Last week I gave a talk to the Hibiscus Circle of the Stuart Garden Club about container gardening. The Treasure Coast of Florida operates basically opposite of the rest of the US in terms of gardening. Our gardening season is moving into full swing now. I have just planted tomatoes and vegetables and will be renovating my containers as we move outside for the winter. Below is the omnipresent theory for Container Design.
I find this concept to be sound advice. Planted in an 18″ container, a 6″ nursery pot with a thriller and two 4 or 5″ nursery pots with a filler and a spiller make a wonderful addition to your front door step, porch or outside seating area. Plant selection is another story. More about specific plants later. As far as planting the container goes, see below for the idea:
Tips and tricks for planting containers include:
- Always use potting soil.
- If the container is going outside, be sure there is a drainage hole and cover the hole with coffee filters and pebbles to keep the potting soil in the pot.
- When planting an oversize container, the bottom can be filled with Styrofoam noodles separated with coffee filters or weed check fabric to keep the soil around the plants in the upper part of the pot. Always maintain a 12″ depth of soil in pots to keep watering chores to a minimum. The exception to this rule, Bromeliads, Orchids and succulents can be grown in less soil.
- Allow an inch of soil from the rim and keep soil level an inch below the rim of the container.
- Add time release fertilizer after planting, 13-13-13 is best for our area and lasts longer in the heat.
- Check container daily and water accordingly, many containers need daily watering.
RECOMMENDED PLANTS FOR CONTAINER GARDENING:
Tropical Plants: Many tropical plants thrive in containers on the Treasure Coast. There are many kinds of Bromeliads and Aglaonema, all of the plants pictured require a shaded area.
Many annual flowers are good for use in containers, they generally don’t last the summer here so be prepared to renovate your containers every 4 to 6 months. Here are a few plants to consider:
Vegetables and herbs are great plants for containers. Many vegetable gardeners use containers exclusively to avoid weeding and backbreaking labor in soil preparation. Notes on seed packets and vegetable plants will sometimes include recommendations for container sizes.
Herbs for Treasure Coast Gardens:
There are many other herbs that can be grown here. Fresh herb plants appear in the big box stores and garden centers this time of year. I grow what I like to eat. My favorites are:
Basil: I always have a pot of Basil around, my preference is basic Sweet Basil with the large green leaf. It can be called Genovese or Napletano. I also like Greek Columnar Basil but it can be difficult to find. Basil lasts about 3-4 months in a container so I replace mine quarterly.
Bay Leaf: My first attempt with Bay Leaf failed, I planted it in the ground and it did not flourish. I bought two more and they have happily provided Bay Leaf from their perch in a terracotta pot. Bay Leaf plants can be difficult to find in our area so buy them online. Be careful to buy the culinary Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis) – there are other types used for decorative purposes and not to eat.
Dill: Dill is a favorite for use in soups or with sauteed vegetables or fish. A tall, ferny plant this is a cool season plant and will go to seed in the late spring. The seeds are a bonus and can be used in breads or saved to grow more Dill next fall.
Parsley: I prefer Italian Parsley (flat leaf) for flavor, Curly Parsley can be easily grown here as well. This is a cool season plant and will grow here from October until late spring.
Rosemary: Rosemary lasts year round in a pot. Eventually, it needs replacement – I consider this maintenance as we eat a lot of Rosemary. I like the flavor of the upright plants rather than the creepers.
Thyme: Thyme is another cool season herb. I may have managed to get it to live through a whole year once, but this requires a lot of attention in the summer. My attention tends to wane as the humidity rises. I prefer the Lemon Thyme to German for the flavor.
My Fall Containers are currently under construction, I will work on another post when they are complete.
For more information about Garden Design follow this link https://theshrubqueen.com/garden-design-and-consulting/