If you’ve ever seen our pots and container supply at Rainbow Gardens, you must know that we hold container gardening in high regard! Container gardening is one of our favorite ways to garden and today’s blog is all about why, and about giving you some extra tips to make it one of your favorites too!

6 Reasons to Try Container Gardening

Planting in containers is a great way to have a lot of flexibility in your gardens. 

  1. You can move containers around until you find the perfect sun exposure for your plants.
  2. You can garden even if you do not have access to a landscape. 
  3. You can easily change out your color palette or seasonal plants with minimal work.
  4. You can easily add additional color to your landscapes, porches, decks, etc… by choosing vibrantly-hued pots.
  5. You can grow more temperature sensitive plants because you can move plants inside to protect them. 
  6. You can create stunning displays WHEREVER you want them!



Tips for Successful Container Gardening

Potting: The general rule when you are potting a single plant from a nursery transplant pot, is to choose a container that is about twice the diameter of the nursery pot. If you have a big decorative pot that you eventually want the plant to fill out, you can temporarily use a plastic pot and drop it down in there (or invert another plastic pot to set it on if you need it higher) until it grows to where the decorative pot will be perfect for the final mature size of your plant. 

If you are making a full hanging basket, or desire an annual display that is packed with color or a filler, thriller and spiller, you won’t be following this guideline. In general, a potted display like this, you need about 5-6 plants that are around  4”, to fill up a  24” container. This is all GENERAL advice; everyone has their own preferences, and you really need to know your plants as well (mature size, root size, etc…)

If you are reusing a pot for fresh plants, take time to clean them up a bit before repotting. Rinse your used pots with a solution of 20 parts water to 1 part bleach before filling up your containers with fresh soil. 

Soil: Quality potting soil is super important when it comes to container gardening. Your plants’ roots are confined to the container space. This means they can’t go wandering out to search for extra nutrients in the soil like they could if planted in the ground. 

Offer topshelf potting soil and look at the ingredient list for things like mycorrhizal fungi, bat guano, earthworm castings, forest humus, etc… You can’t necessarily buy good potting soil on the cheap. Keep in mind, when it comes to this, you get what you pay for. Do not use garden soil in pots. 

Feeding: Mixing a dry, natural, fertilizer into the soil starts your plants on a great trajectory right off the bat. Most of these will feed plants for at least 4 weeks, but read the label to know when to reapply by working into the soil. 

Because you will be watering plants in containers more than inground plants, you will be feeding them more often too. Liquid fertilizers are great for this. You can offer new transplants some diluted water soluble fertilizer at planting for a nice boost. Annuals are especially heavy feeders, so liquid feeding every other week during the growing period makes them perform like gangbusters. When plants are in the vegetative growth (not blooming or fruiting) you can offer them a higher nitrogen water soluble fertilizer. Once they start to bud and bloom or fruit, offer them one higher in phosphorus. FoxFarm has two options that we really love, Grow Big and Big Bloom.

Watering: Your containers should have a sufficient amount of drainage holes. This is essential for the health of your plant. Don’t be lured into buying cute ceramic containers without any. It’s difficult to drill holes in the bottom without breaking them. If you really want that decorative pot, get it, but plant your plant in a plastic pot with holes and drop it in there. If you do this, always make sure you remove the plastic pot to water it and let it drain completely before putting it back in. 

Plants in pots and containers will need more water than those planted in the ground. However, you should make sure to learn how to really test for moisture in your plant to know if it truly needs watering or not. The top of potting soil can often look dry when just an inch or so below the soil may actually be moist. See watering tips here. 


Lastly, the main thing I want to share with you is the sheer amount of things you can grow in containers. The list is practically endless. We love planting citrus in containers. (You need to protect them for the first 3-4 years, so pots are perfect.) Herb gardens, a multitude of vegetables, berry bushes, smaller fruit trees, annuals, perennials, vines, tropicals, ornamental grasses, houseplants, and the list goes on and on. I sure hope you’ve been a little inspired to come take a look at all the container options we have brought in for you at Rainbow Gardens. 

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy