Spring is in the air! Are you ready to do some planting? Today we walked into the Grass Pad, a Kansas City nursery chain, to get some inspiration and find someone who could help us learn how to plant the perfect containers!
We found Richard, the store manager. Listen to our interview with him here and then read on to learn his 7 tips to planting perfect summer containers.
1. Determine how many sides from which the container will be viewed.
Will your container be hanging? Up against a wall? In the center of the patio? Can you see two sides or 360 degrees? This will help you determine how to arrange your plants.
These were just a few of the awesome containers available at the Grass Pad.
2. Every container should include three types of plants.
The Thriller – This is the tallest focal point, usually in the center of the container. Thriller specimen items could include fountain grass, the spike, or even tropical items like the banana tree, palm tree or hibiscus with a braided stem.
The Filler – If you think of your plant like a ladder the filler would be the next step down, the medium height. Geraniums make a good filler.
The Spiller – This is the plant that falls out over the sides of the container. Use an asparagus fern, sweet potato vine, wave petunia, or the money wart. A favorite of ours was the goldilocks creeping jenny.
The Grass Pad has an article, Thrill Fill Spill: Idiot Proof Patio Pot Designing, that includes more examples of plant types.
3. Keep in mind what’s behind the container when choosing plant colors.
Think about the back drop and the pot color. What color will your pot be and what will be seen behind it? Choose a color that will stand out against your back drop and your container. Your color choices are a personal preference. Try to keep your thriller, filler, and spiller each a different color. No matchy-matchy.
4. Fill your container with 1/3 of filtering medium.
Fill the bottom 1/3 of your container with a filtering medium. Use lava rock, a broken clay pot, rocks or even packing peanuts. This will filter the water as it washes through the container and keep the soil in.
5. Feed your plants with a slow release formula fertilizer.
Young plants are spoiled. They were raised in green houses and were probably injected with fertilizer every time they were watered! To keep your plants looking as good as when you purchased them you need to fertilize, too. Use a slow release fertilizer like Osmocote. Mix it in with the potting soil and layer it on the top of the soil. Depending on how long the formula feeds you may need to add one more application of fertilizer before the end of the season.
6. Twenty percent of water should wash out of the bottom of the pot.
When you water, 20% of the water should wash out of the bottom of the container. You want water to come out of the bottom so it washes out the salt build up.
When watering indoor containers it is helpful to place them in a sink or shower so the water can wash out the bottom safely. (Not directly over your printer!) 🙂
For hanging containers use a moisture control matter to hold more moisture in the soil like Soil Moist.
7. Pinch the dying blooms to promote new growth.
Pinching the dead blooms, also known as “deadheading”, will help the plant produce new blooms and keep the containers beautiful all season. Where you pinch the dead bloom depends on the type of plant. Pinch right below the flower for impatiens and down at the base of the stems for geraniums.
Follow these simple steps to create amazing containers this spring. What tips would you add to this list?