Growing Flowers in Containers

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Growing Flowers in Containers

Growing Flowers in ContainersGrowing Flowers in Containers

Have a Weed Free Garden Anywhere on Your Property

Growing flowers in containers is a great way to get close to nature and enjoy the outdoors. This is also a fun way to get children involved in gardening, and the elderly can enjoy gardening in containers when they can no longer do the physical work required for a large garden.

When people think of container gardening, the first thought that usually comes to mind is a beautiful display of colorful flowers. Any flower that can be grown in a garden, can also be grown in a container.

Types of Flowers for Containers

There are three types of flowers that can be grown in containers. These are annuals, perennials, and vines.

  • Annuals

    Annuals are plants the mature, flower, and die all in one season. They are the quickest and easiest way to add color to your container gardens and they are the most well known when growing flowers in containers.

  • Perennials

    Perennials are plants that come back every year. Climate has a lot to do with what is considered perennials. In mild zones of the West and South, geraniums and chrysanthemums are considered perennials, while in the colder north they are treated as annuals. It is important to know the planting zone of your region when you are choosing your plants. There are 11 planting zones in the United States. To find your zone, check the USDA Hardiness Zone Finder Map. You will be able to find your planting zone along with a lot of other information about your area, just by entering your zip code into the map.

    If you live in the South, you may find the Heat Tolerance Zone Map to be of more useful in your area

  • Vines

    Vines can be annual or perennial, deciduous(a plant having foliage that is shed annually at the end of the growing season) or evergreen. Their growth pattern makes them ideal for inclusion in garden containers. Because they are confined to a container, it is easy to keep them confined and limit their growth so that they do not overrun your garden.

Using Annuals in Garden Containers

When growing flowers in containers, the most popular type of flowers are the annuals. There are many ways to use annuals in garden containers. They can be used as stand-alone plants to brighten up a bare wall or barren corner. A pot of pansies or petunias will bring a splash of color anywhere and if placed in a moveable container, can be considered a portable flower arrangement. When you are having a social event you can move them in closer to decorate your party area, and later move them back by the front entrance or garden path where they were originally placed. They can also be used to highlight other garden plants or as a backdrop to larger focal point plants.

Using Perennials in Garden Containers

The blooming time of perennials is not as long as that of annuals. By planting perennials in pots, you can bring them to the forefront during their showy blooming time, and as they become dormant, remove them from view.

Perennials can also be mixed with annuals for longer show time. Many perennials have foliage that lasts through the summer so you can get to enjoy them longer by planting them with annuals to the extent the bloom time of your garden containers.

Using Vines in Garden Containers

Because of their trailing growth patterns, vines are always a popular choice for containers. They add visual interest to the arrangement by leading the eye out and downwards from the containers. They also soften the edges of the containers, and often hide the container completely if that is the intention of the gardener, so that the plants are the focal point and not the container itself.

Choosing Flowers for Container Gardens

There are many plants that will perform well within the confines of a container. I’ve created a listing of the most popular and readily available flowers for containers.

Container Garden Flowers – A Listing of the Top Selling Plants Used in Hanging Baskets and Window Boxes

Container garden flowers listing continued (Marigolds – Zinnias). This list is a quick reference guide of the best selling flowers for container gardens. It is by no means complete but just meant to be a quick guide. When you find a new plant or an old favorite, instructions for care and planting are usually listed on the seed packet or plant label.

