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Planting Container Gardens

Follow a few simple steps, and your container gardens will be off to a solid start, ready to fill your growing season with non-stop, good looks.

Potting Soil

Gorgeous container gardens begin with good soil. For containers, choose a soil mix that’s light and full of air pockets (vital for healthy roots), drains well but also holds water, and gives roots a boost of slow-release fertilizer.
For containers at Greenstreet Gardens, we use Gardener’s Gold Organic Potting Soil. This organic mix combines 85 percent peat moss with seafood compost, composted barnyard manure, and perlite. Peat moss and perlite provide aeration or air pockets. Peat moss also holds water and nutrients, slowly releasing them to plant roots. Seafood compost and composted barnyard manure also provide nutrients.

Soil Enhancers

For terra-cotta containers, hanging baskets, coir or moss-lined containers, or pots in full sun locations, add a water retention polymer, like Soil Moist. These crystals absorb many times their weight in water and slowly release that water to plant roots. Add polymers to individual pots. Fill pots halfway with soil, then add crystals to ensure they’re near actively growing roots.


Every container needs a drainage hole so water can drain away from roots. If plants sit in water, roots will rot. Enhance drainage and conserve soil by filling the bottom one-third of your container with inverted plastic pots, juice bottles, or butter tubs. These materials occupy space, reducing the amount of soil you need, and also provide air pockets for roots.


When planting, remove plants from pots and loosen roots around the root ball. This is especially important when plants are rootbound (roots have begun to circle the bottom of the pot).

Planting Depth

When you tuck plants into soil, set them at the same depth they were in their original container. Planting too deeply can cause stems to rot.
Planting Container Gardens
1. Container Garden Design: Spillers
2. Container Garden Design: Thrillers
3. Container Garden Design: Fillers
4. Container Gardens: Design Tips
5. Container Garden Design: Color
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