I love putting together combinations of flowers and plants in containers – the more unique and junkie the container or planter the better. For those without much space or not really into a big garden, container gardening is the way to go.
Have a look and perhaps you’ll find a creative flower container gardening idea that you can use. Along with lots of flower container ideas, we’ll cover some tips for container gardening and how to keep your flower pots looking great all season.
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Reasons for Gardening in Containers:
- Space Limitations – Container Gardens can be placed anywhere – patios, balconies, driveways, small yards, etc.
- Time Limitations – Container Gardens are easier to take care of than a big garden, although they do require care.
- Curb Appeal – Large flower pots gracing the entrance of your home are so welcoming and add tons of curb appeal.
- Instant Color – A planter full of colorful flowers is the perfect thing to add to spot in your garden that needs a little something.
- It’s just plain fun!
Container gardens work great for filling in bare spots in the landscape. For instance, in a perennial garden when an early blooming perennial is done blooming and the plant needs to be cut back and then there’s a bare spot. This is a great place to plop a flower pot.
Container gardens can also serve to add color and personality in a garden. The shade garden in the picture below needed something, so I added this little container vignette to add some whimsy.
How to Design Flower Pots
Do you go all googly-eyed at nurseries and garden centers when you see their hanging baskets and flower pots. I do until I look at the price tag and then I chuckle to myself and say I can do that. No, there won’t be the instant gratification of a full basket of flowers, but I like to watch flowers grow and fill in, so I’m fine with that. So here’s what to do when you see those amazing pre-made flower pots and baskets, first take a picture and then buy those same plants and replicate what you saw. It’s way cheaper and your planters will last longer.
Really though, don’t get to hung up on designing your flower planters and trying to decide what to put in them. If you don’t like your planter when you’re finished, it’s easy to redo.
If you surf Pinterest very much, you’re bound to see the rule- spiller, thriller and filler to get perfect flower container gardens. Oh poo, yes those planters look good, and lots of times I plant my containers that way. But some of my favorite flower planters have been what I call hodgepodge containers, where I’ve used leftover annuals.
Here a “pin” to save to your Gardening Board on Pinterest for future reference:
You really don’t even need to use a variety of flowers for your container gardens, just one color and one species of flower looks great all by itself. For instance, red geraniums in a galvanized container.
I debated whether or not to add a list of flowers that work well in container gardens, but you don’t need one and really anything goes in flower container gardening. The possibilities and combinations are endless! Go to your local garden center, see what they have and try not to go crazy like I do.
You are probably familiar with Proven Winner. They are probably best known for their premium annual flowers, but they have perennials and shrubs too. Anyway, they have the coolest Container Garden Recipe page on their website. When you’re finished up here be sure to check it out.
Tips for Keeping Your Flower Containers Looking Great All Summer:
The size of the container matters – plantings in cute little containers don’t last. Really, I’ve done this too many times to count, so learn from my mistakes. The plants start out looking great and about 8 weeks in, not so much. Plant roots simply run out of room in small containers. Also, plants in small containers dry out way too fast. I will admit that I still use little planters and pots. If things start looking ratty, I just pop in other flower or change up that particular vignette. Case in point, the pictures above! So in the case of container size, bigger is better.
Although it’s very tempting, don’t overcrowd your planters to start with. Again, the same as above and because they will poop out on you when summer heat sets in.
Fill large flower pots with a good potting mix. Definitely don’t use regular old garden soil. Okay, this goes against what many other gardeners say, but fill large pots completely with potting mix. Don’t put junk in the bottom of your container to take up space so you don’t have to use as much potting mix. I’m fine with adding old potting soil to the bottom of the container and then fresh on top. The roots of your plants want to grow in soil, not junk. I’ve done this both ways many times and the containers full of soil always do much better than the ones with junk at the bottom.
Put your bigger planters on plant dollies like this one, so you can easily move them around. When it gets really hot, especially if you garden in warmer zones, it’s good to be able to move your containers to give the plants a break from hot afternoon sun.
How to Maintain Your Flower Planters
If you want to get your monies worth and have your flowers last all summer, maintaining your container gardens is a must. I try to designate at least 30 – 60 minutes a week to go through my flower planters and deadhead the flowers (remove spent blooms) and snip off any yellowing or dead foliage.
Be sure to fertilize your flower containers. To fertilize my container flowers, I just use Miracle Gro Bloom Booster. This is something I forget to do on a regular basis, so I’ve decided this year I am going to add it to my gardening calendar every 2 weeks. By the way, as a subscriber to Gingham Gardens, you can pick up your own Gardening Calendar, as well as several other free gardening printables. Simply complete the form below.
