A potted garden

plante en pot

On a deck, terrace or balcony, it is easy to set up a container garden in pots for every season, planting a series of garden box flowers that will bloom one after the other.

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Selecting the pot, place and plant

plant pot terraceIf you’ve got the space, always favor larger pots to smaller ones: small pots dry up very quickly in hot weather. Also, terra cotta or clay pots are better than metal, since they act as a barrier to both heat and cold. Carefully select the location. Pot arrangements along walls will almost never collect any rainwater, and will need to be watered more often.

Designer plants (grasses, leaf plants, succulents) are usually highlighted when planted in separate containers. Otherwise, generally, plants are usually more ornamental when they are paired: several different species to a pot. These combinations also help create a micro-environment that increases resiliency and surrounding moisture. Plant the taller or more bushy plants towards the center, and the hanging plants along the edges. Remember to associate plants that share the same needs: heat, shade… lilies and impatiens love shade; French marigolds and begonias like lounging around in the sun, as do petunias; and snapdragons and geraniums both resist foul weather extremely well…

Take note: time-release fertilizer usually present in soil mix will usually cover about ten week’s worth of plants’ needs in terms of nutrients. After that, you’ll have to add supplemental nutrients with an all-around liquid fertilizer.

Clean is healthy

container plantsPlanting amounts to nothing if the pots aren’t clean. No problem with new containers, but if your pots have already served, clean them diligently before assigning them to any new mission.

Wooden containers must be carefully scrubbed and treated with a non-toxic product, because rotting wood is usually a haven for fungus diseases and undesirable bacteria. Even accessories such as stakes and labels must be pristine.

Also regularly clean the walls and tiles around the pots to remove moss and algae. Last but not least, your gardening tools must also be scrupulously cleansed, from the small hand hoe to the hand pruner – which should ideally be disinfected after each pruning!

Lastly, never reuse old soil mix. Not only does it not have any nutrients left anymore, it also might harbor a host of fungus and bacteria which you wouldn’t want to spread to your new plants.

Image credits:

Truffaut, Leroy Merlin