In the garden: After choosing the right container, think of thriller, filler, spiller

When I visit a garden, I am always attracted to the artistically implanted containers. No matter if they are full of flowers or vegetables, a pleasant combination is really inspiring.

Making your own garden masterpiece is not so difficult if you understand the basics of planting containers.

Water is the most important element of container gardening. The pots dry out quickly, so check the soil moisture often. Nevertheless, drainage holes must be made in the pots so that the soil is not wet. If you find a pot that you can’t live without but don’t have a hole in it, you have two options: drill holes in the bottom or fill the bottom of the pot with gravel and put your plants in a smaller (holey) pot. ), which fits.

Another option is an irrigation tank. They have a reservoir under the planting section. The soil absorbs water from the reservoir so the plants stay happy. This reduces the frequency of watering.

Once you have selected the container, you will need a sterile potted mixture. I never use garden soil because it can be difficult to keep moist and can contain pathogens or other problems. You can choose a mixture that contains a fertilizer or spray a slow-release fertilizer after planting. Some mixtures also have water-retaining crystals to keep them wet for extended periods of time. I use organic flower pots for growing vegetables in containers

Now is the time to choose the plants that have always been my favorite part of the process.

Annual flowers can be planted after the danger of frost has passed. You will need a thriller (the focal point, usually a vertical plant), several fillers (which are planted around the base of the thriller) and spillers (plants that run through the edge of the pot). I advise you to play with different combinations in kindergarten while the plants are talking to you.

Thrillers include purple fountain grass or other ornamental grasses, canna lilies, elephant ears (Colocasia), Dracaena, cordilin, and flax (Phormium). The filler may be coleus, lanthanum, begonia, geranium, impatient, succulent or zinnia. Attractive scatterers include sweet potato grapes, Torenia, Vinca, Calibrachoa and Bacopa. But don’t let these suggestions limit your creativity.

When we plant annual plants in a container, I compact them together for maximum effect. After all, they will only live a single growing season.

Container vegetable growing is a great solution if there is no space in a traditional garden. They can also be placed right in front of the kitchen door for easy selection. Make sure you get at least six hours of sunlight a day.

There are plenty of vegetables that work well in pots; you can find ideas in the information box. If you are growing plants that require support, be sure to place a cage, small lattice, or obelisk before planting.

No matter what type of plants you grow in pots, be sure to water them thoroughly and apply fertilizer if the potting soil doesn’t contain it. First of all, do not allow the tank to dry out. Then sit back and enjoy your masterpiece.

To learn more about container gardening, check out this week’s “Everyone Can Grow a Garden” video on my YouTube channel at

Susan Mulvihill is the co-author of “Northwest Gardener’s Handbook” with Pat Munts. Contact him at

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