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Container Garden Planting Tips

For the best results with a container garden, keep these guidelines in mind

plants in pots
Photo by Michael Skott

There's more to container gardening than picking a pot that looks good. For the best result, keep these guidelines in mind.

Proper drainage prevents a plant's roots from rotting, so be sure any pot you're planting has a drainage hole in the bottom. Cover the hole with large pebbles or a small piece of screening to contain soil.

Go for a sterile, lightweight potting mix rather than heavy, from-the-garden soil. If you're using a fiberglass or resin urn that has a tall pedestal base in a high-traffic area, you might want to fill the bottom half with pebbles to prevent it from being toppled.

For eye-catching containers, try the "thrillers, fillers, and spillers" rule: Place towering species in the center or back as visual anchors; use full, medium-size plants to fill out around them; and let draping varieties soften a pot's edges with their cascading form. Don't overcrowd the plants—three to five in a big pot gives roots plenty of space to grow.

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Container Garden Planting Tips


Container Garden Planting Tips

3 plants in pots
Photo by Michael Skott

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