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If you don’t have the space and patience to grow a beautiful and healthy garden like a pro, then container gardening is for you.
The best thing about this approach to planting is it’s so easy to pull off and requires little planning and fewer resources. Whether you prefer florals, herbs, or fruits and veggies, you can be successful in this project.
For your inspiration, we’ve rounded up beginner-friendly year round container gardening ideas to spruce up your porch and patio in no time.
Year Round Container Gardening Ideas
1. Herby Fully Loaded
The best thing about herbs in containers is they look and smell lovely. If you place them on your patio, anyone who comes to visit your home will be greeted with their refreshing and rejuvenating scent. Plus, you know you always have a few aromatic leaves to grab for your home cooking.
Among the top choices are basil, oregano, lemongrass, thyme, mint, and parsley. For a pretty centerpiece, feel free to combine different herbs in one big container.
It could be a large pot or vase for a rustic tabletop setup, stacked wooden shelves, or in pretty little pails. Of course, mason jars are still popular. If using them, plant one herb in each jar.
2. Soothing Blues
Blue is the color of calmness and serenity. We all need some blue in our yard to counter the stresses that the pandemic has brought us. That said, potted blue plants like Agapanthus are a gorgeous addition to your patio.
Create a stunning contrast by pairing it with hydrangeas in rusted iron planters. It’s so beautiful and soothing.
Make sure to choose the sunniest spot possible to encourage more flowers. In addition, this beautiful flowering plant likes to be snug in the pot so it thrives well in closely packed containers close to other plants.
Other great choices are the Heavenly Blue Morning Glory, Clematis, Cornflower, and Delphinium. Delphiniums are great for spicing up your fence in summer but they also do well when placed in medium to large containers.
Combine blues with other vivid colors like red, yellow, and orange for a splash of colors in your yard.
3. Homey, Mini-Garden Vibe
Grouping containers in a tight space is a great way to create a lovely mini garden on your patio. You can always opt for inexpensive plastic containers that are easy to move around.
You can make your cluster of containers look like it’s been done by professional landscapers by following a planting theme. For example, you can mix colorful annuals and perennials, a lush arrangement of tropical houseplants, or a monochromatic theme using flowers and foliage.
For the most impact, combine different textures and sizes. You can create a sense of “unity” by using similar types, designs, or colors of containers, or repeating some plants in several of the pots.
Don’t forget to vary the heights of your containers. Alternatively, you can stack them on a cinderblock or even on your patio steps for an elevated look.
4. Easy Breezy Floating Plants
If you don’t have a ground or floor space for a garden, “hang” on. Your plants don’t have to be in the ground to flourish. Whether you’re planting herbs, flowers, or vegetables, there’s a myriad of ways to hang a plant outdoors.
One is by placing them in woven wicker baskets. It’s a natural way to decorate a bare outdoor space and blends beautifully with brick, timber, and even concrete walls. For a splash of colors, squeeze in zinnias and begonias together.
To add more drama, fill the spaces with Blue Cape plumbago, sweet alyssum, Fuschia, or petunia. These colorful blossoms bring joy wherever they are.
Even crops like tomatoes and cucumbers work well in hanging containers. Plant them in buckets or pots attached to your fence. This clever idea works well for people who are short on gardening space.
5. Modern Tabletop Containers
If you’re new to gardening, an ingenious and incredibly easy place to start is by using tabletop containers. As the term suggests, you can simply place the pot on your patio table or even inside your home.
To match the modern look of your home, opt for modern containers that feature strong, dark lines and rich metal tones. Such an edgy look will beautifully balance the soft, rippling, and breezy movement of your plants.
So many plants work well in tabletop containers, from pretty succulents to roses, and popular herbs like basil, just make sure to clip often. You can also group several pots on a table. In this case, choose one large plant as the focal point. Then, surround it with smaller plants.
6. Overflowing Rustic Freestanding Containers
You’ll need a sturdy container for this gardening idea, such as a galvanized metal washtub or an old wheelbarrow.
