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Flower Gardening in Container

Flower gardening in container tips on design, plants and color



Growing plants in containers is gaining in popularity all the time. Flower gardening in containers may sound limiting at first, but in reality it can give you an amazing array of color, texture and design in any space.

Basic Design for Flower Gardening

Whether you choose a small container, a huge container or anything in between, there are some basic design aspects you need to know to make the most of your container garden. Where will you be putting your container? Is it in a large area, like a deck? Or do you have a small lanai attached to your apartment? These are considerations you’ll need to take into account when choosing your pots and plants.

Now that you have a general idea of where you’ll put your container, there are other aspects that will affect your design choices. If you’re using a single container, you’ll want it large enough to grow a taller specimen, a trailing specimen and some plants of middle height to fill out your design.


Some gardeners refer to these three sizes of plants as thrillers (tall), fillers (middle) and spillers (trailing). Think of the scale of the pot as well… your tall plant should be at least twice as tall as the visible portion of the pot.

When looking at your plant choices, consider different leaf shapes, sizes and textures. Variety will make the final planting more interesting than if they are all the same tone of green, have the same size of leaves, or share the same smooth texture.

Flower Gardening Plant Ideas

flower gardening in container
Now that you’re really starting to plan your flower gardening in containers, take another look at where you want to set your flowers. What kind of light is in this area… is it direct sun all day? Or mostly shade? These are important considerations when choosing plants for your container garden.

What are the water requirements of your plant choices? If you love succulents, you’ll want to plant other succulents with them, not a plant that likes its roots in the water.

You can combine annuals and perennials to get the look you want. A tall airy columbine may look nice with a bright, droopy fuchsia. Or you might want a bright-leaved Caladium for the great big delicate leaves combined with some ornamental grasses and some tiny trailing flowers.

There are so many choices when you are flower gardening in containers. Some plants you might consider for your thriller might be canna lilies, a trellised vine, a small tree, a hibiscus, gladioli, roses, iris or nandina.

Some choices for fillers could be ornamental grasses, geraniums, petunias, begonias, anemones, or a fragrant pineapple sage.

For spillers, blue-blossomed lobelia, a trailing rosemary, lantana or trailing petunia might just fill your heart with joy.

Color Ideas for Containers

Just when you thought there were enough choices to make when flower gardening in containers… you need to take a look at color. If you choose hot or warm colors like red, orange, and yellow, your container will stand out. If you choose cooler colors like blues, purples and greens, it will tend to recede.

If you go for a single color throughout your container, it may look pretty, but it may also look a little flat. But if you have several containers grouped, and you repeat a certain flower’s color throughout the various layers, you may find your grouping has gained unity.

When you’re choosing your colors, don’t forget that foliage comes in different colors, too. Besides several shades of green, you’ll find silver, bronze, gray, variegated… the combination possibilities are endless.

While you’re at the nursery, group some of your chosen plants next to each other in your shopping cart to get a general idea of whether they will work together or not. Once you have a general idea what you want to group together, choose your container or containers accordingly. Don’t let the color of the pots clash with your carefully chosen plants.

Last but not least, please yourself. Choose some of your favorites. If you find a plant really didn't fit your grouping as well as you originally thought after a while, it can be replaced with something that is more suitable. Ultimately, you are the one who will be enjoying your container garden the most, so using these basic guidelines, you can choose what you like best.



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