You might ask yourself…Self? Why would I want to garden in containers? Why not just stick my plants in the ground like any other self-respecting gardener?
Well, there’s a ridiculously simple answer to that question, and one a little more convoluted.
First, the simple answer: ‘Cause it’s way cool and lots of fun!
But that really doesn’t get down to it. Let’s look at some other reasons why you might want to garden in containers.
- You can Feed Your Creative Beast. Container gardening is an art form, a marriage of pot and plant. Something synergistic. Marry the right pot with the right plants – man, it’s better than sex. Not really, but you get the picture. You get to play around with balance, form, texture and color, and come up with something really beautiful that, until that moment, didn’t exist. And that’s a rush!
- It’s the Lazy Person’s Answer to Gardening. You can put together a pot in no time at all. No breaking up sod and digging holes in stubborn clay. No hard labor at all. You can do it all from your deck or patio, take a few steps, and set your pot in position. Depending on your container’s size, there may be a little heavy lifting. But, hey – that’s what teens are for. And pot caddies!
- Container Gardens are Portable. Don’t like your plants where they are? Gardening in containers allows you to move stuff easily. Plants getting too much sun? Pick up your containers, move them to the shade. Don’t like a group of plants? Add or subtract pots at will. One plant in a combo pot starts to dwindle or die? Take it out, consign it to the graveyard of your compost pile, and pop in another. Easy as container pot pie!
- Variety is the Spice of Life. Container gardens allow endless variation. You can mix and match container size, form, and color. Arrange a jungle of container plants, from tropical selection on down to dwarf varieties. Plus, you have additional tools in your pot box. Window boxes. Troughs. Hanging baskets. Wall plantings. Any old thing from the junk yard or garage sale. Think eclectic!
- The Spice of Life Where You Need It. You think because I mentioned spice I’m gonna talk about herbs. Well, you’re partially right. You can have a herb garden at your fingertips by planting up a selection of your favorite culinary enhancers and placing it right next to your kitchen door. But you can also appeal to your other senses, like smell. Plant fragrant plants like Daphne odora in a container next to entrances or exits, or where their scents will waft through your kitchen door. And enjoy!
- Make a Statement. Gardening in containers gives you a lot of flexibility. You’re no longer limited to static arrangements of commonplace plants. You can use tropicals, succulents, perennials, trees, shrubs, grasses, and more as well as annuals to grace your pots. Place them at your front door, or on your steps, for a welcoming entry.
- Spatial Complements. Say you have a large deck or paved patio. These functional spaces can look like barren wastelands if you don’t include plants in the equation. And the best way to do it is to use plants in pots or planters. Set groups of containers in strategic spots to soften large expanses of paving, to define pedestrian routes, to screen unsightly views, or just to liven up an area. Use larger pots or small container plantings in combination with vines and trellises to divide and define space. Or use a spectacular container planting as an accent to draw the eye.
- Seasonal Interest. Since containers are portable, lend themselves to variety, and are easy to work with, they’re perfect vehicles for seasonal planting interest. Plant up a few containers with bulbs for spring color; in summer, begonias, impatiens, and other flowering annuals rule the roost; fall brings Coral Bells and ornamental kale, among other cool season plants; and don’t forget winter interest with selections like dwarf conifers, Skimma japonica, red dogwood twigs, berry producing selections, and even seasonal decorations like light strings. Remember to use frost proof pots!
- Ease of Creation and Maintenance. Similar to the lazy man’s way of gardening above. Gardening in containers can be a lot easier, not only at initial planting, but during the maintenance phase. Think raised beds. Building your garden higher, even by a little bit, saves your back and knees, and makes it easier to plant and weed. Container gardens are perfect for the elderly or those with physical limitations. And if you string together a drip irrigation system to handle watering chores, you’ll have gained plenty of time to enjoy those containers – or to plant more, you container addict, you!
These are just a few of the reasons to garden in containers. I’m sure you can think of more. Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and put up some pots with PIZAZZ!