5 - 15 - 2010

Container Gardening

I remember years ago, my annual trek into a garden center to purchase plants for my clay pots. It was a tried and true trio of geraniums, asparagus fern and a dracaena spike - sometimes when I really wanted to get adventurous I would substitute variegated vinca major for the asparagus fern.

Today the possibilities are endless - from the vast array of containers available - so beyond the old clay pot (which I still love), to the infinite number of ways to pair plants. Container gardening is fun and provides a finishing touch to entryways, terraces, decks and balconies. Following just a few concepts can make the difference between a container that really delivers the wow factor, or one that just kind of sits there and looks lonely or imbalanced.

Just like in the garden, plants need to work together - just the right combination of color, texture and shape provide a harmonious balance to make almost any container look perfect. Sometimes it's the contrast of color and texture that make the magic - and sometimes it is the simplicity of the pairing...but finding the right plant mix, putting them in the right container, and then putting the container in the right location equals container happiness!


Container Gardening Tips

Not your mother’s pot of geraniums

Here are the basic principles and elements of container gardening-

  • Start with the container – make sure it will fit its surroundings, both in style and size. Is one pot enough or do you need a group to get the right balance and interest? I always try to find containers that fit the personality of the home and home owner….then make sure the size and number are right.
  • Understand color (I will post info on the color wheel – must know information) - likely the single key design element – you can have contrasting, or complementary and then variances on this – color is complicated but absolutely critical to your success. Color works together and will provide a cool calming reaction or a warm attention grabbing reaction.
  • Texture can provide the drama in a container – the more the contrast in your plant textures the greater the impact….without variety of texture the container will be less impactful.
  • Shape and size are also key – look at the overall shape of a plant to determine how it fits into your container garden.
  • And when in doubt remember the adage “Thrillers, Fillers & Spillers. Enough said….these 3 little words that carry a big impact when successfully executed in your containers.

Container Garden Examples

This could not be more simple – small English boxwood in English pots… the foursome makes the impact.


Examples of Container Gardening

Single container of lobelia


How to use containers in your garden

Combined texture and color – blue petunia, pink geranium lavender, and lime colored sage.


Container Gardening Tips
Best pots for plants

Two examples of simplicity multiplied


Examples of Containers

Great color and texture combinations


How to use containers with your garden plants
Container Garden Examples

The use of a trellis at the back of this rectangular planter will add even more drama as the vine of mandevilla climbs.


Best Pots for Containers

Good example of color contrasts – blue and chartreuse – opposites on the color wheel


Examples of Garden Containers

What did we do before Calibracoa / million bells were available in garden centers – and love the Artemisia – ‘Silver Brocade” in these pots


Container and Plant
Landscape Gardening with Containers
Gardening with Containers

No, these photos were not taken in England – this is in Oklahoma City!

Top ways to use containers

Either side of an entry way – talk about the one two punch!


Container Examples
Container Gardening Tips

Look how the purple petunias and blue lobelia relate to the “Jackmanii” clematis on the wall behind them

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -