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There’s nothing like a big pot of flowers to greet you on your front porch during the
summer. The colors, the textures, the hummingbirds… they all scream summer. We
got some tips from a local pro on how to plant your containers. Krista Hildebrandt,
owner of Alpengardener, isn’t afraid to get creative with her containers. Here’s the
inside scoop from her.
Think outside of the box for your container.
Krista loves to recycle when it comes to her containers. Why not check with a local
retail store to see if they have any extra big vases that might be damaged, but perfect
for your front stoop. Or use an old whiskey barrel for a permanent spot on the deck.
Just remember if the pot you choose does not have drainage, put the plant in a smaller
container with a drain hole.
How much dirt?
You really only need 12 inches of soil for most containers, Krista shares. She likes to
recycle plastic [something] on the bottom of her pots. Just smash the plastic down
enough to make it level, then top with a drain-through fabric and cover with your 12
inches of potting soil.
Don’t be afraid to mix annuals and perennials in your con-
tainer.
Perennials like veronica and salvia are great for containers. After their
summer blooms, you can plant them in your garden in the fall. Even
transplant your pansies and violas into your garden beds from your
pots.
Look for good roots, not blooms.
When it comes time to pick your four-packs or gallon buckets of flow-
ers, Krista says shop for the roots. Always look for healthy root growth,
the pretty blooms will follow.
Love your plants.
Containers require a lot of care. And Krista wants people to commit
to caring for something living and growing. Let the plant talk to you.
She says plants let us know if they are thirsty or not. How do the leaves
look, happy or sad? Don’t hesitate to check the soil with your finger to
see how wet or dry it is. Typically, containers need to be watered every
day. Dead head your annuals to promote more blooms. But remember,
dead heading prevents a plant from going to seed, so it’s good to let
those perennial go to seed. And pick your fertilizer based on your wish-
es. If you want more blooms, pick a fertilizer formula just for that.
“Have fun with it,” she says. “You really can’t go wrong when it comes
to picking out your flowers. I love to shop for colors a lot.” It’s a good
tip when at the local nursery to create a small grouping of plants on
the ground to get an idea of how the colors and textures will blend.
By Melissa Fenlon
The dirt on flower pots
S o m e t i p s f r o m a p r o o n p l a n t i n g y o u r c o n t a i n e r s