Category Archives: Container Gardening

Geraniums Galore – A Container Garden Delight

Geraniums Galore - A Container Garden Delight
Geraniums Galore – A Container Garden Delight

All over the country, geraniums flaunt their red and scarlet, rose, pink, and white blooms with a gay abandon that few other plants can rival. In boxes on city fire escapes and rooftops, in window boxes on suburban and country houses, in tubs and pots on terraces and patios, and in hanging baskets of the porches of summer cottages, they are beloved and cherished plants

It needs sun to bloom; it tolerates shade, where it is usually handled as a foliage plant. What it resents is too much moisture and a rich diet. Kept too wet, the leaves turn yellow; given a heavy soil, one high in nitrogen plants go to foliage and flower sparingly.

Even if you choose no other plants, you could have a varied potted garden of single and double zonal, fancy-leaved or variegated, scented-leaved, ivy and Lady or Martha Washington geraniums (also called show or fancy geraniums), not to mention a few oddities of cactus and climbing types.

The zonal geranium is characterized by dark circular markings on the rounded green leaves. Double types dominate the trade and are offered by florists in the spring for planting in gardens and window boxes.

Variegated geraniums, with leaves that are often brilliantly colored, are attractive even out of bloom. Set among green-leaved geraniums and other foliage plants, pots of the variegated plants add color and pattern.

The trailing, ivy-leaved geraniums are among the most profuse flowering when grown under favorable conditions. They dislike shade and high humidity and thrive best in climates with warm days and cool nights, as in California.

Lady Washingtonís, considered the handsomest of geraniums, are not so easy to grow. Like the ivy-leaved, they prefer cool nights and warm, sunny days, preferring shelter from wind and all-day sun.

If you are a geranium gardener, you may want to spark your pot plant collection with some cactus and climbing geraniums. They will give you bizarre and fascinating forms and flowers and are certain to arouse comment.

Geraniums flourish and look well in pots, boxes, and planters. They thrive in various soil mixtures if drainage is good. For abundant bloom, however, supply a special preparation, not high in nitrogen, or lush foliage and few blooms will result. I have success with good garden soil and a sprinkling of a 5-10-5 fertilizer and bone meal. During the growing season, plants respond to a low-nitrogen fertilizer in liquid form.

When potting, be generous with drainage material to insure free passage of water. As with any plant, always water with care, since too much or not enough can be harmful. The best rule is to water when the surface of the soil feels dry. Then soak the soil well and do not water again until plants need it. If soil is kept too wet, leaves will turn yellow; if too dry they wilt and discolor.

To maintain even plant growth, turn containers from time to time. Remove yellow leaves and faded blossoms which are especially distracting on plants at doorways or any other key spots. If rain rots and disfigures the center florets of the heads, pull them off with your fingers, leaving the unmarred outer florets and buds.

If you want plants for next spring, take two- to four-inch cuttings in August or early September. Look for mature stems (with leaves spaced close together) that break easily like a snap bean. Woody growth is hard to root and succulent tips tend to rot. Before planting spread out cuttings in a shady place for several hours so leaves will lose excess moisture.

When ready to plant, cut off the lower leaves, allowing but two or three to each cutting. Also pull off the little wings on the stem, since they are inclined to rot. Dip stem ends in hydrated lime to prevent decay and then insert about halfway, in a flat or large pot of pure sand or a mixture of sand and peat moss. With geraniums, rooting powders are hardly necessary. When cuttings develop inch-long roots, they are ready for spacing out in another flat or for separate planting in 2Ω-inch pots. Fill with a mixture of three parts sandy loam and one part peat moss or leaf mold. After planting, keep in the shade for the first few days, and bring indoors before cold weather.

When the separated cuttings have developed strong root systems, shift to 3Ω- or 4-inch pots. Use the same potting mixture as before, with bone meal added. Later as established plants begin to grow, feed periodically with a high phosphorous fertilizer, as 5-10-5 or 4-12-8.

