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How to fill a patio planter

Updated February 21, 2017

Planters on your patio, porch or deck can liven up an outdoor space with vibrant colour and greenery. Cultivate a variety of plants in a patio planter, from dwarf citrus trees to trailing vines. As with any gardening project, the quality of the growing medium combined with proper drainage can make the difference between plants that thrive and ones that do not. Fill your planter with plants that produce colourful flowers, tasty fruit or aromatic herbs to last one season or year-round.

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  1. Check the bottom of the patio planter to make sure it has drainage holes. Drill holes if necessary with the appropriate drill bit. Use a ceramic drill bit to drill terracotta, ceramic or clay pots. Use a wood bit for wooden planters. Three or four 6 mm (1/4 inch) holes in an 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 inch) planter are sufficient.

  2. Line the bottom of the planter with stones to improve drainage. You may also use broken ceramics or terracotta in place of the stones.

  3. Fill the container three-fourths full of growing medium. Different commercial potting soils are designed to grow different types of plants. Buy the type of soil to suit the plant you are cultivating. If the commercial potting soil does not contain fertilisers, add appropriate fertilisers, based on the plant.

  4. Mix in a handful of compost with the growing medium.

  5. Remove the plants from the growing containers. Arrange the tallest plants along the back of a rectangular planter or in the centre of a round or square planter.

  6. Fill in around the tallest plants with smaller plants. Place any trailing varieties along the perimeter of the planter. Rearrange the plants on top of the soil until you are pleased with the appearance. Remove the plants from the planter.

  7. Scoop out a small amount of soil from the centre of the planter. Plant the centre plant in the opening. Fill in around the plant with growing medium. Continue to scoop out soil and place plants in the planter from the centre outward. Fill in with growing medium to within 5 cm (2 inches) of the top rim of the planter so there is space to water.

  8. Water the filled planter.

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Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Stones
  • Gardening gloves
  • Growing medium
  • Compost
  • Spade

About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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