With spring approaching, it’s a good time to begin working in the garden. However, this can be daunting if you aren’t experienced with plants. Here are some simple tips for getting your container gardening off to a good start.

1. Use the Correctly Sized Container

Underestimating the size of the container that you’ll need almost always results in a rootbound plant with stunted growth. To avoid this, make sure to select a pot that has at least two-thirds of available space to grow into. Make sure to rehome the plant into a larger container as soon as you notice that it’s outgrowing the pot that it’s in.

2. Mix Your Potting Soil for Container Gardening

Always use potting soil for container gardening. Commercial bags of garden soil will become too heavy and compressed inside of planters. Premixed bags usually cost more, but you can easily save money by mixing your own blend. To do this, mix five gallons each of ground sphagnum moss and perlite, two gallons of compost, and one gallon of slow-release fertilizer.

3. Make Large Containers Easy to Move

Take some extra steps so that you can easily move your plants around and stay creative with new container gardening ideas. Some plants that are used as focal points are placed in large attractive pots that add presence and height for a more aesthetic appeal. However, many varieties of annual flowers do not need so much soil.

Lighten the load by filling the bottom with crushed soda cans or cubed foam. Make sure that the filler pieces are the right size to create adequate gaps for drainage. Some plants need every inch inside of their pot to thrive. For heavy feeders like bushes and vegetable plants, place larger pots on top of flower pot coasters instead.

4. Plant Vertically to Save Space When Container Gardening

Container gardening can transform small spaces into a lush mini-oasis when you focus on growing vertically. Encourage tomatoes to grow tall, rather than wide, by training them with a stake. Prune off new branches while the plant is still young.

Create custom-sized trellises out of fence wire to train sprawling vines to grow vertically on the wall or over a custom-sized arch that fits over the pot. Hanging baskets are also a good option for flowers, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries. Vertical gardening is especially useful when you have limited areas of direct sunlight.

The beauty of container gardening is that it doesn’t require as much effort or space. You do not need to prepare a labor-intensive garden-bed, nor do you need to be an expert on how to pair and place plants. With the mobility of potted containers, you can easily learn the basics one plant at a time while also having fun designing an ever-changing landscape.

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