Choosing the Right Plant for Container Gardening
Regardless of the type of plant, here are some general tips provided by the University of Illinois Extension for growing vegetable container gardens:
Choosing a Container
- Anything that holds soil and has drainage holes in the bottom may be transformed into a container garden for terrestrial plants
- For vibrant plant growth, the containers must provide adequate space for roots and soil media, allowing the plant to thrive.
- When choosing what to use to fill containers, never use garden soil by itself no matter how good it looks or how well things grow in it out in the garden.
- Container soils are often referred to as soilless or artificial media, because they contain no soil at all.
- When these mixes are used, they should be moistened slightly before planting. Fill a tub with the media, add water and lightly fluff the media to dampen it.
- When filling containers with media, don’t fill the pot to the top. Leave about a one inch space between the top of the soil and rim of the pot.
- Soils for containers need to be well aerated and well drained while still being able to retain enough moisture for plant growth.
- A regular fertilizer program is needed to keep plants growing well and attractive all season.
- The choice of fertilizer analysis will depend on the kinds of plants you are growing. High nitrogen sources would be good for plants grown for their foliage while flowering and vegetable crops would prefer lower nitrogen and higher phosphorous types.
Choosing Plants for Your Container Garden
- Plants that thrive in similar soil, watering and light conditions make successful combinations. When combining plants, size, texture, proportion, color, setting, and lighting all play a role.
Taking Care of Your Vegetable Plants
For more information visit Urbanext.illinois.edu/containergardening.
Want more information? Read these articles:
Building Your Own Organic Soil for Raised Bed Gardens
Is Organic Gardening For You?
Lazy Gardener’s Tips for Overwintering Containers
Organic Gardening in the Greenhouse
Raised Bed Gardens Don’t Have to be Difficult
Year Round Containers