Container garden on front porch.
Container gardening is the practice of growing plants exclusively in containers instead of planting them in the ground. It is concerned with growing plants in any type of container either indoors or outdoors. Common containers are pots, hanging baskets and planters. Container gardening is usually used in atriums and on balconies, patios, and roof tops. Pots, traditionally made of terracotta but now more commonly plastic, and windowboxes have been the most commonly seen. Small pots are commonly called flowerpots. In some cases, this method of growing is used for ornamental purposes. This method is also useful in areas where the soil or climate is unsuitable for the plant or crop in question. Using a container is also generally necessary for houseplants. Limited growing space, or growing space that is paved over, can also make this option appealing to the gardener.
- Less risk of soil-borne disease
- Virtually eliminate weed problems
- Mobile plants gives more control over moisture, sunlight & temperature
Containers range from simple plastic pots, teacups to complex automatic-watering irrigation systems. This flexibility in design is another reason container gardening is popular with growers. They can be found on porches, front steps, and in urban locations, on rooftops. Sub-Irrigated Planters (SIP) are a type of container that may be used in container gardens.
Re-potting is the action of placing an already potted plant into a larger or smaller pot. A pot that fits a plant’s root system better is normally used. Plants are usually re-potted according to the size of their root system. Most plants need to be re-potted every few years, because they become “pot-bound” or “root-bound.”
- ^ Note: SIP simply means watering from below, in large commercial applications it would not be strictly a container garden.
The text below was already published back in 2007.
For additional ideas on container gardening see on this blog :
BOTTLE REFORESTATION – Part 1 (Willem Van Cotthem) – Archives Jan. 2010
Urban farming in containers (sacks) – (IRIN) -Archives Febr. 2010
You don’t need tons of room to grow a garden (Google / The Starpress) – Archives Febr. 2010…
Who is who in container gardening?
Many people are directly interested in container gardening:
- People in desert-like areas or in the drylands.
- People without garden space or with bad soil in their garden.
- Urban people living in apartments or studios.
- People with limited time for gardening.
- Elderly or disabled people with limited mobility.
- Flowers or herb lovers.
Benefits and advantages of container gardening
As container gardening can be practiced anywhere, benefits and advantages are extremely diverse:
- It helps saving irrigation water (water conservation).
- It avoids a lot of hosing and weeding (time and labour saving).
- It enables gardening on all floors of apartment blocks and high buildings.
- It avoids competition with wildlife.
- Container gardens are close to the kitchen (fresh homegrown herbs).
- Possibility to intersperse containers with food crops and flowering plants (repelling insects).
- Easy to create good looking spaces (esthetics).
Choice of containers
Almost any type of container can be used for growing plants: flower pots, planter boxes, pails, buckets, bushel baskets, wire baskets, bushel baskets, wooden boxes, drums, nursery flats, gallon cans, window planters, washtubs, strawberry pots, tubs, plastic bottles and bags, large food cans, an old discarded wheelbarrow with soil and drain holes in the bottom or any number of other things. Containers can be purchased, built or recycled from all kinds of materials, even plastic bottles or plastic bags. It is always important to choose containers that best accommodate the chosen plant species. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials. The choice will depend upon the type of plant and the location. The size of the container will vary according to the crop selection and space available. Keep in mind that the size, material and shape of the container should be conducive to your plant’s health. Consider the following guidelines when choosing your container:
- Generally, avoid containers with narrow openings.
- Plastic containers are lighter weight, but can become brittle in lower temperatures or they may deteriorate in UV of the sunlight. They are not porous and keep water over a longer period, but this may be an advantage in dry areas (see vegetable production in desert-like regions or in the drylands).
- Terracotta containers are porous, but heavy; they break easily and tend to dry out more rapidly.
- Glazed ceramic pots require several drainage holes.
- Wooden containers can be built to sizes and shapes suiting the location. However, many are susceptible to rot. Redwood and cedar are relatively rot resistant.
- Hanging baskets, often made of wood or wire, can drizzle onto furniture or the floor.
- Metal containers heat up rapidly which can cause root damage. Using a clay or plastic pot as a liner can help.
