Growing ornamental plants in pots is a wonderful way to expand or begin a garden, practice potting and growing techniques and to decorate a space. Many ornamental plants benefit from container gardening because it helps prolong the growing season. Also, potted plants have the ability to grow an extensive, strong root system when properly cared for. In fact, selecting the correct pot is as essential to successful growth as selecting the correct plant.
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The Weekend Gardener website recommends that gardeners interested in potting plants begin by creating a plan. There are many options for the types of pots and planters available to container gardeners. Selecting a pot first and creating a gardening plan will help gardeners succeed. Pot options include large ornamental pots, whiskey barrels, window boxes and shallow containers. Each type of pot will support different kinds of plants and allow for various growth options.
Many types of plants can be grown in containers and provide an ornamental element to a garden. Ornamental plants are those that are pleasing to the eye with an artistic element therefore virtually every type of plant can fit into the ornamental category. Herbs, flowers and small trees are commonly grown container plants. Consider planting more than one type of plant in a single pot to create a lush, colour garden centrepiece, but always make sure they make good growing companions, i.e. likes the same soil pH, lighting and watering conditions.
Reasons for Growing Potted Plants
According to the University of Florida's IFAS Extension website, container gardening has many important benefits. Growing plants in pots helps plants build a strong root structure. The right pot can help reduce the amount of maintenance required to grow certain types of plants. Potted plants require proper watering, nutrients and soil in order to become strong and healthy. Growing container plants also allows gardeners to grow plants that are not appropriate for their climate zone. Plants can be grown indoors that would not survive outdoors. People also grow ornamental herbs in order to have access to fresh cooking ingredients. Ornamental potted plants also serve as living decorator items for both indoor and outdoor spaces.
The University of Florida's website points out several concerns that container gardeners should consider when selecting their plant pots. Pots need to provide adequate space for the plant, roots, soil and water. All of this matter should take up 60 to 80 per cent of the container's total volume. Containers also need to provide adequate drainage for the plant. Choose a pot that is larger than the plant that will be planted in the pot. The Ornamental Edibles site recommends an 8-inch pot for a one gallon plant.
The success of a potted plant depends first on choosing the correct pot and secondly on maintaining that plant's growth. Soil choice is important to the success of growing an ornamental plant in a pot. The Ornamental Edibles website suggests mixing together one part potting soil, one part sphagnum moss, one part perlite or sand and a small amount of manure. Water plants regularly, but allow the soil to dry between watering. This helps provide oxygen to the roots inside the pot. Light, liquid fertiliser may help potted plants thrive indoors in the winter. Follow the recommended directions regarding the sun needs of a plant.
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