Whether you are new or experienced in growing plants in containers, we are all guilty of making mistakes.  Once you do, you will most likely not make it again.  Here is a list of common mistakes that you can avoid and put yourself on the path to being successful with container gardening.   Remember this type of gardening helps add versatility to any size garden.

Here are six common mistakes to try and avoid:

Not Using The Right Soil

This mistake is probably the most important one to avoid.  Good soil is important for gardening in general, but when it comes to container gardening it is really essential due to the restricted growing environment.  Do not use the soil in your backyard in your containers as it is too dense.  It will get compacted and can cause drainage issues which leads to root rot.  Use soil specifically manufactured for containers.  It is usually called potting soil or potting mix.  Good potting soil aids in drainage and has plant nutrients.  It will also retain moisture during dry spells and is sterile which means there are no weeds or disease pathogens in it.

Giving Up On Plants Too Soon

Sometimes plants die and the more you grow, the chance of this happening is greater.  Before you throw out the plants, try giving them a bath as this may revive them.

Mixing Shade And Sun Plants

When you are considering the plants, you want to grow in your containers, make sure they get along.  What we mean by that is make sure the plants in your container have the same light and moisture requirements.  If you mix plants together that have different needs, they will not thrive.  If your plants need lots of light and need to be watered every day, don’t mix Hosta with them.  Do your research beforehand or check the labels on the plants when you buy them to make sure they are compatible.  Make sure you select plants that will bloom around the same time.  You want to plant flowers that bloom in the spring with other spring-blooming flowers, not ones that bloom in the fall.

Exposing Plants To The Wind

Try to remember that your plants can’t really tolerate tough conditions and still look gorgeous.  A light breeze is great for your plants as it can help with air circulation and thwart your plant from getting fungus.  When the breeze turns into wind you are going to have a problem.  Windy conditions will cause your plants to dehydrate.  You can set up a windscreen, something like a wooden trellis to protect them. If you decide to put up a screen you have to make sure it is placed in a way that it will not be blown over.

Letting Your Plants Go Wild

Don’t let your containers get out of control.  When the flowers start to fade, clean them up.  This will make your container look better and it will also promote more flowers.  Don’t be afraid to use your clippers to trim your plants.  Cut back long, leggy growth, especially from your trailing plants.  Again, this will let your plant sprout new growth.

Overcrowding Plants

We know there are so many plants to choose from but when planting containers, you need to give them space to grow and reach full size.  The plant’s roots need room to grow within the pots without becoming root-bound.  If your containers are on the small size, try dwarf or compact varieties.   Plants that have deep roots need tall containers, so the roots have room to grow downward.  Succulent plants have a shallow root system, so they don’t need deep containers. 

If you have any other container mistakes other gardeners need to avoid, please let us know.

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