How to Choose Plants for Container Gardening

Container gardens offer you the ability to garden in a small area and the flexibility to rearrange your in countless interesting variations. Container gardens also give you more freedom in choosing your , since you can take tropical inside during freezes and cool weather in during heat waves. The downside to having so many options, however, is that it can be difficult to choose your . Carefully consider your space, climate, skills and decorative needs to pick the best for your container garden.

1.Choose plants that fit into your space requirements. For a windowsill container garden, you may be confined to herbs, air plants, small cacti and other small plants. In a living room container garden, by contrast, you may have room for ferns or even small trees and, on a patio, you may be able to accommodate medium ornamental trees such as Japanese maples. Also, consider whether you plan to move your containers around frequently. Large plants in large pots will be much more difficult to rearrange than smaller ones.
2.Pick plants suitable for the microclimate you are growing them in. Water plants, fruiting vegetables and flowers require eight hours of daily sunlight, rooting veggies need six hours and leafy veggies, four. Other plants such as ferns and other understory plants require indirect or filtered sunlight. If you are growing your garden indoors, the window space you have available for your garden will determine what plants you should grow there. Also, consider humidity. If you live in a climate with cold winters, your house will be dry inside during the winter. If your garden is inside, you will have to run a humidifier or build a miniature greenhouse to nourish plants that crave moisture.
3.Choose plants that fit with your diligence and skill as a gardener. If you tend to forget about your plants, restrict yourself to plants that handle neglect well such as cast iron plant and mother-in-law tongue. If you are a more attentive grower, however, you can chose plants that require frequent watering, fertilizer and care as well as plants that don’t.
4.Chose plants that complement each other. The University of Illinois Extension, recommends that a container garden have a combination of tall plants or “thrillers,” round plants or “fillers” and overhanging plants or “spillers.” In addition, chose plants with different leaf shapes and textures. This variety will provide visual interest in your container garden. Also, choose plants with pleasing colors. Use an indoor container garden to accentuate the colors used to decorate the room, and an outdoor one to harmonize with the landscape.

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