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Container gardening is truly one of my most favorite of gardening activities. I don’t know about you, but most gardening enthusiasts I know demand instant satisfaction from their thought provoked efforts. Gardening in containers quinches that thirst immediately.

Think of container gardening as interior design in a punch bowl. Just like expert interior designers blend an array of textures, colors, and heights inside your home, so too is our goal for a splendid living planter. While mixing these 3 crucial elements should be paramount, understanding your desired color palette, height & width restrictions, environmental conditions such as sun exposure and moisture are equally important.

Many gardeners by now have likely heard the slogan: Thrillers, Fillers, and Spillers. While this is a great but elementary rule of thumb, our discussion delves deeper into succeeding with container gardening. First off there are endless possibilities when it comes to container gardening. Vegetables grown in containers can be incredibly beautiful and productive. Growing cut flowers in containers can supply near summer-long bounties of beautiful blooms for your inside bud vases. Zinnias, Sunflowers, Cosmos, Dusty Miller, and many more can brighten our homes during the long summer months of the south. Violas, Pansies, Snapdragons, Chrysanthemums, Daffodils, Hyacinths, and Tulips are all perfect candidates for fall and winter blooms. Pansies and Violas are edible and will brighten a salad, even on the darkest of winter days.

Container gardens can be an all perennial, all annual, all evergreen or a mixture of some or all of the above.


  • Perennials are plants that persist more than one growing season and they can be either deciduous or evergreen.
  • Deciduous means the plant loses its leaves typically in the winter, but some plants, like Daffodils, lose their leaves in the summer.
  • Evergreen means the plant holds its leaves all year.
  • Annuals are plants that complete their life span in a growing season. In the south, Impatiens, as an example, grow all summer and die in the winter. Pansies grow all winter and die in the summer.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way lets discuss container “WOW.”

Perennials, whether evergreen or deciduous, can make masterfully beautiful plantings. Imagine Lenten Rose mixed with Daphne Odora, Camellia Japonica along with Green or Variegated Ivy. Add some Pansies, Snapdragons, Ferns and Ornamental Kale and you have created a thing of beauty. Turn to spring and summer: Big Bloom Hydrangeas mixed with Kimberly Queen, Asparagus or Autumn Ferns, Begonias, Caladiums, and Impatiens. Add some trailing Ivy, Scaevola, Torenia, and instantly you’ve got some summer classics growing.

Virtually any type of container or vessel will work as long as it holds soil and has adequate drain holes. Think outside the box and try planting in reclaimed watering troughs, wheelbarrows, or even an old boot. I prefer a more traditional approach most of the time and love the timeless beauty of aged terracotta. There’s just something romantic about an old terracotta pot covered in moss. Who says getting old is all bad?

Y’all, container gardening is truly one of the easiest and rewarding garden activities. There is so much to discuss, teach, and for me—continue learning. When it comes to container gardening the subject could fill more pages than can fit or that time permits to write. Come see us at Botanic! We want to assist you and give you direction if and as needed. We love what we do and want you to love it as well. Be on the lookout for some hands-on container gardening classes this spring. Dates to be announced very soon. In these classes we will discuss soilless potting mixes, good drainage vs. bad, fertility, pruning, plant selection, plant arrangement, and much more. Hope to see you all soon. Come create a planter with us.


Good gardening,



  • Joyce Ringer says:

    Thank you. This message gives hope to a black thumb gardener

    • Ms. Ringer,
      There’s no such thing as a black thumb. With a little bit of guidance and diligent water management, everyone can be successful at container gardening. Come to one of our container gardening classes. The dates will be posted soon! Hope to see you at Botanic in the next few weeks. Spring is almost here.

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