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Contain Your Excitement with 5 Great Annuals!

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Gardeners can be Choosers

Let your imagination flow with possibilities, but keep a few things in mind. Think about sun, wind and shade requirements and where you’re going to place your plants. Consider flower color, texture & height – how they look alone and in combination. Ask yourself, is the plant compatible with other plants together in the same pot? It’s best to combine plants with similar needs, but sun-loving plants that grow above shade-loving will sometimes work out. The list of annuals ideal for containers is very long. In case you’re stuck, we’ve named 5 of our favorites to get you started.

5 Flowering Favorites

Fuschia – The name is also the color. This plant with lovely little bell-shaped flowers likes partial shade.

Gazania – Or African daisy. Daisy-shaped flowers come in a vivid color range featuring red, orange, yellow, white and pink and close at night. This annual wants full sun.

Begonias – From full sun to dense shade; flowers from spring to first frost in beautiful white, red or pink!

Portulaca – Can you say “hot and dry”? Those are the perfect full-sun conditions for these small, but fast growing annuals with 1″ flowers in white, red, orange, pink and yellow.

Verbena – These plants reach a size of six to ten inches. But don’t over-pamper them with excesses of anything. Full to partial sun. Verbena blooms in clusters of small flowers in shades of blue, mauve, white, pink or purple.

Growing Beautiful Annuals in Containers

If you think annuals are only for flowerbeds, you’re missing out. Wherever you grow annuals, they will reward you with beautiful colors, bright foliage, and soothing fragrances all season long. But when you plant them in containers, they provide even more benefits.

5 Reasons to Grow Annuals in Containers:

  1. Experiment with different types of plant combinations
  2. Get creative with what you plant them in
  3. Can move containers around to the ideal location
  4. It’s easy to do – even for beginners & kids!
  5. Perfect for those with limited gardening time or space

Choosing Containers:

There’s a lot of latitude when choosing a container for your annuals, but here are a few important things to think about:

  • Containers should complement the plant, not overwhelm or outshine it
  • Containers should be sturdy but not too heavy
  • They must have drainage holes. • In most cases, containers should be at least 6 inches deep. Taller flowers need deeper containers.
  • Cascading plants and vines work well in hanging baskets
  • Get creative – use old boots, wheelbarrows or something else that adds character to your garden

Easy Come, Easy Grow

Follow these friendly tips – and grow with confidence.

  • Make a clean start. Always use a clean container. And use a superior potting mix that drains well and isn’t clumpy like Espoma’s All-Purpose Potting Mix.
  • Watch and learn. Espoma’s Container Gardening videos will give you the planting instructions you need.
  • A different kind of deadhead. Keep annuals blooming throughout the season by “deadheading” them. When flowers begin to die, just pop off the seed head with your fingers to encourage new blooms.
  • Get closer with your plants. Just a side note – remember, you can plant annual combinations closer together in containers (4″), because their roots won’t compete
  • Feed ’em right. Feed plants regularly with high quality organic plant food, like Espoma’s Plant-tone or Flower-tone. Follow the application rates on the package
  • Hold your water. Watering needs vary by plant. In general, don’t flood, but thoroughly soak the soil. Excess water should exit through drainage holes in the pot. You shouldn’t see any puddles at top.

We hope we’ve inspired you to fill your surroundings – and containers – with beautiful annuals. Choosing to grow annuals in containers is the easy part. Deciding on the combination you like best – now that’s the real challenge!

Video: Fairy House Made from the Garden!

This fairy garden house is a fun little project for gardeners of all backgrounds! Can you put your own spin on it?

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Video: How to Plant Citrus in Containers

Watch Laura from Garden Answer show you how to grow citrus in containers!

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Spring Container Plants that Pop

Enjoying fresh air, sunshine and beautiful containers filled with spring blooms is a sure sign warmer days are on their way.  Adding a spring container is an easy way to refresh your porch, patio or outdoor area.

Get started by finding the perfect planter. Once nighttime temperatures remain above freezing, not dipping below, 30°F, you’re reading to plant.