After choosing the perfect rustic container, fill it with a hearty and colorful mix of florals, hydrangea, Nemesia, roses, pansies and violas, Coleus, and anything that suits your fancy. For an overflowing natural beauty, add some gorgeous flowering vines like sweetpea, Virginia Creeper, or Mandevilla.
You can also experiment with other freestanding containers, such as concrete and granite orbs where you can plant ornamental kales and big-leaf tropical plants. Or if you want it dreamy and romantic, make your arrangement in a classic cast-metal urn styled with classic Victorian lines.
7. Beauties on Shelves
A tiered shelving structure is a great way to show off your container gardening masterpieces all year round. The best thing is you can place it in the most unused spot or corner in your yard or outdoor space.
The likes of sage, pansies, and ferns are excellent choices and are perfect for autumn displays. You can mix it up as seasons change. Think bulbs in spring or bedding plants in summer.
For a cohesive look, use matching pots. Terracotta is a timeless choice. However, don’t be afraid to get more creative by mixing colors, sizes, and textures to match your taste.
You can also create a ladder garden using old wood that adds a shabby-chic charm to your yard or garden. It’s the perfect spot for displaying small pots of herbs and trays of flowers.
8. Cottage Garden in Plots
A cottage garden is a distinct style that uses dense plantings, informal designs, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants. If you’re dreaming of creating one but you don’t have enough outdoor space, don’t fret.
With containers and a little creativity, your dream cottage garden is just a few pots away. You can use rustic stone or faux stone containers, as well as old buckets, watering cans, galvanized washbasins, and even simple ceramic pots.
Using a variety of containers will contribute to the lush look of your cottage garden. Don’t forget to cram containers with blooms and foliage. Keep in mind the wild and unruly look is the charm of a cottage garden.
Some perfect plants for full and wild arrangements include licorice plants, verbenas, and petunias. If you still have extra space, add some more rambling and climbing vines like sweet peas, climbing roses, and morning glories. Use trellises or supports to encourage them to thrive in pots.
9. Enchanting Patio-Sized Orchard
What if you can grow fruits in a small garden? While apple trees are instantly associated with orchard culture, citruses, nuts, and berrying shrubs can also be grown in an orchard.
Dwarf orange trees grown in containers can take up very little space and produce an awful lot of fresh, yummy fruits. Many other fruit trees these days are grafted onto special dwarfing rootstocks that make them easier to grow in smaller spaces.
You’ll also find several tasty varieties of apple trees that perform great in containers, along with peach and apricot trees. These trees yield fruits very quickly, usually within one or two years of planting.
Just make sure to select the right containers that are sturdy enough to support the trees. Examples are terracotta and glazed pots.
Additionally, all restricted trees can easily become stressed so they need to be given more care than those that grow on their own.
10. Tropical Lush in Containers
Tropical plants are known for their vibrant hues and unique textures. What’s more, they can be brought inside during the winter.
The tubers of dahlias, sweet potato vines, and cannas can be stored indoors in a cool, dry place until spring when they can liven up your outdoor area. Make sure to choose the best pot for your container garden.
Find a pot that picks up the accent colors of your tropical foliage or one that offers a neutral background. Some excellent picks to plant in containers are tall papyrus, bird of paradise, Cordyline, Croton, and Begonias.
11. Nostalgic Window Boxes
What could be a better way to brighten a shady spot than to add beautiful window boxes with unique arrangements? If you love flowers, a window box is a perfect place to display them.
They are so simple to do but are an extremely effective way to add visual interest to your home. Plus, you can enjoy their beauty both outdoors and from inside your home.
When considering window box ideas, the key is to choose flowers suitable for the growing conditions around your window. For example, if your window gets high doses of sunshine in the afternoon, choose plants that love lots of light.
Feel free to cramp different varieties and colors of florals. The lush window box includes “million bells”, vinca, asparagus fern, coleus, and sunny daffodils.
