Relax and enjoy summer flowers! This is the best time of year for lots of blooms to brighten our gardens, such as the Ground Orchids lining the porch pictured.
Run irrigation twice a week if there's been no rain. Rainy season sometimes starts later in June, so we have to keep up with a watering schedule until (and if) Mother Nature takes over. Last month was VERY dry so plants are in need of a good regular soaking.
Inspect plants for pest damage. If you see something wrong, take cuttings to your local nursery for diagnosis and treatment options. You can also check our page on Plant Symptoms. This may help you identify the problem.
Some of us don't have the space - or even the earth - for an in-ground lush landscape. But potted plants can satisfy our longing for natural beauty and flowers - if we do things right.
And one of the best things about a container garden is that it's easy to move things around to change the look of the "landscape" anytime we feel like it!
This kind of "garden" requires a bit more maintenance than plants in the ground.
Watering may be needed as often as every day. Not sure whether a plant is dry? Lift the pot slightly - if it feels light, it needs a drink. For heavier pots you can't use this method, but watch for leaf wilt (though some plants will show heat wilt and don't actually need a drink). Also, a finger down into the soil can tell you if it's dry.
Different types of containers dry out at different rates. You'll get used to the timing each plant needs.
And when watering a potted plant, really soak it. Don't just watch for the run-off from beneath the pot...water can dribble down one side of the soil and make you think the whole thing has been well-watered. Because there is a drainage hole in the bottom of each container, you won't over-water a potted plant (unless you water it too often).
You can make things easier by installing a drip system that hooks up to your garden hose. Here's an article with how-to instructions. Because all the pots will get watered at the same time for the same amount of time, they need to be similarly sized pots - and plants that prefer the same frequency of watering.
Like any kind of gardening, success with containers depends on light (the right amount for each plant's needs), water, and fertilization.
The light part is easy to change if a plant needs more or less than the spot you've had it in. I find that potted plants that like sun seem to do best with a part sun spot, rather than all day sun.
You can use liquid fertilizer, but only use after the plant has already been well-watered. Wait at least 45 minutes after watering before applying liquid feed so it doesn't burn the roots.
I prefer using controlled-release, such as Osmocote 14-14-14, since it's long-lasting and no mixing is required. Sprinkle a small amount in the top of the pot, doing this 2 or 3 times a year during warm months since that's when the fertilizer is most actively used. You can do both controlled-release and liquid, if you wish, applying liquid feed more often.
The plants in the photo of my friend's container garden above have been closely grouped together for a picture. But these plants need space and air circulation to fill out and thrive, so make sure each one has the space to do that.
And be prepared to re-pot a plant now and then. Spring is the ideal time for this. Initially, I like to plant each in the largest container I think it needs so I can leave it there for many years. Repotting is called transference, not transplanting, so the plant shouldn't show any signs of stress with gentle treatment.
I like to "finish off" the tops of my container plants with my collection of polished rocks - not enough to bury the plant but some scattered on top keeps the squirrels from digging in the soil. You can buy a small bag of rock mulch to do the same thing. Raccoons occasionally steal a rock to play with, but the rocks protect the potting soil and the plant from being disturbed.
I've added another picture of Dwarf Powderpuff to its Plant Page. This is such a lovely shrub that flowers even in a shady location.
All the best info and ideas from past issues of our monthly newsletter - The Grow-zine!
Garden Ideas & FAQs
Landscaping Tips & Problem Solvers
Buy both "Best Of" ebooks & get this one FREE!
Thanks for subscribing to the Grow-zine!
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about what you'd like to see included in the Grow-zine - or the website - please let me know!