Containers in small spaces

Photo credit: BlueRidgeNow

Containers look great with a single plant (Thunbergia) on right or a “thriller, filler, spiller” combination (Gartenmeister fuchsia, coleus and ivy) on left.

Container gardening offers variety in small spaces

Extension Master Gardener

There are many reasons to grow plants in containers. Perhaps you live in an apartment or condo, and the only “garden” you have is a balcony or patio. Maybe you have limited mobility and need to have your plants at a more accessible height. Or you have a large garden yet want a few decorative containers to highlight your front door.


August garden chores

◆ Continue mowing cool season grasses at a height of 3 inches for weed control, preferably with a mulching lawnmower.
◆ Treat lawn with grub control to reduce populations of overwintering insects.
◆ Fertilize rose bushes to promote fall bloom, using granular or liquid fertilizer, fish emulsion or manure tea.
◆ For blooms until frost, remove spent blossoms from purple coneflowers, daisies, black-eyed susans and butterfly bushes.
◆ Has your soil been tested within the last three years? If not, this is a good time to submit samples for analysis and
recommendations. Call or visit the Extension Office for details.

Whatever your reason for gardening in containers, here are a few basics to consider:

The container

Your container should be weatherproof, big enough for the plant roots to grow, have holes in its bottom for drainage, and be clean. Anything from a classic terra cotta urn to an old boot will work. However, most of us use one of three container types for outdoor plants:

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.