Even so, you can always choose herbs instead of florals. Rosemary, basil, lemongrass, and many other herbal plants make perfect choices for window boxes too. Plus, their invigorating aroma will surely fill your living space.
12. Season to Season Garden Containers
One of the challenges with container gardening has something to do with retaining their visual beauty through changing seasons. In such a case, evergreens and annuals are your best friends.
These plants are the perfect year round container gardening ideas. Think of them as a “keeper” or a durable plant that will thrive throughout the year.
They are best paired in plants that require more attention. For example, you can partner colorful annuals such as Verbena, Scaevola, and Sweet Potato vine with seasonal foliage. Marigolds, geraniums, Zinnias, and Ageratum work wonders too.
13. Mixed Succulents
If you live in a hot and dry climate, heat-tolerant succulents are the way to go. They are so pretty and require very little maintenance. Plus, they can be kept indoors too.
There are so many varieties of succulents. Look for types that create visual interest as they grow.
If you want it a little fancier, pick colorful rosette succulents. They are a sure-fire way to make an appealing centerpiece for your patio or living room.
To ensure that they grow and thrive well, use pots made from terracotta or ceramic. Both of these pots are breathable, which encourages water drainage and airflow.
As more people are living in cities with smaller lots or apartments, container gardening has become immensely popular. If you’re looking to add greens and colors to your outdoor or indoor space, container plants are the way to go.
We hope these year round container gardening ideas have inspired you to start your DIY project soon.
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Earthworms in container gardening are something to consider to improve the quality of your soil and plants.
It’s well known that worm castings are a popular option for nourishing soil, but what about worms themselves?
Regular earthworms, also known as red worms, can easily be added to your containers for several reasons.
What Do Worms Do for Container Gardening?
As simple as they seem to be, earthworms put a lot of effort into perfecting the quality of your soil.
Adding them to your containers for gardening can help improve aeration while also nourishing your plants.
Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly experienced benefits you could encounter using worms.
By far, the most notable advantage of having earthworms in your soil is to help improve oxygen levels.
When you add worms to the soil, they begin digging through it and creating small tunnels that inevitably air in.
When air enters the soil, it’s absorbed into the channels and directed to your plant’s roots.
With optimal oxygenation of your soil, you’ll find it’s easier for your plants to retain higher quantities of nutrients.
The more nutrients your plants consume, the heartier they become and the healthier they’ll be.
Overall, this benefit can turn into higher yields as well as generally healthier plants for prolonged periods.
Another significant benefit of adding earthworms in containers for gardening is the nutrient breakdown.
As with any living thing, worms require food to nourish their bodies, grow, and survive.
When you add them to the soil, they consume the organic matter within the dirt, resulting in them producing waste.
However, worm waste is one of the most valuable elements for gardening, transforming soil into compacted gold.
As the worm waste travels through the soil, it puts organic matter back into the material, which will assist with plant development.
Like we mentioned, with aeration, the more nutrients your plants absorb, the healthier and heartier they’ll become.
It’s easy to see how earthworms can add nutrients to your soil, but did you also know they make the nutrients travel further?
Worms tend to dig deep into the soil that creates channels, allowing air to reach the bottom layers.
Also, as they move and produce waste, their organic material reaches deeper depths, which is even better.
Remember that the most important part of your plant is its roots, as it is where the nutrients get absorbed.
As your worms make their way to the bottom layers of soil, nutrients reach areas they would otherwise miss.
This efficiency is what makes earthworms a distinctive contribution to edible and non-edible plant species.
What Types of Worms Do You Use for Container Gardening?
The most common type of worm that gardeners use is red worms, also known as earthworms.
Still, there are a few specific species that you can consider, each with its own benefits and disadvantages.
Two of the best alternative or additional worms to consider are the following:
Red wigglers are some of the most easily sourced worms that you can add to your plants.
Scientifically, their names are Eisenia foetida and are a functional addition to composting bins.
This species of worm enjoys digging through topsoil layers, significantly improving aeration with natural movements.
