Successful container gardening

Containers are a great way to garden or add interest to your garden.

Growing plants in containers has grown in popularity over the past decade. Michigan State University Extension says one of the most important reasons people grow plants in containers is to have plants in places that would otherwise be plant-less.

Seed companies and nurseries are working diligently to improve varieties of plants that will perform well in containers. American trial gardens have designated container gardens to support plant companies research in order to bring the best products available to consumers.  You can visit the MSU demonstration garden to see many containers with the newest plant varieties being developed for the market.

Growing plants in containers follows basic horticulture principals and is the same for all plants; annuals, vegetables, perennials, shrubs, trees and even fruit. Like all gardening, soil is one of the most important things to plant health. Plant in soil that is a well aerated, or use a soilless mix or well cured compost. Water frequently! Containers dry out quickly and need to be watered more often than traditional gardens. Plants in containers require more added nutrients depending on the soil chosen; Nutrients can be easily leached from the soil. Be sure to feed your containers at least twice during the growing season.

Do not limit yourself to impatiens, geraniums and the center spike.  Be creative, it is fun to have fresh herbs and veggies next to the kitchen door or have lettuce growing on your front porch. For added interest, tuck a planter into larger garden areas.

Balconies and roof tops can be transformed into a private green oasis. So as we start planning our spring gardens, be creative and add a few containers for an extra spark of color or a tasty treat.

Containers should be chosen carefully depending on what is going to be growing in it.  It is fun to pick containers that accent their surroundings or have an artsy look.  Think outside of typical planters and let your creativity go wild.

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