Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I garden in containers?

Container gardening can allow you to grow plants in places where in-ground gardening is not practical or possible, such as patios, terraces, balconies, decks, porches and rooftops. Container gardens are also portable so you can move them. When frost is forecast, simply move the container to a frost free location.

Container plants do best in a soil mix that offers good fertility, holds water well and yet drains excess water. Soilless mixes available at nurseries and garden centers can provide these features.

Plants grown in containers need more frequent watering than plants grown in the ground. Plants in small containers may need watering up to 3 times a day during hot, dry, windy weather. If your containers dry out too quickly repot into a larger container.

Frequent watering leaches nutrients from the soil so regular fertilizing is required.

There are many kinds of containers you can use for your plants. These include plastic or clay pots, plastic pails and tubs, wooden barrels and bushel baskets. Terra-Cotta, ceramic and molded plastic are also available for more decorative purposes. Any container used should have drainage holes in the bottom for proper drainage. Unglazed clay pots are good, but they dry out quickly during hot dry weather. If you use them, double pot. This is done by placing the pot in a larger pot and filling the space between the two pots with moist sand or peat moss.

In addition to growing flowers in containers, also try some vegetables. You can grow smaller plants such as snap beans and leaf lettuce in two gallon containers and larger plants such as tomatoes, peppers, broccoli and cabbage in five gallon containers. The soil mix you use is as important as the container. Remember, do not use soil dug from your garden. For success, you need a good soil mix that provides essential plant nutrients, holds moisture well and allows excess water to drain. We recommend purchasing a Soilless mix. Typically these are composed of peat moss mixed with perlite or vermiculite. They are readily available at nurseries, garden centers, and hardware stores.