Spring is very exciting time of year for us. After months of planning and
growing, it feels good to open up the doors.

We try to bring in as many new plant varieties as possible, and it is at
this time of year that I have a lot of customers asking me “I have this
planter—what can I put in it??”

The first thing we need to consider is the location of the planter. Will
it receive no sun, all day sun, or a few hours? This is the deciding
factor on what plants can be considered.

Next we need to decide on color. This area is really a personal
choice. Do I want it to be soft and delicate, or do I want it to jump out
at us with bold colors? We have found that mixing all colors in the
rainbow works well together, as long as the plants are compatible.
Now, we’ve decided we need a planter for a shady location and we
want bold colors. Where do we go from here?

When deciding on plant material, it is wise to choose a plant that will
give you some height. This will add interest to your container garden.
If your container sits against a wall, place the tall plant in the back of
the planter. If it sits in the open, tall plants should be placed in the
centre. Vary heights in the container with trailing plants at the edge
of the container. If possible, keep the plants in about 1-½ inches from
the edge of the container. For the most part, plants should be placed
at the same level they were at, in the pot they came in.

Fullness

Avoid over stuffing containers so all plants can do well and you don’t
lose some to overcrowding.
Under filling containers can leave you disappointed in the final
appearance.
I use:
4 plants in a 10” pot
5 plants in a 12” pot
8 plants in a 14” pot

Watering/Fertilization

When watering, always water until it starts to leach out of the bottom
of the pot. This is important, as the bottom roots require water as
much as or more than the top roots. It also avoids salts build up from
fertilizing (which will cause a plant to suffer).
Fertilize plants according to package directions. It is important to
fertilize plants especially in containers. They use up all the nutrients
in the soil, so in order for them to thrive, they require food.

Media

Media should be light in consistency. Topsoil from the garden is
heavy for container plants. It is better to use something with peat
moss or perlite to make the soil lighter and more porous. There are
many inexpensive mixes available on the market today that are a
worthwhile investment to help your plants thrive.

Choosing Plants

Choose plants that have healthy green leaves and some branching.
Avoid spindly plants. If you find your plants become spindly, cut them
back. It is like giving yourself a haircut. They will produce more
lateral branching and fill out. It is more important to look for healthy
growth than to see blooms on the plant.

This information is also available in a PDF.