Container Gardening

First of all what is a good soil to use for container gardening. Last year I bought a lot of perennials and they all died. I don't know if the soil itself was too moist and created a bug situation or they didn't get enough sun. What mid-size perennials are good for container gardening?
  7 answers
  • we always use miracle grow soil it has all the stuff needed to grow for a season and it works really well.

  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Apr 06, 2013
    @Marsha the first thing you should do is to assess the drainage in your pots. There should be holes in the bottom to allow for excess water to drain out. These can become clogged with dirt, but if you put somthing over it, like an piece of an old broken pot, it will keep them clear. If there are no holes you can put some gravel at the bottom before you add dirt to help, or you can gently drill a hole or two in the bottom, but not too close together. For potting soil, miracle grow has a composition for moisture control. I usually empty my pots in an unused part of the vegetable garden in the fall. That way I can reuse with new potting soil the next season with a good cost savings. When watering during the season you may need to water more when the sun shines a lot and less when it rains. I sometimes have to move some pots to be sheltered when there is a lot of rain - plants like begonias don't like to be kept really wet in the roots. Plants that do well in pots and require little attention are allysum (will trail down the sides), various spikes in the center, impatiens of any variety (my faves!), begonias, geraniums, annual daisies, verbenum, various annual grasses, etc. If you google pots for plants you will come up with all sorts of ideas for types as well as how to arrange in pots. Good luck, and do post some pics to this post with what you come up with. Thanks for posting. :)

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Apr 07, 2013
    humm...what size pots, what type sun did you have them in and what were the plants? @Gail Salminen makes some great points about the drainage in your pots and I agree that would be the first step to getting this figured out. You asked about perennials (plants that live more than one season) for your pots and to figure out what would be best, if you can provide a little more information I think we can come up with some great suggestions.

  • Marsha Marsha on Apr 07, 2013
    Gail I'll put the gravel in the bottom of the pots, thanks.. The perennials I need should be on the small side since that larger ones are doing fine but I want them for 12" pots and a couple of larger ones that I keep on a table I have on the terrace. I get the afternoon sun but there is a shady section that I could move some of the plants to. I also saw sometihing in a magazine, using a window box for perenials (hanging ones) and filling in with flowers. I hate to buy plants every year. I don't mind getting a gew petunias or impatients but I would like to have more perenials.

  • Cyndi Moore Tippett Cyndi Moore Tippett on Apr 07, 2013
    when I get my pots ready for my annuals (like last weekend), I have been very successful with using Black Cow bagged manure (in the bright yellow bag). It doesn't burn my plants and it seems to hold a reasonable amount of moisture and it is good natural fertilizer. The Master Gardeners, in our area use it directly with no mixing for all their planting needs.

  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Apr 07, 2013
    @Marsha perennials for pots are a little tricky as some need to sink roots far into the ground in order to withstand our cold winters but some do well. You are in NY and in a little milder zone than mine so you may have more variety. Sometimes ivy does well in pots - add a little topiary for it to climb and keep close to the house in the winter, it may do well. I have some succulents that trail down the side that do well year after year, I had them in the window boxes for the past four years, but hubby decided to help with the fall clean up and put them all in the compost :P, he was helping so I didn't complain as I have lots more to transplant next year LOL I will post pics for identification when they are up again. I also have perenial grasses in pots that come back every year, one in a wine barrel and the other in a ceramic pot that I fear I will have to break to get it out this year (pot bound now). You could experiment with things like cone flower, since you are in a warmer zone and it may work, but not sure. As for the lower growing plants I suggest that you stick with annuals, you can accent the colour you want each year, I always liked lobelia and impatien in those pots. But there are some quirky annual grasses as well - love the corkscrew grass - quite the conversation piece. The other thing you could do is consult one of your local nurseries for what they are aware of for perenials in pots for your area. Do post pics as an update in the summer - looking forward to seeing them :)

  • Lori J Lori J on Apr 07, 2013
    I overwinter any perennials in pots in my unheated cellar and have had wonderful luck doing so.