Let’s Get Growing with Julie: Container Gardening Tips

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Julie Mcconnell Uf Ext 1By Julie McConnell, UF/IFAS Extension

Gardening in Northwest Florida can be challenging with poor soil, intense sunlight, and windy conditions. Sometimes finding that perfect spot in the garden for a specific plant you really want to grow is impossible, but before you give up consider growing in containers instead!

Any plant can be successfully grown in a container, the key is to find the right size to support root volume with a little room to grow. Plants that get very large (shrubs and trees) may need to be transplanted periodically as their root systems outgrow smaller pots. Use a pot that is 10-25% larger than the current pot when scaling up a size so that water is effectively reaching roots.

Growing Sun Plants In These Containers Include Rosemary Geraniums And Petunia. Jmcconnell UfifasgContainers can be made of plastic, foam, concrete, ceramic, terra cotta, etc. Just make sure they are sturdy and have drain holes to prevent root rot. Use a commercial potting mix rather than native soil to avoid introducing weeds, insects, nematodes, or disease organisms. Potting mixes are designed specifically for container-grown plants to offer good drainage and nutrient-holding capacity.

Plants in containers may have higher water needs when compared to in-ground plants, so make sure you check them regularly, especially during the hottest part of the summer. When making mixed containers, group plants together with similar sunlight, water, and fertilizer needs. Different growth habits such as upright and trailing and contrasting color combinations (foliage and/or flower color) add interest to container gardens.

To read more about container gardening visit https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/design/types-of-gardens/container-gardening.html

An Equal Opportunity Institution. UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Andra Johnson, Dean. Single copies of UF/IFAS Extension publications (excluding 4-H and youth publications) are available free to Florida residents from county UF/IFAS Extension offices.