight requirements in choosing plants for your container garden. Many vegetables grow well in containers, the easiest being lettuce and almost any herb will flourish. Make sure to use containers that will not leach poison into the soil when growing edibles. Succulents are perfect for smaller containers because they require little care and fit well into small areas. Most annuals and perennials will also do well in large to medium-sized containers, but larger shrubs and trees may have a tough time. If you are using a container made out of a material meant to last, consider planting perennials in these. If planting different species in a single container make sure they require the same soil, watering and lighting amounts.

Caring for Your Container Garden

Use a good potting mix but pay attention to your specific plants’ needs. Does it require extra drainage, acidity, etc.? Pay attention to the watering requirements of your plants as well as the watering requirements of plants in containers that cannot retain or wick water. Water often, especially during hot or dry weather. As you water, nutrients will be washed away from the container. Be sure to fertilize often with a good organic fertilizer such as Grower's Secret 521 fish emulsion fertilizer. Frequent fertilizing with a liquid fertilizer such as Grower's Secret 521 is especially important with heavy feeders such as flowering annuals.

Let your creative juices flow. Paint, craft, build and utilize containers to express your style and creativity, while livening up your living space. 

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