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Hilltop's Gardening Wisdom & Tips

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Container Gardening


  • You can have flowers, herbs, veggies, etc. anywhere!

  • You don't have to contend with poor soil.

  • You don't have to contend with tree roots.

  • Pots can add height and textural interest compared to planting plants in a flat flower bed.

  • Pots can be moved or grouped differently to accommodate changing moods or need for instant color for an event.

  • Pots can be moved to compensate for poor siting (such as the plant needs more light or shade).

  • Plants can be easily changed out for change of season.


  • Plants in pots usually require more frequent watering than established beds.

  • Perennials in pots may not (usually will not) over-winter in an unprotected pot. (But this is easily remedied: Bringing the pot into a cold inside location (like a garage) or sinking the pot into the ground is enough protection for most perennials.)

  • Not all plants are suited to pot culture (unless you have a big pot).


  • Make sure that the pot you use has a hole or holes in the bottom (or on the side at the bottom) for drainage. Rocks in the bottom of a hole-less pot is not enough drainage.

  • Select a pot to complement the plants used and create the desired look; consider size, style, and color among other things. Remember that anything with a hole on the top (for the plants) and a hole on the bottom (for water to run out) can be used as a container.

  • Fill entire pot with a good light-weight potting soil (We recommend Metro Mix 902 it is what we use!) Do not use garden dirt in a pot. More soil = more root room = better plant growth. More soil = more moisture retention = less watering. Filling the bottom of the pot with rocks will not give the plants the benefit of more soil.

  • Do not reuse last year's potting soil in the pot. (Till it into your garden.) Used soil can harbor fungus and bacteria harmful to plants.

  • We recommend the use of "water crystals" in pots to help retain moisture. Do not use crystals on succulents.

  • We also recommend the use of Osmocote timed-release fertilizer to feed your plants all season.

  • Place pots on feet (especially larger pots) to ensure drainage from bottom hole. Bricks make great pot feet.

  • Plant in odd numbers. Two plants in a pot makes the planting look linear; 4 plants in a pot makes it look square.

  • Plant combinations in one (larger) pot or plant (smaller) pots with one plant in each and group the pots.

Gardening Wisdom #9, 2/8/2014 © Hilltop Farm

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