More Container Garden Design Themes

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This article provides tips and ideas for designing beautiful container flower gardens
by Brett · All Zones · Container Gardens · 3 Comments · March 24, 2013 · 17,888 views

More container garden themes...

Nectar Gardens

Perhaps my favorite container garden theme is the one designed to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. These designs not only use color but also provide a source of rich nectar for our winged and feathered friends. Too, it's a joy to watch these flying friends as they flutter or buzz around around and feed.

There are many varieties of flowering plants that are useful to attract butterflies and hummingbirds in North America. Keep in mind that hummingbirds prefer tubular flowers that allow their long, needle-like bills to fit inside these tubes. Thus, their tongues can easily lap up the sweet nectar found deep inside the flower tubes.

When designing your container nectar garden you should consider planting a mix of flowering perennials and annuals, and maybe even a flowering vine on a trellis or obelisk that is situated in the container. Make sure to match the plant(s) to the size of the pot. You don;t want to plant a large-growing perennial such as Black & Blue Salvia in a tiny pot. This hummingbird magnet will need a pot at least 18 inches or more in rim diameter.

Here's a list of some of my favorite long-flowering plants I use in my own container nectar gardens:

Annual Plants (live for one season)
Abutilon (Flowering Maple), Angelonia, Cleome, Cuphea, Daisies, Geraniums, Impatiens, Lantana, Million Bells (Calibrachoa), Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco), Pentas, Petunias, Salvia, Torenia, Verbena

Perennial Plants
Agastache, Bee Balm (Monarda), Butterfly Bush (Buddleai), Canna Lily, Daises, Hummingbird Plant (Dicliptera suberecta), Lantana, Pineapple Sage, Salvia (Black & Blue, Hot Lips),Texas Sage

Vines (Perennial and Tropical
Allamanda, Mandevilla, Morning Glory, Passion Vine, Trumpet Vine (Campsis), Trumpet Honeysuckle

Bird Of Paradise, Browalia, Dipladenia, Fuschia, Hibiscus

Container Food Gardens

Don't have a large enough space on your property to grow a conventional garden in the ground? This doesn't mean you can't grow vegetables and herbs and get big yields. In fact, the smaller the space you grow your vegetables and herbs in the bigger the yields. This is because you can take better care of a smaller garden space than a larger one. When growing plants in containers weed, pest and moisture control is very easy. Too, you can provide the right nutrients less expensively. All this adds up to healthier plants and increased yields.

Not all, but many vegetables lend themselves well to container gardening. Almost all herbs are perfect for growing in containers. With some thought to selecting bush or dwarf varieties, or by the use of trellises or other supports, almost any vegetable can be adapted to growing in a pot. Pot size will also be important, as well as the look. I tend to select more rustic looking containers to grow vegetables in but any well-drained container will do.

In general, when designing a container food garden stick to the smaller growing vegetable and herb plants. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are a given. Bush variety tomatoes are the best choice and will not require a tomato cage or some other type of support. With other vegetables, look for bush, compact, or space saver varieties.

When designing your container food garden always leave a little room for "companion plants." Companion planting is a practice by which you include certain types of plants that lure beneficial insects or repel non-beneficial insects into your garden. These beneficial insects act as a patrol, guarding your garden and attacking and killing harmful insects that try to invade. Other companion plants act as repellents. A companion plant can also be something useful for culinary purposes or just a way to add pretty flowers into the design.

Vegetable types well-suited for growing in containers:

Carrots - A little tedious but can be done. The ferny tops are quite attractive in pots. You can mix in some flowers for a nice appeal.
Cucumbers - Grow the bush type rather than the trailing vines. The bush types can still spread out a bit so plant them in larger containers.
Eggplant - The slender varieties are best. Growing eggplant in containers helps to control some common pests, like wire worms. Eggplant plants can get heavy with fruits and some staking may be required.
Green Beans - Pole beans are a great choice for containers. They grow up, instead of out, and they continue producing beans for a couple of months. They will require some type of support, to climb on.
Green Onions - Green or bunching onions are best for containers. They can be combined with other vegetables or grown on their own.
Leaf Lettuce - Lettuce is perfect for growing in containers. When growing the loose leaf varieties cut only the outer leaves and the plants will continue to grow for months.
Peppers - All varieties of peppers are very well suited for growing in containers. As they are tropical plants, wait to grow them outdoors until nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees F.
Radishes - Radishes grow quickly so are great for growing in containers. You can mix them with carrots if you like.
Squash - Bush varieties are best. Vine varieties will require a trellis or some form of support.
Tomatoes - All varieties of tomatoes can be grown in containers. The bush and dwarf cherry tomatoes are best. Full size tomatoes will require staking, a tomato cage or some other type of support.

Herbs well-suited for container gardening:

Small and slow-growing herbs look best in containers. Some examples are variegated sage, purple sage, golden sage, parsley, Greek oregano, rosemary, prostrate rosemary, marjoram, bush basil, thyme, chives, and summer savory. Window boxes, strawberry jars, and large pots can accomodate a combination of several herbs and flowers.

Companions for container food gardens:

Basil (a must for tomatoes), Daisies, Dill, Dwarf Goldenrod, Marigolds, Mint, Nasturtium, Parsley, Queen Anne's Lace, Sweet Allysum, Tansy, Yarrow (Achillea)

Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Great, extremely informative article. Makes me want to go out and purchase more containers I no longer have room for. Thanks

9 years ago ·
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Jeanne Morrison

Jeanne Morrison · Gardenality Stem · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Wonderful article.. plan on trying planting using just one color .. sounds like it would just stand out ...never did that combination before... good job again Brent.

9 years ago ·
0 Green Thumbs Up · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks, Jeanne! I like the mono-color theme as well. Even if you do white, there are no white flowers that are exactly the same shade of color.

9 years ago ·
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