To keep plants bushy and to encourage branching, pinch while small, starting when they are three to four inches high. Provide sunny windows, and keep turning pots to prevent lopsided growth. Water regularly, but allow soil to dry out just a little between applications

Plants may be wintered in cool cellars with little light. Remember only that the less light, the cooler the temperatures should be. This is because too much warmth and insufficient light cause lanky growth that undermines a healthy plant.

Gardeners with cellars or sheds when temperatures remain above freezing, can winter geraniums hanging upside down from the ceiling. The dead-looking sticks, set out in pots or in the garden in warm weather, will astound you when they develop into glorious flowering plants.

Copyright © 2006 Mary Hanna All Rights Reserved.

This article may be distributed freely on your website and in your ezines, as long as this entire article, copyright notice, links and the resource box are unchanged.

How to Plant a Gardening Container Or Gardening Pots In Your Container Garden

How to Plant a Gardening Container Or Gardening Pots In Your Container Garden
How to Plant a Gardening Container Or Gardening Pots In Your Container Garden

When you are ready to mix ingredients for your container garden, be sure the soil is damp and workable. To determine this, take a handful, squeeze it and allow it to drop. If water comes out, it is too wet; if it breaks apart, it is too dry. But if the lump of soil retains its shape or cracks just a little when it is dropped, it is in good condition to work into your gardening pots.

Be certain your garden containers are clean when you start. Soak used or new clay gardening pots overnight so they will not draw moisture from the soil after planting. This is a very important step when you are beginning your plants life. If the pot draws off the moisture the new plant will be deprived. Clean dirty clay pots with a stiff brush and hot, soapy water. Clean gardening pots will be much more attractive in your container garden.

Though redwood, cedar, and cypress gardening pots may be left natural, they may also be stained or painted. First clean the surfaces then apply one or two coats of stain or paint. Let dry completely before planting. Concrete, metal, plastic, fiberglass, and similar materials all need cleaning before planting your container garden.

Suiting plants to garden pots is very important in container garden design. Consider the shape of each container, its color, and texture in relation to the color of flowers and foliage, as well as the ultimate size of each plant in your container garden. Don’t choose material that is too small, and if you want a group of plants for a large container, select one tall specimen for the center to give height and scale. Donít forget that you can plant vegetables in container gardens; try to incorporate them into your container garden design. And, for a tasty addition to your container garden plant herbs in garden containers or even hanging baskets, your recipes will become marvelous.

In low pots or bulb pans and in tubs, use low-growing plants like fancy-leaved caladiums, petunias, verbenas, Iantanas, ageratum and wax begonias. Hyacinths, tulips, and daffodils are also appropriate. In tall containers, plant specimens of geraniums, heliotropes, coleus, balsam, dwarf dahlias, fuchsias, and marguerites. Reserve the larger container pots and boxes for trees and shrubs or roses.

As a gardener, keep in mind the form of plants, particularly the evergreens which stand out boldly in winter. Rounded types, as clipped yews or globe arborvitae, look well in angular containers. Hollies or yews, sheared into squares or pyramids, look better in circular tubs. This contrast of the curving with the straight always gives interest to the garden and those guests that visit your container garden.

The first step in potting for a gardener is to place sufficient drainage material in the bottom of each garden container, allowing the water to pass through freely, but not so much as to interfere with the roots. An inch or two of flower pot pieces (rounded sides up), or chips of brick or flagstone, pebbles, gravel, small stones, or cinders can be used. The larger the container, the larger the pieces should be. Some gardeners spread a piece of coarse burlap and a layer of sand over large drainage pieces. A layer of Vermiculite or sphagnum moss over the drainage material is also fine to keep soil from clogging holes. If the holes clog the roots will drown in their gardening pot.

Above the drainage, spread a layer of soil, the amount depending on the size of the container and the root ball of the plant. Place the plant in position so that the surface of the soil will be an inch (more for big plants) below the rim of the container. This space is needed to hold water.