You’ll find red wigglers thrive best in warm and wet environments, making them ideal for spring and summer.
This reason is also why they’re most often used for composting, where heat is a significant contributor.
Another essential feature of this species is that they’re vegetarian.
As vegetarians, they can only consume organic matter like garden waste, leaves, and specific kitchen scraps.
Also, they have a shorter lifespan than some other worm varieties.
- Easily digest organic materials
- Offer adequate aeration
- Thrive well in container environments
- Prevent soil compaction
- Shorter lifespan
- Easily overpopulated
Another option for choosing a worm species for your garden is the night crawlers.
Red European night crawlers are a great variation adaptable to the outdoors and thrive in fertilized gardens.
You’ll often find these worms are used to help aerate lawns and gardens, making them ideal for container gardening.
Another benefit of this variety is that they work pretty well in composting, where red wigglers might not.
Night crawlers quickly adapt to extreme temperatures, which is notable for indoor and outdoor gardens.
You’ll find their body size is slightly larger, typically ranging between four and five inches, and they’re very active.
If soil aeration is something you’ve been struggling with, this species will quickly become your best friend.
Since they are so active, they create many fantastic tunnels buried significantly deeper than red wigglers go.
You’ll also find that they distribute their own fertilizer through the tunnels, similar to other worm varieties.
If you’re an angling enthusiast, you’ve likely heard of night crawlers in the past.
They’re often used for fishing, which is another way to put them to good use.
Since they’re known for their ability to breed quickly, you can easily acquire a collection of valuable worms.
- Versatile use
- Resistant to extreme temperatures
- Highly active
- Great for deeper aeration
- Overpopulate easily
Tips for Using Earthworms for Container Gardening
Adding earthworms to your containers for gardening seems like a straightforward job, and it usually is.
However, it’s essential to ensure the environment your worms get exposed to is ideal for their needs.
Otherwise, you could experience your worms dying faster than they’re able to offer any nutritional benefits.
Tip #1: Manage Soil Temperature
The most important thing to note with any worm variety is that you must manage soil temperature.
This point is crucial for red wigglers since they’re not as resistant to heat as night crawlers.
Ensuring you water your plants is a great way to manage soil temperature, as is placement.
Containers tend to retain more heat than open gardens, making this task a little more challenging.
Also, you must keep an eye on the amount of water you’re adding because too much could cause the worms to drown.
Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a cool and damp environment for your worms to thrive.
Tip #2: Control Worm Populations
Worms are known for their ability to overpopulate, especially when unmanaged.
Although they are an efficient and organic way of maintaining your garden, they also need to be watched.
If you have too many worms in a single container, they’ll struggle for resources and space.
This stress can cause your worm population to die out entirely, not to mention it’s not humane.
You shouldn’t add too many worms to each container to prevent hostility and stress.
Our recommendation is to start with a few worms to see how they populate and remove excess worms as needed.
Tip #3: Choose the Right Containers
Not only is container size important for your plants, but your worms as well.
Find containers that are the right size for all of your worms to cohabitate with limited supervision.
The ideal container size for worm gardening is about one gallon or larger.
This size should give them plenty of space to move around and dig tunnels without interfering with one another.
Also, it’ll be easier for you to manage if you end up having to remove excess worms from the container.
Tip #4: Loosen the Soil and Add Drainage
Before you begin adding your worms to your garden, ensure the soil conditions are optimal.
As mentioned, red wigglers don’t dig as deep as other worm varieties, so you should loosen the topsoil.
The primary objective of the worms is digging beneath a layer to get out of the sun.
If the soil is too compacted, it will take too much effort to find a comfortable nesting place.
With the top layer broken apart, they’ll be more likely to survive over prolonged periods.
A second thing to consider is to ensure your containers have optimal drainage to prevent your worms from drowning.
Although worms love moisture, they’re not adept at swimming, nor do they survive underwater.
You must ensure that any excess moisture gets removed quickly from the soil to improve productivity.
