Container Gardening For Dummies, 2nd Edition book cover

Container Gardening For Dummies, 2nd Edition

Authors:
Bill Marken ,
Suzanne DeJohn ,
The Editors of the National Gardening Association
Published: January 15, 2010

Overview

This is the easy way to get a green thumb in container gardening! Want to spruce up your indoor or outdoor space with annuals, perennials, vegetables, and succulents? This edition of Container Gardening For Dummies gives you clear, concise step-by-step instructions for cultivating delightful gardens in everything from a redwood window box to a hanging basket to an old watering can. It also includes color photos to inspire your designs.
  • Getting the dirt on container gardening ― discover the advantages of growing plants in containers and learn how to maximize your garden conditions to help plants thrive
  • Picking a pot to plant in ― take a look around your living space and determine the best location and type of container for your garden
  • Enjoying a summer fling ― get the lowdown on the best single-season flowers, vegetables, and bulbs for container growing
  • Putting down roots ― find out which perennials, trees, shrubs, fruits, and berries give year-round impact
  • Designing and decorating ― take advantage of ideas and inspiration for creating eye-catching container gardening displays
Open the book and find:
  • Things you need to know before planting
  • A quick primer on climate
  • What to look for in a soil mix
  • How to work with perennials and annuals
  • Information you need to help you choose plants
  • Why and when containers need water and fertilizer
  • Guidance on replanting, repotting, and pruning
  • Tips for preventing insect pests and diseases
  • Ways to liven up your space with trees, shrubs, and vines
This is the easy way to get a green thumb in container gardening! Want to spruce up your indoor or outdoor space with annuals, perennials, vegetables, and succulents? This edition of Container Gardening For Dummies gives you clear, concise step-by-step instructions for cultivating delightful gardens in everything from a redwood window box to a hanging basket to an old watering can. It also includes color photos to inspire your designs.
  • Getting the dirt on container gardening ― discover the advantages of growing plants in containers and learn how to maximize your garden conditions to help plants thrive
  • Picking a pot to plant in ― take a look around your living space and determine the best location and type of container for your garden
  • Enjoying a summer fling ― get the lowdown on the best single-season flowers, vegetables, and bulbs for container growing
class="a-text-bold">Putting down roots ― find out which perennials, trees, shrubs, fruits, and berries give year-round impact
  • Designing and decorating ― take advantage of ideas and inspiration for creating eye-catching container gardening displays
  • Open the book and find:
    • Things you need to know before planting
    • A quick primer on climate
    • What to look for in a soil mix
    • How to work with perennials and annuals
    • Information you need to help you choose plants
    • Why and when containers need water and fertilizer
    • Guidance on replanting, repotting, and pruning
    • Tips for preventing insect pests and diseases
    • Ways to liven up your space with trees, shrubs, and vines
    Container Gardening For Dummies Cheat Sheet

    You can create beautiful container gardens with a little planning and some ongoing attention. It all starts with picking the right plants and arranging them in an attractive container. Then, after you’ve got things growing, you’ll want to keep the plants pest-free to keep them looking their best.

    Articles From The Book

    32 results

    Containers Articles

    How to Divide and Repot Perennials

    Divide and repot perennials to alleviate crowded roots. Because perennials tend to grow larger — in some cases much larger — than annuals, you may find your plants outgrowing their pots. (A sure sign is roots that fill all available soil space or bulge out at the top. An even surer sign: roots bursting the sides of the container.)

    At times like these, you need to make some choices. You can repot them into larger containers, you can root-prune them and replant them in the same container, or you can divide them.

    Some perennials, like coral bells and hostas, spread by underground roots. In pots, they can eventually grow so crowded that they no longer look good or grow well. When your plants enlarge to this size, think about dividing the clump. The ideal time to divide a plant depends on the type of plant and your locale. In general, in regions with mild to moderate winters you can divide plants in early spring or fall. In regions with very cold winters, most plants are best divided in early spring. In regions with very hot summers, divide plants in fall. Exceptions to these guidelines exist, so if you’re unsure, do some research before digging in.

    To divide a perennial:

    1. Ease the plant from the pot.

    2. Wash off as much soil as possible — you need to be able to see the roots.

    3. Using a trowel, garden knife, or whatever tool seems to work for you, gently tease apart the root mass into two or more clumps.

      These clumps are called divisions. Be sure that each division has a healthy set of roots to support it.

    Repot each clump into a new pot using the bare-root potting procedure. You can also plant some or all the clumps in the ground if you have the space and the right conditions. Or, share or swap divisions with your friends and neighbors.

    The roots of some plants are such a tangled mass that it’s impossible to tease them apart. In these cases, use a sharp knife or, for large plants, a sharpened spade to slice the plant in half, from top to bottom, so that the two remaining sections contain both top growth (or where the top growth was if the plant is dormant) and roots. Replant as you would a regular potted plant.

    Containers Articles

    Choosing the Right Container-Gardening Tools

    Having the right tools available when you’re growing plants in containers can make some of the chores easier. Most of the following items are available at garden centers or through mail-order suppliers.

    • Hose-end bubbler: Screw this attachment to the end of the hose and use it to soften the flow of water so you don’t wash out soil. A metal hose-end extension allows you to water overhead baskets and containers that are normally beyond arm’s reach.

    • Scrub brush: Use a brush to nudge soil, moss, and salt deposits off your containers.

    • Hand truck: You need one of these if you want to move heavy containers indoors or if you do a lot of outdoor redecorating.

    • Watering can: With a watering can, you can also apply liquid fertilizer as you water.

    • Soil scoop (trowel): This tool comes in handy when filling containers with potting soil or when mixing small quantities of potting soil. (For larger quantities, use a shovel.)

    • Mister: Indoor plants often need extra humidity. Apply moisture with a small hand sprayer.

    Containers Articles

    Ideas for Inspired Container Plantings

    Combining the right plants with the right container can make for a traffic-stopping display. Follow these guidelines for creating container plantings that suit your style:

    • Choose a combination of tall plants (thrillers), shrubby plants (fillers), and trailing plants (spillers).

    • Select plants with contrasting forms — tall and spiky, gently arching, soft and flowing.

    • Choose plants based on the mood you want to set. Flowers in bright, hot colors like fuchsia, fire-engine red, and blazing orange will energize a planting. Cool colors like periwinkle blue and lilac set a calm, relaxed mood.

    • Use various shades of a single color, like pastel pink to deep rose, to create a unified yet still interesting display.

    • Create contrast between colors. Foliage plants with silvery and chartreuse leaves provide a perfect backdrop for brightly colored flowers. White and pale colors make dark plants pop and are luminous in the moonlight.

    • Add height to your containers by growing vines on trellises.

    • Use plant stands and hanging baskets to bring plants up to eye level.

    • Add attractive edibles, such as purple basil and tricolor sage, to decorative containers.