Before planting, check to make sure the container has drainage holes at the bottom. When you’re ready to plant, use Espoma’s organic potting mix to fill the container and then mixing in Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus with the soil to give it that extra oomph.

Remember to use a “thriller, filler and spiller” when planting new pots. Put the tallest growing plant in the middle, or at the back. Surround it with smaller plants and finally, those that spill over the edge.

Combine any of the below plants for a look that pops!

Pick Perennials

English daisies, hellebores, pansies, primroses and bergenia make for good choices for early perennials.  Find out if a plant can’t tolerate the cool temperatures of early spring by referencing the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Think bulbs

There’s still a way to get those beautiful tulip and daffodil blooms even if you didn’t plant them in the fall. Just stop by your local garden center to pick up already-blooming bulbs place them into your container for an instant pick me up.

Enjoy Edibles

Choose plants that do double duty. Plant a mix of greens including spinach, kale, red and green lettuce and more. A container filled with spring greens will provide healthy salads while also brightening up the landscape. Add in viola blooms for a fun touch of color and don’t forget that herbs will help to create texture.  Use Espoma’s liquid Grow! to give plants a healthy dose of nutrients.

 

DIY Cat Tower Garden

Find out how Laura from Garden Answer makes this clever indoor cat tower garden! Laura uses Espoma’s Organic Seed Starter to get her seeds off to a great start.

Spice Up Your Life – Start an Indoor Herb Garden

Add an extra special kick to homemade dishes by incorporating fresh herbs from your kitchen garden. It’s especially easy when flavorful herbs just need to be snipped from your kitchen windowsill.

Grow a winter herb garden in your kitchen with easy herbs like rosemary, chives, oregano, thyme, lemongrass and mint in just a few steps.

Herbs are perfect for growing in the kitchen. Be sure to feed with Indoor! plant fertilizer to give them a boost.

How to Grow Herbs Indoors in 5 Steps:

  1. Pick a container. Visit your local garden center to purchase herbs and pots. Choose 6” containers that have drainage holes and saucers. Herbs don’t like wet feet.
  2. Pot up your herbs. Fill containers halfway with Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix. Remove herbs from containers by pushing from the bottom. Gently loosen roots and place plant in the pot. Fill with soil to the depth the plants were growing in the original pots. Water well.
  3. Choose a Spot. Place plants in a sunny window that receives at least 6 hours of strong sunlight each day.
  4. Refresh plants. Water as needed to keep the soil lightly moist, but don’t overwater.
  5. Give herbs a boost. Feed with Espoma’s Indoor! liquid plant fertilizer as needed to give plants the nutrients they need.

Once warm weather does arrive, get ready to plant more veggie crops!

 

Stop and smell the roses… Right outside your door!

Do you love roses but are stuck with limited space? Is your rose collection growing faster than your raised beds?

Container roses are a great solution for gardeners short on space or those who want the freedom to move their roses around. They give you the option of having roses wherever you want them.

So whether you are trying to cover up some unsightly spot or wanting sweet-smelling roses near your front door, we’re here to help you figure out the best roses for you.

Depending on the size and structure of your container, most roses won’t be a problem. Just be sure the container can hold the roots and soil needed for your roses. Be sure to choose roses recommended for your USDA Hardiness Zone.

Best Types of Roses for Containers

Miniature Roses – Don’t let the name fool you — these roses may be small in bloom size but still produce radiant color. Miniature refers to the size of the bloom, not the size of the bush. Typically they grow between 12”-18”, depending on growing conditions. These roses also love to hangout in window boxes. Choose a container that is at least 10” deep.

Small Roses – These low-growing roses help show off gorgeous containers. Small roses usually reach up to 2’. The variety of small roses is expansive and offer different styles, colors and smells to keep your garden rocking. Due to their small stature, they are perfect for the urban gardener — use these to spruce up your balcony or front stoop. Choose a container that is at least 12” deep.

Patio Roses – With big, colorful and robust blooms, you cannot go wrong with patio roses. They have a neat, bushy growth and regularly blooming rosette flowers. Choose a container that is at least 12” deep.

