Perennials for Container Gardens and Growing Perennials in Containers
In general growing perennials in containers or growing potted perennials does not differ a lot from growing them in conventional gardens. In any case, you should take good care of the plants in your container as their roots do not have so much space for growing - it is therefore your responsibility to provide the plants with the best possible conditions.
It is important to avoid letting the soil dry out and do not allow any standing water in the containers with perennials.
Of course, the type of soil you choose for the container depends on the plants you are going to grow and the type of containers you have chosen for this purpose.
While purchasing the containers, keep it in mind that clay pots and containers make the soil dry rather more quickly than plastic garden pots. The size of the container matters as well. For example, large containers will preserve moisture longer than small ones.
Avoid putting plants in the same container if they have different soil requirements. For example, Baptisia can thrive in soil with little organic matter, but Peonies require the soil to have high levels of nutrients.
Gypsophilia needs a well-drained soil, and it will flourish especially well if you add some lime into it. Therefore this plant can't be combined with Japanese Irises, for example, which require an acid and moist soil.
The best mixture for planting perennials for container gardens would include one part of soil from your garden, one part of coarse sand and one part of peat moss. If you are going to plant flowers which prefer moist soil, increase the amount of peat moss in this mixture, and if you want the plants which thrive in a well-drained soil - add more sand.
Try to avoid so called 'soil less mixtures' and they often they do not have enough mineral components and usually take a few years to become appropriate for the plants to grow. These mixtures will dry out much faster and will require daily watering, or even twice a day in warmer weather.
In relation to fertilizing perennials for container gardens, use a slow-release substance, like 14-14-14 fertilizer. Make sure you follow the instructions on the fertilizer bag and use the recommended quantity.
If you have plants which do not require a rich soil to flourish, there is no need to follow the recommendations - you can easily take just a fraction of the dose specified on the bag. Usually you fertilize your container perennials once every three months, but variations to this rule are possible.
Keep it in mind that if a plant is naturally winter resistant, its tolerance to cold is much lower if it is planted into a container and will require some extra protection. The soil in containers will freeze faster than in the flower beds of your garden. It would be a nice solution to take the most delicate perennial plants indoors - it is the safest way for them to survive the winter frosts and snow.
It might be challenging sometimes to take care of plants in containers, but it is definitely worth it - containers full of colourful flowers will look great on your balcony, terrace or between the flower beds.
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