Earthworms in Container Gardening: Final Thoughts
Adding earthworms in container gardening is a fabulous way to improve the quality of your plants.
With their natural fertilization and aeration, it’s a hands-free way to promote your plant’s health.
Whether using red wigglers or night crawlers, ensure their environment is perfect so they can get to work.
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A common question beginners have when propagating plants is how to transfer them from water to soil.
We’re covering how you can use leca for propagation for exactly this step.
The transition from water to soil can be difficult for propagated cuttings, and you risk shocking the plant in the process.
In this article we’re covering how to handle this and avoid this common pitfall by transitioning a propagated plant from water to leca instead of traditional potting soil.
What is Leca?
Leca stands for lightweight expanded clay aggregate. Essentially, leca is a growing medium made up of clay balls that you use either in place or in addition to soil.
Leca is a great growing medium for a few reasons. Leca essentially helps regulate how your plant absorbs water. The clay balls will absorb water as you water your plant. This allows the plant’s roots to absorb water as the plant needs it – essentially it drinks whenever its thirsty.
This helps regulate how much water the plant gets, and helps prevent overwatering. Overwatering can be a common pitfall for new gardeners, and leca helps avoid this.
Another reason we love leca as a growing medium is that it is reusable. While potting soil is generally not recommended to be reused season after season, leca can be reused time and time again. This makes it sustainable and cost effective in the long run.
If you’re considering leca and want to read more, this article does a deeper dive into the pro’s and con’s of using leca as a growing medium.
Where to Purchase Leca
For the most convenience, we recommend purchasing leca off of Amazon. We love this brand, but there are multiple options for you to pick from there and you can have it on your doorstep within 2 days.
If you’re interested in exploring all options for leca, check out this article for more info.
Why Use Leca for Propagation?
When propagating plants, it can be tricky to transition your plant from water to soil.
One method is to layer perlite, or coco coir at the bottom of your planter and then place a light layer of soil on top.
This method will yield success some of the time, but sometimes the transition from water to soil can shock the plant.
Another method of transitioning your plant is to move it to leca. This method can be less shocking for a plant because of the lack of soil. Leca allows your plant to continue to absorb water at its own rate without sitting in just water alone.
You can continue to grow your plant in leca long term just as you would in soil.
Steps to Using Leca for Propagation
The steps for using leca for propagated plants is fairly simple and straight forward. Lets go over the steps to using leca for propagation.
Step 1 – Propagating the plant
To propagate the plant cutting of your choice, the general process is to take your cutting and place it in water for an extended period of time. During this time your plant will grow roots, and once the plants have reached 1.5″-2 inches long its ready to move to Leca.
This process can be lengthy, sometimes taking months for plants roots to grow to the required length. Sometimes attempting to propagate a plant can even fail and result in no root growth.
If you are interested in speeding up the process and increasing your chance of success, you can try using a rooting hormone. Rooting hormones are solutions that you place on the cut end of your plant cutting to help stimulate root growth.
Our top pick for rooting hormones is Clonex Rooting Gel, which you can purchase on Amazon. Its beginner friendly and affordable, and will increase your chance of success when propagating.
Clonex is our top pick, however if you want to read a full comparison and reviews on different rooting hormone options, check out this article for more info.
Step 2 – Wash the Leca
Prior to use, all leca should be washed. It will have a lot of dust particles that you want to remove with water prior to placing your propagated plant in leca.
Step 3 – Place plant cutting in Leca
Once the leca is prepped, fill your planter 80% of the way with leca. Then, take your plant cutting and place the roots in the planter.
Carefully fill the planter around your plant cutting so the roots are covered.
Step 4 – Water Thoroughly
Water thoroughly to ensure the leca can absorb the water.
If you’re interested in adding fertilizer, we suggest adding a liquid fertilizer to the water to allow your plant to absorb it.
One example is the general hydroponics set from floragro. This liquid solution is easy to use and will give your plants the necessary nutrients.
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