Floribundas – These one-of-a-kind hybrid roses have vibrant, colorful blooms that will dress up your yard. Grown in clusters, floribundas are wonderful to keep your guests in awe. They require a little more breathing room, so make sure to pick a larger container to keep them comfortable. Choose a container that is at least 15” deep.

6 Steps to Planting Your Rose Bush in a Container

  1. Select a container with drainage holes. The taller the containers the better since roses are deep-rooted.
  2. Fill container one third of the way with Espoma’s organic potting mix.
  3. Take the rose out of the pot and gently loosen its roots.
  4. Add 3 cups of Espoma’s Rose-tone to the soil and mix thoroughly.
  5. Place the rose in the soil no deeper than it was growing in the container. Planting depth should be such that the graft knuckle is just below the soil level. Add more potting mix to the container and level out soil.
  6. Water thoroughly.

 

Feel like you need more container plants? Learn what hydrangeas need to thrive in containers!

Perk Up Summer Containers with Stunning Annuals

Give yards and patios a boost by adding containers full of summer flowers to your landscape. Revitalize your summer landscape by pulling together your yard with the addition of easy and inexpensive annuals.

Annuals instantly transform the look of a space from year to year or month to month. Choose from a variety of colors and forms that complement your exterior, your patio or even your pool area. The options are endless.

A good-looking container will set your yard apart from your neighbors. To start, choose your containers and make sure they have proper drainage holes. Check plant tags for the mature size and plan to plant accordingly.

5 Tips for Using Annuals in Containers this Summer:

  1. Add pebbles or rocks to the bottom of your container to keep dirt from escaping and use Espoma’s potting mix to keep plants healthy.
  2. Select annuals in a single color and variety repeat throughout containers in different parts of your yard. Try planting bright, purple petunias near your entrance or mailbox. Add more in containers on your front steps and finish with a pop of color in a hanging basket.
  3. Pair annuals with matching colors and like-forms. Plant purple geraniums with yellow daisies, or orange snapdragons with an edging of blueish lobelia.
  4. Stick with one color and choose an assortment of different annuals to create a monochromatic scheme.
  5. For best results, feed annuals in containers regularly with Espoma’s liquid Bloom! plant food.

Looking to expand your container garden? Learn how to plant fruits and veggies in containers.

6 Tips for Stunning Succulent Containers

The options for succulents are endless. You can spend an entire afternoon at your favorite garden center picking out succulents in all shapes, sizes and colors. And once you have one succulent plant, you can grow even more plants from it!

While planting succulents is a pretty straightforward process, there are a few tricks to ensuring they stay healthy in their new homes.

6 Tips for Creating a Succulent Container

  1. Choose a container. Almost any container can be used for succulent gardening if it has proper drainage. Terra cotta, glazed pottery and wooden boxes are some traditional choices. If you’re feeling crafty, check out our Garden Answer tutorial and create your own.
  2. Don’t let water pool. When placing the plant in the container, the succulent needs to sit above the rim of the pot. If your soil is low and your container has poor drainage, water can pool on top and damage the plant. Don’t let your succulent rot! Make sure to use Espoma’s Cactus Mix when filling your container.
  3. Add Plants. It’s up to you to choose how many plants to put in your container. Succulents that are crowded and planted close together often grow more slowly; and these plants are slow growers to begin with! More space between plants means it’s easier to water and there will be better air flow.
  4. Thriller, filler and spiller. This classic gardening concept can be applied to succulents, too. Add some oomph to your container by choosing a “thriller,” a tall plant that will add a vertical element such as aloe. Next, place a medium succulent such as echevarias. For spillers, look for trailing succulents that will “spill” over the edge such as sedum or string of pearls.
  5. The final touch. For a finished look, top off your container with decorative stones or dried moss.
  6. Feed ‘em. Give your succulents a boost by fertilizing as needed with Espoma’s newCactus! Succulent plant food.

Now that your container is complete, find out what succulents need to keep growing!