Tips & Techniques
Betterdays in Full Swing

The Ultimate Guide to Growing Potted Plants Outdoors


By Marty Ross

You don’t need a huge yard or a grand garden to enjoy the beauty of flowers, plants and greenery. Potted plants can offer joy and the reward of gardening, even if you are limited to a patio, balcony or porch.

Learn how to plant the most gorgeous plants, herbs and flowers. Plus find out everything you need to know about how to pot a plant in containers.

Step 1: Choose the Right Pot

There are a few things to consider when choosing your pot. Whether small, big, lightweight or heavy, make sure there are holes in the bottom to allow water to flow out freely. Without enough drainage, roots can drown and the plant will ultimately die.

Pots can be of any material. Terracotta, glazed or plastic pots will all work well. The type of pot you choose really just depends on your style and budget. Other pot options can be a bushel basket, a wooden box or a repurposed container from a second-hand shop.

Step 2: Pick your Plant

Before deciding on what plants to pot, first assess the area where they will be growing.

All of these factors will contribute to how well a potted garden area will do. Your local nursery is a great resource for finding plants that will succeed wherever you plan to grow them.





Step 3: Select the Correct Soil

Outdoor potted plants should be planted in fresh, new potting soil. Avoid using dirt from the garden or yard as it could have weed seeds or fungal diseases that may harm plants.

Potting soil will have decomposed organic matter like sphagnum moss or peat moss to help it retain moisture. Perlite and vermiculite (lightweight volcanic rocks that are naturally filled with air) and kitty litter are mineral aggregates that are all commonly used in potting mix. All of these additives help keep soil in containers the perfect texture and ideal for container-potting.

Step 4: Choose the Ideal Location

If limited on space, you may not have much of a choice on location. If this is the case, choose the plants that will do well based on the location you have available. There is no one, perfect formula as to how much sunlight or shade is necessary. What will help, though, is ensuring everything you plant in containers are all like-minded when it comes to how much sun or shade they need.

Potted Plant Care Tips

Here are some tips for taking care of your plants in pots.

Remember, roots of potted plants can’t reach moisture in the earth. Although potting soil retains moisture well, pots tend to dry out more quickly than the ground. In hot weather you may need to water every day. When watering, don’t just sprinkle the foliage or flowers – make sure the water is going into the soil in the pot.

To keep plants blooming, fertilize occasionally with a water-soluble fertilizer. Measure the fertilizer into a watering can first and then fill the can with water. If you use the “jet” spray from a watering nozzle to fill your watering can, the force from the spray will mix the fertilizer thoroughly into the water.

During the growing season, encourage plants to keep blooming by pinching off flowers as they fade. This will also keep pots looking fresh and tidy. Deadheading can be done by using your fingers or with a pair of pruners or garden snips.

Just because you are short on space or don’t have the time to tend to a huge garden or yard doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy beautiful plants, herbs and flowers. Planting in pots is the best of both worlds; it’s easy to grow gorgeous plants with little time, space and effort.

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