Marigold:

Growing Habit: erect or bushy
Height: 6-36″
Blooming Season: summer/fall Color: color shades ranging from yellows, golds to red and oranges
Comments: Heat resistant, long blooming season. Easy care
Uses: Hanging planters, pots, window boxes

Nasturtium:

Growing Habit: bushy or trailing vine
Height: 12-15″
Blooming Season: spring/summer/fall
Color: color range from creams to yellows through to oranges, reds, and maroons
Comments: Best for cool climates. Flowers and leaves are edible in salads
Uses: Hanging pots, window boxes, planters

Nicotiana:

Growing Habit: erect or bushy
Height: 8-36″
Blooming Season: summer/fall
Color: white, green, reds, lavender
Comments: Very fragrant, flowers open in early morning and evening. Plant in window boxes to scent indoor areas
Uses: Use shorter versions for compact sturdy plants in window boxes

Pansy:

Growing Habit: erect
Height: 6-8″
Blooming Season: spring/summer/fall
Color: full range of colors
Comments: Primarily spring blooming. All varieties suited for garden containers
Uses: Pots, window boxes, hanging planters

Petunia:

Growing Habit: bushy mounds
Height: 12-15″
Blooming Season: spring/summer/fall
Color: wide range of single and bi-colored flowers
Comments: Very versatile. Do well in all types of containers
Uses: Can be used in every type of container

Phlox, annual:

Growing Habit: erect or bushy
Height: 6-15″
Blooming Season: summer/fall
Color: white, pinks, blues
Comments: Compact plant, profuse bloom
Uses: Pots, planters, hanging baskets

Portulaca:

Growing habit: trailing
Height: 6″
Blooming Season: summer/fall
Color: shades from white to yellow and pink to reds
Comments: thrives in hot dry locations, profuse blooms
Uses: Good for planting shallow pots

Primula:

Growing Habit: erect
Height: 5-20″
Blooming Season: spring/fall
Color: shades of reds, pinks, blues, and whites
Comments: Not heat tolerant
Uses: edge pots and hanging baskets

Salvia:

Growing habit:: erect and bushy
Height: 6-30″
Blooming Season: summer/fall
Color: scarlet red, pink, blue, white
Comments: Biggest attraction is its bright red spikes. Won’t tolerate full shade or cold
Uses: Dwarf varieties are best for all types of containers

Snapdragon:

Growing Habit: erect
Height: 6-36″
Blooming Season: spring/summer/fall
Color: all shades except blue
Comments: Dwarf types best for containers. Cut back spikes after flowering ro continuous bloom
Uses: Good for upright height in all types of planters

Sweet Pea

Growing habit: climbing vine or mounds
Height: 8-36″
Blooming Season: spring/summer
Color: white, red, pink, blue, lavender
Comments: Small bush types best in planters. Heat sensitive. Profuse bloomers.
Uses: Grown in large pots and tubs

Thunbergia (Lazy Susan Vine):

Growing habit: trailing vine
Height: vine
Blooming Season: summer/fall
Color: white, yellow, orange, with black throat
Comments: Prolific bloomers, dense foliage
Uses: Great trailers for hanging baskets and window boxes

Torenia:

Growing Habit: bushy
Height: 8″
Blooming Season: summer/fall
Color: white, violet-blue with golden yellow throat
Comments: compact bushy mounds
Uses: Pots and window boxes

Verbena:

Growing habit: spreading mounds
Height: 4-20″
Blooming Season: summer/fall
Color: Pink, red, blue, white
Comments: Smaller compact bush best for containers. Drought is tolerant. Prolific bloomer in hot climates.
Uses: Planters, window boxes

Vinca (Periwinkle)

Growing habit: compact or trailing
Height: 6″
Blooming Season: summer/fall
Color: Pink, red, rose, white
Comments: Look for the annual varieties. Do not confuse this with the perennial ground cover.
Uses: Best used in pots and window boxes

Viola

Growing Habit: bushy/spreading
Height: 6″-10″
Blooming Season: spring/summer/fall
Color: Pink, red, rose, white
Comments: Hardy in the face of both cold and heat. No garden should be without these
Uses :  Best used in pots and window boxes. Great as ground planting under larger plants

Zinna

Growing habit: upright erect
Height: 6-30″
Blooming Season: summer/fall
Color: wide range of solids and bicolors
Comments: Does best in heat and full sun.
Uses: Shorter, bushier varieties are best used in pots, window boxes, and planters.

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