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Container gardening: basics

Successful container gardening is based on choosing the right container, using soil that will drain properly while holding the moisture to prevent the plant from drying out, sufficient watering and fertilization, and providing the correct amount of light based on the plant’s needs.

In selecting a container, proper drainage is the most important consideration, and watering needs will be based partly on whether the container is porous, as in a Container with salmon flowered Callibrachoa surrounded by other choice annualsterracotta pot, or the pot is glazed, allowing less water evaporation through the container itself.

Potting soil should be porous, include organic material for moisture absorptionas well as free of weed seeds. Vermiculite, perlite, or water-holding polymers may be mixed in prior to planting to extend the time between waterings. It is important to group plants with similar moisture needs in one container, and check the soil daily, watering as needed.

Controlled-release fertilizer can be added at the time of planting, with water-soluble fertilizer used to supplement or replace time-release products as needed throughout the growing season.

When selecting plants and container locations, choose plant with similar needs, and make sure that the container will receive the required amount of sun exposure to assure success.

For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet

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Updated Friday, April 04, 2014