Despite our meticulous green thumbs, summer’s extreme weather can wreak havoc on our planters that looked so lush and promising when we planted them in the spring. The culprits include heat, high winds and excessive rain. However there are a few things you can do to help maintain your containers’ good looks throughout the summer months. Here are a few container gardening tips to try!
Container Gardening Tips
Deadhead the plants in your containers
Removing blooms that are past their prime is called deadheading. This process not only makes the plant look better, it helps encourage more blooms.
For plants like petunias, you can just grab the dead petals and they’ll come away from the plant in your hand (Wear gloves as they are known to be sticky!).
Other blooms, like coneflowers and coreopsis, need a little help with a pinch or a snip.
Container gardening tip for next year: If you really don’t like deadheading, opt for blooms that do the deed on their own, like calibrachoas (aka Million Bells). These flowers come in a range of colours, some with really interesting patterns, and are nice substitutes for petunia in container gardens.
Related Post: Choosing Plants For Container Gardening (Made Easy!)
Don’t be afraid to give plants a haircut
While some plants continue to look nice and full as they grow, others can get a little straggly. Don’t be afraid to cut things back a little to encourage new growth.
Water your containers often!
This seems like a no-brainer, but containers need a good soak – generally every day, sometimes twice a day – if it hasn’t rained.
Keep in mind that different planting materials and plants affect how often you have to water, so use your finger to check the soil before giving pots a shower. If it’s damp, leave them be.
When you do have to water, be sure to give the containers a good soaking, so water penetrates down to the root zone.
You could also add drip irrigation to your containers to ensure your pots are getting plenty of water all summer long with little effort from you!
Related Post: Easy DIY Garden Drip Irrigation System For Potted Plants
Beware of waterlogged containers!
Similarly, too much rain can do damage to the roots of plants grown in containers, too.
It’s best to plant outdoor container gardens in pots with holes in the bottom, but if you haven’t, check them after an especially heavy rainfall to make sure there isn’t any sitting water.
If there is, tip containers gently over to allow excess water to escape.
Swap out plants and extend the season of your container garden
As the summer progresses, some plants will simply stop looking their best.
If you want to extend the life of your container garden, remove the plants that don’t look as nice and replace them with late-season bloomers, like chrysanthemums, coneflowers and sedum.
Let your herbs flower – or don’t!
Some herbs, like Thai basil and sage, look pretty in pots once they flower, but keep in mind that flowering will affect the flavour.
If you want to snip the odd herb here and there for cooking, be sure to regularly snip the ends to discourage blooms. This also helps them flourish.
Container gardening tip for next year: If you haven’t thought about it before, consider using herbs as foliage fillers in container gardens and hanging baskets. They all have such gorgeous textures and foliage that complement showy bloomers. Edible flowers are great double-duty fillers, too.
Fertilize your containers
More Container Gardening Tips
- How To Make Potting Soil For Container Gardening (with recipe!)
- How To Make A Berry Container Garden
- How to Clean Terracotta Pots
- DIY Indoor Succulent Garden
Share your container gardening tips in the comments below.
This was written by Tara Nolan. Tara is an award-winning garden writer and editor. She has written about gardening for various magazines and newspapers, including the Toronto Star, Reader’s Digest and Canadian Living. Tara is also one quarter of the team behind the popular gardening website, SavvyGardening.com. She is also the author of the popular gardening book Raised Bed Revolution. Find out more about Tara on her website.