How to Revitalize Tired Looking Flowers:
As the summer heats up, I will give many of my trailing plants (like petunias and calibrachoa) a good haircut. I do this by shearing the plant back by one-third to one-half.
At the same time, I will aerate the soil in my containers. This will sound crazy, but I do this by simply stabbing the soil with something sharp like a knitting needle or a knife with a small long blade.
Once this is done, I will fertilize and water my containers. Just doing these few things, works wonders for flower container gardens. In about a week to 10 days the plants have filled in nicely and are blooming like crazy.
Tips on Watering Container Gardens:
Container gardens dry out much faster than plants in the ground, so appropriate watering is essential.
Dial down the pressure on your hose nozzle and water your flower containers long and slow. Try and hold the nozzle of the hose at the base of the plants and soak the roots. A long watering wand on the end of your hose works perfect for container gardens. If you just spray them really fast, the water will just run off and the roots don’t get the benefit of a good soaking.
If you just don’t have the time to water every day, seriously consider adding a drip irrigation kit for container gardens to water for you. I would really like to try these self-watering gadgets for my containers this year. They are a bit spendy, but they get great reviews and they can be used over and over again.
I also recommend wine bottles filled with water and placed upside down on plant watering spikes. Wine bottles can add a really decorative touch to your flower container too. If you don’t have wine bottles and don’t want to buy them, olive oil bottles work too. Just be sure to clean all the oil out of the bottle before using them to water your plants.
Making Changes to Container Gardens
If a plant starts looking bad, just cut it out and pop something else in it’s place. My hori hori knife works awesome for this task.
I love to change up my planters as the seasons change. Check out this article that I wrote – Tips on Transitioning Container Gardens to see how I do it.
Creative Flower Container Gardening Ideas:
This wine barrel was a gift from my hubby. I’ve used it over and over in my gardens to the point where I’m afraid it’s going to fall apart if I move it, so now it sits upright and will stay in that spot until it does fall apart. You can see it here.
I’m not even sure where I purchased this cool iron planter, but it has been very photogenic. This is one of those smaller planters that is hard to keep up with watering though.
One of my favorite vignettes.
Here’s an old aluminum wash tub that I picked up at a flea market, estate sale or a garage sale. I love the added feature of the hook with the watering can hanging from it.
You just can go wrong with old clay pots.
Here’s another flea market find – a vintage milk can. It’s a favorite and gets used pretty much every year.
Nothing old or vintage about these planters, but I love them because they are deep and the plants don’t dry out as fast as with smaller planters. I had two of these and planted them exactly the same and they sat on the deck rails of our former home. It’s great when you can find a winner like these planters that you can use over and over again.
Here’s the deck rail planter another year filled with Geranium, Supertunias and other plants.
This old vintage toolbox is another flea market find. There’s no rhyme or reason to the design of this one, but I love it. This is one I refer to as a hodgepodge flower pot.
When arranging groups of flower planters together, use empty pots turned upside down to add height and interest, like this cute display below.
Here’s a very creative flower container – an old log. Another Pinterest idea. Unfortunately, this one didn’t last very long. After about two seasons it just fell apart.
If you enjoy Creative Flower Container Gardening, pop over and check out Garden Decor & Garden Art, Garden Vignettes Using Flea Market Finds and Upcycled Vintage Garden Decor. These articles are full of creative flower container gardening ideas as well.
More Flower Planter Ideas
There are many more ideas outside of my flower gardens too. I found some of the ideas below while surfing through stock photos. I can’t take credit for the ideas, but they are too good not to share.
Old carts make really whimsical containers for flowers.
A Gingham Gardens’ reader, Stephanie, sent in this picture of her old potato cart from Germany that she now uses at a flower planter.
Nothing fancy about the picture below, but I love how the patio is so full of flower containers that there is barely room to get in and out of the door. It makes me want to see what the rest of the homeowner’s gardens look like.
Groupings of a bunch of flower pots all together create a garden all by themselves and they work perfectly to add more color.
And one more. The photo below is a perfect example of adding to a perennial garden with pots of annual flowers. This cottage garden look is so very charming and inviting.
Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you’re leaving with tons of creative ideas for your flower planters and tips for keeping them looking great all summer long. Oh, and if you’re into spending copious amounts of time on Pinterest, check out my board, Container Gardening @ Gingham Gardens.
p.s. Please help me out by pinning some of the pictures in this post. If you hover in the upper left-hand corner of the picture, you’ll see the Pin icon. There are more pins to share at the bottom of this post. Thanks so much!
p.p.s. For more awesome gardening ideas and some beautiful gardening eye candy, follow Gingham Gardens on Pinterest.
My Amazon picks for creative flower planters:
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