- Wrought-iron stands can minimize wood rot.
- Window boxes are usually made of wood or plastic.
- Stone containers create a natural effect, are often difficult to move and break easily.
- Sunken containers work well for plants that spread easily. One can either bury the whole container or embed the rim to restrain the plant.
- Use containers with sufficient capacity, according to the size and number of plants to be grown in them. Small pots restrict the root area and dry out very quickly. Deep-rooted vegetables require deeper containers. For larger vegetables like tomatoes and eggplants, use a five-gallon container for each plant.
Adapted from gardening.about.com for personal and non-commercial use
Container gardening offers all the perks and challenges of gardening in a bed. There is almost nothing that can’t be grown in a container. Choosing and combining plants to grow in containers is a great way to experiment with garden design. Whether you choose to display a grouping of one plant per pot or create an entire garden in a single container, you can’t fail, because you can always swap plants in and out. You can even have a high yield vegetable, fruit or herb garden container garden.
Almost anything that can be grown in the garden can be grown in a container. Flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables can all be grown in limited space in pots. Here are some tips on choosing plants that will thrive in containers.
You don’t need a lot of space to grow delicious food at home. Almost anything you can grow in a vegetable garden can be grown in a pot. Herbs especially lend themselves to container gardens. Here’s how to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs in pots and containers.
Adapted from minigarden.com for personal and non-commercial use
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Listed below are additional useful links to quality information on container gardening:
Here we’re going to focus on, well, the container. Whether you use terra cotta, wood, granite or even some rather unconventional materials, the receptacle in which you bed your plants will define your container garden and distinguish the spot you place it in.
I have a weakness for container gardens. As someone who continuously tweaks things, container gardens are a wonderful option for me. If placement of a bit of color in my yard seems a tad off, the fact that it’s growing in a container allows me to move it. Just an inch or two, or all the way to another part of my yard; whatever strikes me at the moment. And if any of my container grown plants aren’t thriving in one spot, it’s quite easy to simply try another.
With a container garden, you can grow cacti in cold zones, control the spread of lovely but invasive softscape and have a vegetable garden on your balcony.
With all the snow we’ve had here in New England this winter, which is still in the process of melting, I’ve been grasping at any opportunity that might make me feel that spring is right around the corner. So I decided to check out the newly re-stocked garden department of one of my favorite home improvement stores. It was good end-of-winter therapy, because I came across a huge assortment of very reasonably priced little succulents. My first thought? Container garden!
Welcome to the renter’s guide to sustainable gardening, full of cheap and cheerful ideas, projects and actions that will help to make your little piece of (rented) paradise an urban oasis! Landlord-friendly, wallet-friendly and planet-friendly, this series of articles will help you garden sustainably on a budget, without losing your bond. So let’s get into it! Our first article looks at cool containers and top notch pots, and some spiffing ideas for impermanent gardens.
[Willem] opened this second blog for all aspects of “container gardening“, a type of gardening seeming to be a very useful tool for food production with a minimum of water in the drylands. Under the same heading I will also publish related messages and articles on other gardening aspects, aiming at collecting information that can be of some interest for people working in the fields of drought mitigation, combat of desertification and alleviation of poverty.
A Worldwide Alliance of All Fans of Container Gardening. A place to exchange photos, videos or tips by Container Gardening fans worldwide. Images submitted by fans are categorised into albums.
Many people are interested in good ideas for container gardening and/or vertical gardening. The best way to learn about this is to see good photos with a clear legend. This group is offering all interested people a chance to post their own photos, so that we can create different magnificent albums, constituting fantastic documents for all those looking for new ideas.
A place for people who appreciate growing plants in containers and pots of all kinds. This planet will focus on the relationship between plants of all kinds and pots of all kinds. It is about creativity and great plant specimens. This Planet also includes hanging baskets, wire and containers for tillandsias, pole stands for broms and plantstands. All kinds of mounting materials for bromeliads. tillandsaias, orchids and epiphytes.
An open group for enthusiasts and growers of potted plants, to share info and photos of their plants.