Adding a planter to your patio, deck or porch is a great way to bring color and beauty to these outdoor spaces. When designing your pot garden, use the “thriller, filler and spiller” technique. Start with a tall, bold plant such as a coleus or geranium and add in several plants that cascade over the edges like petunias, verbenas and wax begonias.
Choose Your Plants Wisely
Large planters look great when filled with a mixture of plants that complement each other, add interest and balance the whole. However, it’s important to consider the growing requirements of each individual plant. If you mix plants that have different requirements, one may overpower another, and they may require more or less water than the others to thrive. Use the “thriller, filler and spiller” method when planting in a container to ensure that all of your plants are happy.
It’s also wise to choose lightweight pots that will be easy to move once they are filled with soil and plants. Large clay and ceramic pots can be quite heavy once they are full of potting soil, making them cumbersome to move. Lightweight plastic and fiberglass pots are much easier to handle. Finally, be sure to use a high quality, pre-fertilized potting soil that will save you time and trouble down the road. It is much lighter than garden soil and helps to promote healthier root growth.
When planting in large planters, it is important to consider the overall look of your arrangement. Adding a central focal point with symmetry and surrounding fillers can help make your arrangement stand out. Choose plants that complement each other in terms of color, foliage, and growth habits. For example, a plant with an upright habit like yucca can be balanced out by several plants that cascade over the edge of your planter. These include petunias, begonias, and lantanas.
Avoid overwatering by allowing the top inch of soil to be dry before watering. This prevents root rot and keeps the plants happy.
Some gardeners use styrofoam or pine cones in the bottom of their planters to keep the soil from shifting around. However, these fillers make it difficult for water to move up into the roots of your plants. Instead, consider using a drip irrigation system or upturned bottle with holes in the lid to trickle water into your plants.
Don’t Forget About Drainage
When planting in large pots, drainage is just as important as it is when using smaller containers. It’s a good idea to use a layer of lightweight fillers, such as styrofoam peanuts or recycled plastic water bottles, at the bottom of your planter before you add the potting soil. This creates pockets of air that help roots thrive.
This is particularly important if you plan on moving your planters after they’re filled. If the planter is too heavy, it can be cumbersome to move, even if you remove all of the potting soil and plants.
To help with draining, it’s also a good idea to choose a quality pre-fertilized potting soil that is lighter than garden soil. This can save you time and money when it comes to adding additional fertilizer later on. It’s best to use a mixture of different types of soil in order to provide your plants with the most nutrition possible.
Don’t Forget About Fiberglass
Fiberglass planters are lightweight and durable. They are perfect for adding height and interest to a planting area. They are also weather-resistant and will not rust. While they are not the most environmentally friendly option, if you are looking for a planter that will stand up to harsh weather conditions then fiberglass is the way to go.
When planting in large pots, make sure to follow the “thriller, filler, and spiller” method. This means that you should have a focal point plant that adds height and color to the arrangement such as a coleus or a tall geranium with multi-colored leaves, then you should add plants that spill over the side of the pots such as petunias or creeping zinnias. Finally, you should add filler plants like parsley or licorice plant for added color.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when planting in super-sized planters is to overwater them. Overwatering can cause the roots of your plants to rot and can lead to a stunted growth. Avoid this mistake by watering thoroughly, but sparingly.