Planters are an excellent way to add curb appeal to your patio, walkways or garden. If you’re thinking of sprucing up your space this summer, planters are the way to go!
The City’s in-house gardening expert Alison Ciupa has some tips and tricks for beatifying your space with easy DIY planters.
1. Choose the proper container
Be sure to use containers that have drainage holes on the bottom. To prevent soil from leaking out of the holes, you can add landscape fabric, rocks or gravel to the bottom of the pot before adding your soil. It is easier to grow plants in larger containers than small ones, the more soil available, the more water the pot will hold, which will require less watering!
2. Potting soil & fertilizer
An important step to beautiful lush flowers is using a good potting soil mix that can be purchased at any garden centre, says Alison. After you add the potting soil, you can mix in some slow release fertilizer. This helps to ensure that your plants receive proper nutrition throughout the growing season. Be sure that the soil is uniformly moist before planting by adding water and allowing it time to soak in and then mix thoroughly. Leave room at the top of the planter to make watering easier.
Before purchasing plants, you should decide where you are going to place your planters. Choose plants according to how much sun or shade they will receive. The plants will likely survive given the wrong location, but they won’t perform as well as they should. Once you have decided your location, it’s also important to note if the planters will be viewed from all sides, be up against a wall, amongst other planters, in a garden and so on. This will help you decide how you want to arrange the plants in the planter.
When choosing plants think – “thriller, filler, spiller”, a common industry phrase that takes the guess work out of deciding what plants to buy, says Alison. Thrillers are the tall eye-catching plants that add height to the planter. If the planter is viewed from all sides, this would be planted in the middle of the planter. If the planter is against a wall, this would be planted at the back of the pot. A general rule of thumb when picking tall plants are that they can be up to twice the height of the planter. The filler plants are usually rounded or mounded and are used to fill up the middle or interior of the pot. A general design rule here is to use odd numbers of the same type of plant. Spillers are trailing plants that spill over the edge of the planter. If viewed from all sides, they can be placed all around the perimeter of the container. Another way to add interest to your planter is to use a variety of leaf shapes, sizes, textures and colors.
Did you know? Chestermere is a Bee City, and the Parks department has been planting pollinator friendly plants and flowers. You can find these at your local garden centre, and often they are even marked bee friendly!
Once you thrilled, filled, and spilled be sure to water your plants in and then regularly after that so that the soil stays moist but not wet. To help decide if your planter needs water, stick your fingers into the soil to a depth of 2-3 inches, if it is dry, it’s time to water. Fertilize weekly with a soluble all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20.
To watch this step by step tutorial check out the video at www.chestermere.ca/planters