Grow AmazingContainer Gardens

Container Gardening

Anything that will grow in the ground can be planted in a container, and almost any container can be used for planting.

Continuing to be a gardening staple, patio-grown plants are used more often to fill holes in your yard where beds can't be made. Decks, sidewalks and balconies come to mind. A savvy gardener can make these otherwise plain spaces into grand areas. In conjunction with regular gardens, containerized gardens are ideal for putting some wow in your outdoor living spaces. Containers are an ideal way to bring an attractive garden right to your doorstep.

Anything that will grow in the ground can be planted in a container and almost any container can be used for planting. Because of this, the variations and uses for this popular form of gardening are endless. Not just for apartment balconies, condominiums and houses with small yards you can make good use of the space-saving convenience and summer colour that container gardening offers. Many larger yards that have paved or drab areas benefit from greenery or flowering plants. Every yard is different, every gardener has his or her own idea of the perfect yard. Experimenting with planting in containers can be very rewarding for every level of gardener and in any size space.

When planting your containers don't allow old-school ideas to stifle your creativity. Many people imagine a container full of annuals, but the truth is you can use many different types of plants in your containers to give them a really unique look. You can use any number of perennials, bulbs, grasses and even tropical plants. Think of your container thriving in layers. Use tall plants to add some height, medium-size growers to create shade and fill in with trailing plants at the edges. No matter what you do, as long as the plants you choose suit your needs and your garden conditions, you can't really go wrong. Have fun and experiment. Consider the fact that most plants in Calgary cannot survive a winter in your pots or containers anyway, so have a plan 'B' for them. Plant them in a bed later. Dig up the bulbs and save them. Plant in a friend or family's yard in fall. Plants these days can get expensive, so if you can, save them. Most of all have fun and enjoy them as our summers are so very short.


Almost any container with adequate drainage can be used for container gardening. Drainage holes are very important to ensure that the plant roots do not sit in water and rot. Most containers come with drainage holes, those that do not should be modified to include them if possible. Large pots and containers without proper drainage would benefit greatly from a layer of course gravel as the bottom layer of the growing medium. Raising the container off of the ground can further increase drainage.

Wooden blocks, a drip tray, or some other means of allowing better air and water circulation can be added to most containers. Ensure that the plant size and pot size are compatible. Plants that will become large need containers large enough to allow free root growth and ensure that the plant does not become root bound. A container holding a root bound plant will not be able to hold water and nutrients for an extended period of time and may require constant watering. Hanging baskets, window boxes, metal urns, wooden barrels and more can be used in a large variety of situations with an endless variety of plants and locations. greengate has a large selection of containers for all of your gardening needs.

Growing medium:

Soil from your garden is not particularly suited for container gardening. It's high clay content and heavy consistency does not allow adequate drainage. The most desirable growing medium is a potting mix. Potting mix comes in two forms, soil-based and soil-less. Both of the forms have their advantages and disadvantages.

Soil-based potting soil:

This soil is sterilized to destroy the weeds, disease and pests it contains. This medium has good drainage, and holds water and nutrients very well. Its heavier consistency makes it ideal for larger plants that need extra support and containers that would benefit from the stability that extra weight would provide. Slow release fertilizer can be added to soil-based mediums.

Soil-less potting soil:

Soil-less potting mix is usually peat-based. These mixtures also contain vermiculite and/or perlite. They are very light, so they are good for hanging baskets. They dry out more quickly, and need consistent checking for soil moisture. Soil-less mixes contain little or no fertilizer, so a regular application is necessary, according to the label of the fertilizer.

Soils for container gardening should be rich and porous. Charcoal can be added to the soil mixture to keep it sweet. Use crushed rock or gravel in the bottom of the containers to increase drainage, especially in containers that lack drainage holes. Be sure not to fill containers too full of soil; leave sufficient space at the top of the container for watering. Daily watering is necessary in hot weather. During damp weather, don't over-water as the plant roots may rot.

Make sure the mature size of your plants is in proportion to the size of your container.

Do not try to crowd too many plants into containers. Plants are planted closer together in containers than in the garden but they still need room to grow.


Plants grown in containers may need regular fertilization and watering due to the lack of soil available to meet their nutrition and moisture retention needs. Wilted flowers should be removed (deadheaded) to encourage further flower growth.

Do not try to crowd too many plants into containers. Plants are planted closer together in containers than in the garden but they still need room to grow.