I love the look of a pot full of gorgeous blooms on the porch or patio. However, those beautiful pre-planted containers of flowers you see at garden centers can be quite pricey. Planting your own beautiful blooms greatly reduces the cost of dressing up your porch or patio. I have learned a few things after years of potting flowers and these are my best tips and tricks for beautiful potted flowers.
Plain clay or terra cotta pots dry out too fast. A plain terra cotta pot of flowers will dry out and wilt far before a glazed or plastic container of plants. If you like the looks of plain, unglazed pottery, try planting your flowers in a plastic sleeve and placing it in the clay pot. I save the thin plastic pots new plants come in for this purpose.
Get creative with your containers. I place my daughter’s old toy wagon full of cheerful violas next to the front door during the early spring. Some of my favorite containers are tea pots, boots, wagons, crocks, and toy dump trucks. If possible, I plant directly in the container. Otherwise, I fill them with plastic pots of flowers.
The Dirt on Dirt
I love a good bargain, but I have learned the hard way not to cut corners on the potting mix. Unfortunately, those commercials you see with the plants planted in the good soil growing twice as big as those in the bargain brand mix are true. Choose a light rich mix, preferably with fertilizer mixed in or add slow release fertilizer when planting.
Add Water Gel to the soil while planting following the package directions. Water Gel is available at gardening centers and greatly reduces the frequency of watering. The small gel pellets hold water in the soil like the gel in disposable baby diapers releasing it as the soil becomes dry.
Plant what you love but keep a few things in mind when choosing flowers. Blossoms that are ever blooming, self-cleaning, and easy-to-grow work the best in containers. Petunias, impatiens, begonias, and hot peppers work well, to name a few. Also look for plants with pretty foliage such as coleus, ornamental grasses, or sweet potato vine.
Group plants according to sun and water requirements. Varying plant height and colors helps add interest to your display. Crowd plants into your pot. The idea is to achieve a bursting-with-beauty look and you don’t want to have to wait all summer for your plants to fill in.
Check your pots daily for to see if they need watered, especially those in direct hot sun. During hot summer months you may have to water twice a day. Water Gel can cut watering in half and greatly increase your chances of success.
There you have it, my best tips and tricks for stunning potted flowers for your porch or patio.