Elaine`s presentation

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CONTAINER GARDENING
A Passion for Pots
Elaine Dill, Master Gardner
Lakeway Garden Club
Why Garden in Containers?
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No yard? No soil? Pets?
Portability
Neatness
Accessibility
No weeding
Attractive
Highlight or mitigate home or yard elements
Selecting A Container
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Large enough for root mass of selected
plants
Good drainage
Clay, wood, concrete, fiberglass, plastic,
polycarbonate, styrofoam, hypertufa
Use pot feet or other material to elevate pot
off the ground
Unusual containers
Placement
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Sun or shade according to plant needs, avoid
full sun
Container size, weight, color & design
Single pot or grouping
Raise pot if necessary for visibility
Accessibility of water
Consider weight and drip pattern for hanging
baskets
Minimizing Water Loss & Heat Gain
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Use plant saucer to retain water, pebbles
Mulch
Light colored pots
Clay, wood, fiber baskets hold less heat than
ceramic or metal
Insert one pot inside another
Group containers so lower plants shade pots
above
Growing Medium
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Not garden soil!
Drainage & aeration
Hold moisture & nutrients
Weed/pest free
Lightweight
Appropriate environment for different plant
types
Plant Selection
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Annuals – begonia, coleus, geranium,
impatiens, nasturtium, pansy, pentas,
petunia, zinnia, vines
Perennials – daylily, dianthus, ferns,
ornamental grasses, salvia, lantana,
plumbago, verbena, roses, ivy
Bulbs – canna, caladium, narcissus, elephant
ears
Plant Selection continued
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Herbs – chives, sage, mint, oregano,
marjoram, parsley, thyme, basil
Trees – fruit or ornamental, dwarf, slowgrowing
Succulents – agave, aloe, euphorbia,
sanseviera, hens & chicks
Vegetables
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Light requirements: leafy greens need less
sunlight than root or fruiting plants.
Pot size: minimum for tomatoes is a 5-gallon
pot (with attention to appropriate application
of water & fertilizer), preferably larger.
Plants which mature quickly make good
container candidates.
Combine vegetables and ornamentals.
Maturity Dates
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Radish
Mustard greens
Lettuce
Green onions
Spinach
Turnip greens
Summer squash
Kale/collards
21-24 days
30-35 days
40-50 days
45-50 days
45-50 days
40-50 days
45-55 days
50-60 days
Suitability Scale
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Excellent: beets, carrots, cucumber, lettuce,
mustard greens, green onions, pepper,
radish, tomato
Good: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage,
cauliflower, eggplant, potato, kale/collards,
sweet potato, spinach, summer squash,
swiss chard, turnip
Design Elements
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Thriller – centerpiece, tall, season-long interest, sets
tone for composition
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Filler – billowy, adds mass, grouping of 3,
coordinates color & texture, hides bare knees of
thriller
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Spiller – graceful droopers, softens edges, roots
container to site, last piece of the puzzle
Potting
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Cover drainage hole(s) with broken pot pieces. Do
not add a layer or rocks or other medium.
Mix pelletized time-release fertilizer at root zone in
planting medium.
Fill pot halfway with potting medium and add plants
from the middle out.
Fill in with potting medium to 1” from top of pot so
that plants are at same level as in original pot.
Water well; mulch if desired.
Watering
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Amount depends on container, potting medium,
temperature, wind.
Use water wand or attachment on hose to soften
impact & cover all surface area.
Water from top of pot until water runs out bottom of
pot.
Frequency – check soil moisture (not just surface)
before watering.
Timing – early morning is best; in evening don’t wet
foliage
Drip irrigation – individual pot emitters
Don’t use water from a water softener.
Fertilizing
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At planting time add timed-release pellets to
planting medium.
Use higher nitrogen (2:1:1) initially to promote
foliage growth.
Maintain with lower nitrogen (1:2:1 or 1:2:2)
water-soluble formula for flowering or fruiting
plants. Don’t use dry granulated fertilizer
which can burn plant roots.
Fertilizing continued
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Organic nutrients – seaweed, fish emulsion,
compost tea
Foliar feed or drench
Make concentrated stock to keep on hand.
Water first; don’t add dry fertilizer to dry
potting mix.
Don’t foliar feed in hot sun or late evening.
Maintenance
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Check containers frequently for soil moisture
& drainage, weeds, pests, or diseases.
Prune & deadhead plants appropriately to
contain growth or promote flowering.
Clean previously used containers with soap &
water before replanting.
Winter Care
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Wet pots can crack or chip in freezing
weather.
Roots can freeze even if plants are
considered hardy when planted in the
ground.
Cover plants & entire pot with blankets or
towels (plastic only second layer, no
lollipops).
Plants need less water & fertilizer.
References
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Debra Lee Baldwin – Succulent Container Gardens
Sam Cotner – Container Vegetables: The Easy Way to Garden
Rob Proctor – Herbs in Pots, The Indoor Potted Bulb, The
Outdoor Potted Bulb
Sydney Eddison – Gardens to Go
Joyce Fingerut & Rex Murfitt – Creating and Planting Garden
Troughs
Fine Gardening Magazine – Special Publications
Byron Martin & Laurelyn Martin – Logee’s Greenhouses
Spectacular Container Plants
Ray Rogers – Pots in the Garden: Expert Design and Planting
Techniques
Paul Williams – Container Gardening: Creative Combinations for
Real Gardeners
Jim Wilson – Landscaping with Container Plants
Travis County Master Gardeners Association
Help Desk 512-854-9600
www.tcmastergardeners.org
Daphne Richards
Travis County Extension Agent - Horticulture
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