Gardening with containers is a great way to add colour and life to a space where in-ground gardening won't work. Concrete patios, balconies and small yards with poor soil are all candidates for large containers. Almost any plant can be grown in one if you pay heed to its soil, light, temperature and nutrient requirements. Clean large containers with a 10-percent bleach and water solution, and fill them four-fifths full of moist potting soil before planting.
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Trees and Shrubs
Plant trees in the largest containers available, on casters, if possible, to allow easy movement indoors and out. Small trees like crape myrtle, weeping fig and Japanese maple all do well in containers, Star magnolia and dwarf camellia add flowers and sweet scents. Dwarf citrus like Meyer lemon, orange and lime trees will grow in pots. Shrubs like taxus, yew, boxwood and skyrocket juniper can be started in large containers but will eventually need to be transplanted to the landscape.
Plant annual flowers in large containers for a dramatic splash of colour that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Vary the sizes and colour combinations with pansies, petunias, cosmos, geranium and coleus. Vines like morning glories and nasturtium, ivy and vinca trail nicely or can be trellised in a large container. A rosebush can be grown in a large container, blooming all summer. Try a big mound of chrysanthemum in yellow, orange and red for fall.
Grow your own food in large containers, providing full sun and plenty of water. Bushy vegetables like tomatoes, beans and peas can be staked in large containers. Vine vegetables like cucumber, squash, pumpkin and watermelon will creep over a wide area and flourish. Root vegetables like carrots, radishes, turnips and potatoes need large, deep containers for good root development. Brussels sprouts, cabbage and lettuce round out the picture, adding leafy greens to your diet.
Spice things up with fresh herbs grown in a large container. Almost any herb can be container-grown and kept healthier and more weed-free than herbs grown in the ground. Plant herb varieties that have similar soil and sun requirements together. Combine marjoram, thyme, basil and lemon balm or parsley, catnip, mint, chives and chamomile. Rosemary can grow to the size of a small shrub in a large container all by itself and can even be overwintered indoors. Clip fresh herbs as you need them, or harvest, dry and store them for yearlong use in sauces and soups.
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