Fill soil in around the roots, firming gently with your fingers or a piece of wood so as to eliminate air pockets. Add more soil and firm, but do not make the soil too tight for fine feeding roots must be able to penetrate it with ease.

Finally, water your garden container plants well, let them drain. If water passes through the gardening pot very rapidly, press soil again to firm it; that means there are air pockets. If the soil holds water too long, loosen it a little.

Place the container garden in a sheltered spot out of sun and wind for the first week while they make new root growth and adjust to new conditions. This also helps to avoid shock. Once your plants have settled in, you ready to arrange your container garden according to your original container gardening design.

Happy Container Gardening!

Copyright © 2006 Mary Hanna All Rights Reserved.

This article may be distributed freely on your website and in your ezines, as long as this entire article, copyright notice, links and the resource box are unchanged.

Mary Hanna is an aspiring herbalist who lives in Central Florida. This allows her to grow gardens inside and outside year round. She has published other articles on Cruising, Gardening and Cooking. Visit her websites at http://www.GardeningHerb.com http://www.CruiseTravelDirectory.com and http://www.ContainerGardeningSecrets.com or contact her at mary@webmarketingreviews

Getting Started in Container Gardening

Getting Started in Container Gardening
Getting Started in Container Gardening

Sometimes, the urge to garden might be stomped out by other circumstances, such as living arrangements or space constrictions. If you live in an apartment, you can’t really operate a full garden, just because you don’t really have a yard! I think that one of the best solutions for this problem is to grow plants in containers. You can hang these, or just
arrange them on your patio, window sill or balcony. Just a few baskets or pots, and your whole living area will look much classier and nicer.

A benefit of growing in small containers is the fact that you can move them around to suit your needs. If you rearrange your furniture and you think that it would look nicer if it was in the other area, it’s no trouble at all to scoot it over. As long as the lighting is about the same, your plant shouldn’t mind the transition at all. Another benefit of the containers versatility is the fact that you can adapt it to simulate any environment depending on the type of soil you fill it with and where you place it.

If you are trying to make an aesthetically pleasing arrangement of containers and plants, you can adjust the containers to be at different heights by hanging them from the ceiling or placing them on supports. Hanging them will allow you to make the most of the space you have. This is called vertical gardening. If you pull it off right, you can make a very pleasing arrangement of plants while conserving your valuable space. If you live in an apartment, you know how important it is to conserve space! One method of vertical gardening is the use of a wooden step ladder. If painted correctly, you can arrange all the plants on it in a beautiful, stylish cascade of color.

The maintenance of container plants takes slightly more time, since you have to water more often and go around to each individual container. However, the square footage for container plants is much less than that of an actual garden, so the time spent on maintenance and watering is more balanced. It is important that you don’t over-water your container plants, as this can be just as fatal to their health as under-watering.

When choosing containers for your plants, you’ll want to buy them all at once along with some extras in case they break or you add more plants later. You don’t want them to be all the same shape and size, but definitely the same style so that the compliment each other. Plastic containers are the best and require the least amount of watering, but if you want to stick with clay or earthen pots then you should line the inside with plastic. This helps it retain water more, as the clay will soak up water.

Another thing to remember when buying pots is the fact that the size of the pot will ultimately constrict the size of the plant. Make a careful choice of pots according to what you wish to grow in each one. If you search for the plant you chose on the internet, you should be able to find specifications as to how much root space it should be given. This can even be an advantage for you if you choose a plant that can grow very large. If you only have a limited amount of space for it, you can constrict it by choosing a pot that isn’t large enough to support huge amounts of growth.

If the benefits of container gardening sound appealing to you, then you should start planning out your container garden today. If you write a list of all the plants you desire to have, you can do the necessary research to find out what size and shape of pots you should get. After that, it’s just a matter of arranging them in a way that makes your home look the nicest

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